Fall clean up: squash beds done

Yay! The squash beds in the old garden area are now all done.

Also, where the pumpkin mounds were, we now have three new beds.

Here is how it looked when I started.

The bamboo stakes are marking where I planted the seed potatoes I found while digging up the potato beds. It should be interesting to see what happens there in the spring!

Being such a narrow row, it shouldn’t have taken long to prep this area. It was, however, incredibly full of rocks. Not even big ones, really. Just so many! If we decide to continue planting here, this area would be the one most in need of a raised bed. If we do build a raised bed in this area, it’s going to be long, narrow (no more than 2 ft wide), and will have a built in trellis for a back “wall”.

Here is how the pumpkin mounds looked before I started.

The black that you see is the ashes cleaned out of the fire pit.

The crab grass growing through it is noticeably brighter!

Once done, here is how the back row looked.

It’s hard to see through the mulch, but I turned the soil and mulch, so the more decomposed mulch was more on top, and the less decomposed mulch was partially buried. I don’t know what we’ll plant here next year, but whatever it is, it’ll need to be pretty hardy, until we can build the soil up more!

Here is how the pumpkin mounds look now.

I was pretty sure about turning one of the mounds into a larger bed, but with so much crab grass, I didn’t think I would do the others. However, after a year covered in mulch, and a lot fewer rocks then in other areas, the soil was much softer than expected, and I ended up turning them all into larger beds. The one on the left had the least amount of grass and weeds to clean up, but it also had the most rocks that needed to be cleaned out! When I started on the middle mound, the soil was so much better than it had been, I went ahead and dug another bed, pulling up as many weed roots as I could. That went fairly easily with the crab grass. They took the easy route, and their rhizomes spread like a net under the mulch, rather than into the ground. Those come up quite easily.

Then I hit a patch of Creeping Charlie, making its way through the mulch. I lost about an inch or two of topsoil, pulling up those root mats. !!

The third bed was even easier to dig up, so that went very quickly.

So this area now has 6 beds in total, ready for next year. 🙂

The next area to prep will be the carrot and beet beds. I’ve been leaving them in the ground as long as possible. Which might be working for the carrots, but the beets are mostly a lost cause. Too many visits from deer! That area will be cleaned out and prepped for the winter garlic that should be coming in within the next couple of weeks.

I will leave that for tomorrow, however. Today, we need to strain the crab apple cider vinegar. We meant to do it yesterday, but so many things went sideways, it got postponed.

I am happy to say that the septic truck did show up yesterday, shortly before 6pm. The poor guy looked so tired! All I could say after greeting him was “long day?” I think he had been bracing himself to be given a hard time for being so late, because all the tension seemed to just droop out of his body as he simply said, “yeah.” He ended up spending half an hour on the tank. I honestly don’t know how my parents emptied the tank only once a year with 7 of us. We didn’t empty it this past spring, since we’d had him come out in the winter, when things started backing up into the basement. So it was more than 6 months since it was cleaned out, and it showed!

When we booked him to come in, I asked how much it would cost so I could take out cash; it’s not like these guys can take debit. 😉 I didn’t have exact change, but when it came time to pay, I didn’t ask for any, even when I confirmed the amount and he gave me a lower number! Maybe he was giving me a deal for being so late but I figure, if anyone deserves a tip, it’s the septic guy! If I’d had more to give him, I would have!

I really, really appreciate people like him. What would we do without people willing to do such dirty jobs?

Meanwhile, I have not heard back from the plumber. We’re getting near the point of having to call someone else. Our plumber knows this place and has been doing work here for many, many years, plus he’s really gone above and beyond for us, so I would rather not go with someone else. But we need to get that well pump changed. We should have done it months ago, but all our “spare” funds went to paying for the new differential on my mother’s car. If it does turn out to be something wrong in the well itself, we want to find that out now, not when there’s snow on the ground! We shall see how that pans out.

The Re-Farmer

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