The Weekly Digs #61

by Becky
Published: Updated:

The day we had our septic lines being flagged out, Cameron was at the farm. It was a colder, dreary day and had rained and rained in the days before. I wasn’t expecting the text I got from Cameron. He said, “All the elderberries are flooded”. 

In our haste to get the bare root plants in the ground as fast as possible, we dug a hole and stuck them straight in it. No soil amendments or anything. Removing the grass and planting directly in the ground created a depression and we created nine new little ponds with elderberry starts in the middle. 

Of course me being me, I started to panic a bit. Since I wasn’t up there, I just gave instructions to Cam to shovel out the water and pull up the plants enough that they weren’t sitting in standing water. Cameron added more dirt to the middle to make it so the water pooled around the edges instead of directly on the elderberries.

Then he went into the woods and grabbed some leaf mulch from the forest floor and mulched the top of the elderberries.

I am still awaiting soil results from our local cooperative extension office but it’s quite obvious to me that the incredible amount of clay in the soil made a very poor drainage situation. We definitely could have prevented it if we had raised the soil around the elderberry instead of having it below the soil surface.

But I’m glad we learned about the soil early on!

It’s going to be a similar situation where we are rushing to get in our vegetable garden. First year gardens are always a little iffy to begin with and I suddenly feel nervous because of the poor soil and drainage!  We will be doing raised rows for sure!

I came in the barn to find the kids playing cards.

Our local compost facility is closed so we are going to be using what we can from the land to add organic matter to the new vegetable garden.

I think we’ll add chopped leaves, grass clippings, and we will probably need to borrow some more of the precious natural compost from the forest floor. I kind of feel bad doing that but since it’s only a one time deal, I think the trees will handle it alright. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

In my home garden, things have been much more predictable and calm. We are finishing up planting onions. It’s a little later than I usually plant because we have been preoccupied with putting in the orchard at the land.

I’m pretty sure we’ll hit between 300 and 400 onions this year. Three hundred is what I need for a year’s supply. I’ve been amazed at how quickly we use them. Last year I think I used between 50 and 100 in my canned foods alone. 

Blueberries in full bloom

In the garden:

  • Direct sowed Little Gem Lettuce, Easter Basket Radishes

Indoor sowing:

  • Started sunrise bumblebee, black cherry, egg yolk, amish paste, brandywine, and more San Marzano II tomatoes.
  • Planted gomphrena

An idea came to me this week that I think will be helpful or at least enlightening.  I am going to post pictures of my larger garden each week so you can see how it evolves. 

It’s not pretty right now. And this is not my favorite angle to shoot from (yes my garden has a good side). But it’s the best spot to have everything visible.

My garden is 40 x 80 ft to fit in our suburban lot and I can’t capture it all in one image so you get two 🙂 


Even though the garden is looking pretty empty there is actually a lot planted that is too small to see. Onions, lettuce, and potatoes are the main ones. 

YouTube video

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