The Weekly Digs #97

by Becky

In the garden:

I feel like the countdown to starting the garden has begun! We aren’t past the worst of winter yet, but I have so many to-do’s that it makes the time seem to fly by. Peas are one of the first things I plant in mid-March, just six weeks away!

Winter Rye and Crimson Clover

Last month, I planted winter rye and crimson clover. It was definitely late in the year for planting it. It took several weeks to germinate and during that time some weeds started to sprout too. 

I was hoping it would pop up and cover exposed soil faster but it didn’t. To protect my bare soil, I decided to add some compost. On Monday and Tuesday, I worked on getting the area covered. I didn’t quite finish but any progress is good progress.

Last week I also got some fruit trees in the mail! Some nursery’s let you choose the date they ship and some will just ship based on what state you are in. I ordered from One Green World and January is when they ship to Arkansas.

I got Shin Li Asian Pear, Korean Asian Pear, Akane Apple, and Red Love Era apple. One Green World sells varieties that are a little more unusual. I also like to buy trees from Stark Bros but they sell just the more popular varieties. 

As part of planting my new trees, I had to take out two of my apple trees that died last year. They were both Arkansas Black apple trees. As for why they died and everything else remains alive, that is a mystery. One was a four year old tree I moved from our old property and it got bagworms so that may have contributed. 

I also made a major mistake with my fruit trees that I transplanted and are now five years old. When I originally bought them, I got the white trunk protectors to keep them from getting sun damage in winter. 

Well that totally backfired because you are supposed to take them off when your tree truck gets larger. My trees grew a ton in one year and I didn’t even notice that the white truck protectors had become small around the trunk of the tree.

When I took it off, it had severely damaged the bark around the trunk. This leads to all sorts of problems like making the tree more susceptible to insects and disease, and I am just so bummed I let that happen. I’m afraid it may have contributed to the death of the Arkansas Black tree.

My other three trees are still alive but one of them also has severe bark damage and I’m really hoping it lives through it. Fingers crossed. I tell you all this because I hope it may help someone else out there not to make the same mistake! With the orchard the stakes are much higher because it takes so long to establish. 

I planted the new apple and pear trees and covered the area with mulch. It was just in time before a big rainstorm came that is why we were working at night.

Last weekend Cam and I had a fun adventure with expanding our garden. We are adding another 10,000 square feet of garden space! It seems like a lot for one family but it will accommodate the kids garden and some crops that take lots of space, like corn and potatoes. 

We borrowed a subsoiler from a friend to break ground this time. Last time we used the BCS Tractor with the rotary plow and that worked well, but it took a long time and a lot of arm strength. 

Our heavy clay has a hardpan that needs to be broken before plowing and that is why we decided to try the subsoiler. 

YouTube video

Cam rigged up the subsoiler and I couldn’t believe it when it actually worked on the first pass! Cameron was rolling right along working on it and a little more than half done when I heard a loud snapping sound. 

I look over and the tractor was lying crooked on the ground. The wheel had sheared right off the tractor! It was crazy. Cam said it wouldn’t be too expensive to fix but we were done for the day. 

Indoor Seed Starting for this week- Planted gladstone onion seed, lavender, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and bulgarian giant leeks. I’m not sure if the leeks will germinate the seed was a few years old and I figured I’d try and use it up.

House Progress

I’m so excited the inspection passed! As I mentioned last week, we got the go ahead for the insulation but not the sheet rock. The items that needed to be done for the rest of the inspection to pass finally finished up.

Now the sheetrock guys got started and all the sudden the house looks so different on the inside. It’s feeling real, like we may actually move in soon! The house also feels smaller all the sudden because you can’t see up to the rafters. But I’m happy with the design and how it’s turning out!

They are also getting started on the siding. This board and batten siding will be painted. My oldest child was worried after seeing the siding up that we would have a yellow house 🙂 We are going to paint it white. Fitting for a farmhouse, right?

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