The Weekly Digs #63

by Becky
Published: Updated:

Where I live we are just about to pass our average last frost date. And as far out as I can see, it looks good. This time of year is incredibly busy as we plant out the whole garden. We added extra work to our plate this year too since we are putting in a new garden over at the farm. 

I also had a really cool surprise about a week ago when my friend called me and said she had some raspberries that her family sent her but it was too many for her garden. She gave me her extras and didn’t know how many were in the box but guessed it was around 15. 

I said yes we would love them! They were bare root in the box which means they need a quick planting turnaround.

YouTube video

I was tired of hand digging out pasture grasses from our incredibly dense clay soil and told Cameron we need to borrow or rent a tiller.

I’m not a fan of tilling because I believe that soil biology is important to preserve. However, when you are starting a garden on the scale we are, I believe it is going to be a necessary process because we need to mix in amendments, remove grass, and form raised beds. I don’t plan on tilling again after the initial bed preparations.

A friend of ours had a little tiller that I thought would be perfect because it wouldn’t go super deep in the ground but just get the top few inches of soil and get the grass chopped. I was so excited that we were going to get it done quickly. We went out to the farm, fired up the tiller, and set to work.

We buzzed around the top of the soil for a bit but after about five minutes the truth was clear. The baby tiller was no match for the clay soil and perennial grasses of Arkansas. It barely scratched the surface. We were super bummed when the reality hit because we were going to have to dig out everything by hand.  That night we dug and dug and were able to get about 7 raspberries in the ground.

After some time to absorb the reality we came back again the next day ready to work. Cameron and the boys worked on removing sod while I planted. The raspberries kept coming and coming out of the box and we ended up planting 55 raspberries!  Much more than my friend had guessed. I was so excited. 

And once we had the right mindset we got the job done quickly. We were able to finish in about 3 hours.


In the garden:

  • The kids planted out their gardens this week. This year they each have a 4×5 foot area and it’s been amazing to see how they still just fill it to the max. Each declared they wished they had more room and I said next year they could have bigger gardens at the farm. 
  • We planted a lot of flowers this week that I had started indoors. Marigolds, sweet alyssum, and calendula. 
  • I potted up my peppers and they have perked up a bit.
  • We are harvesting lettuce, arugula, mesclun mix, green onion, and asparagus.

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Elise Napier May 8, 2020 - 1:23 am

I have been binge reading your blog since I discovered it two weeks ago and I’m caught up to the present :). It has been fun and educational to read while I wait to be able to plant here in Michigan. Thank you also for your always frank discussion of what works for your mental health. I also suffer from depression and digestive issues and I’m looking forward to a long and healthy summer of gardening.

theseasonalhomestead May 8, 2020 - 4:21 am

Thank you Elise! I’m so glad you’re finding it helpful. You are so right, it is so wonderful to soak up the sun, eat good food, and enjoy healthy benefits 🙂 Good luck in your garden this year!


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