We’re taking a break from our push to get the squash and corn transplanted today. Lots has been done, with lots more to do, but we just had to stop for a while.
My daughters didn’t take any photos of what they were doing, so I just have “after” pictures to show.
This is the summer squash. We have only 15 transplants; quite a few did not germinate, but we do have some of all 4 varieties. There’s an extra hill. Later on, straw will be added around the hills for mulch, and I will be adding stakes near the transplants, to train them to grow vertically. This is supposed to help prevent fungal infections or rot from touching the soil, increase air circulation, make it easier for pollinators to get to the flowers, increase yield and make it easier to harvest. The bottom leaves are supposed to be pruned away, and it will also be easier to water them at the roots.
At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. We shall see!
Next, they started building the beds at the squash tunnel. Priority for planting here are the luffa and dancing gourds and the winter squash. Oh, and the little pumpkins. We have quite a lot of melons to transplant, too, but if there is no room here, there is a lot more space where the sunflowers were planted last year.
What they were working on those, I worked on the new corn block.
I had turned about 2/3rds of it last night, so I didn’t expect it to take too long to finish.
Then I hit something, right near the end. Of course, I was hitting rocks the whole time, but usually I could just move the fork a few inches and keep going. Not this time!
I ended up using a space to dig around the rock. I dug up a few other rocks, but part of it seems to continue below where the soil is still undisturbed.
I used water pressure to clear the stone and try and see how much further it went, but that wasn’t much. My younger daughter decided to give it a try, and ended up bending the fork, trying to move the rock!
So… it will stay. 😀
The next step was to take out as many roots, rocks and start leveling things off.
That stick coming out of the ground in the background is a tree root. I have to grab something to cut it with!
For this part, I had a garden claw with a long handle we found in the basement when we were cleaning it out. What a back saver! You can see, all around in the grass, where the roots, crab grass and weeds were tossed. Rocks got tossed under trees, so they wouldn’t be “found” with the lawn mower. Of course, it’s not possible to get all the roots out, but I got most of them.
Finally, I could go over it with the thatching rake, which picked up a few more roots that I missed, as well as some rocks, and leveled it off a bit. I chose not to bury the big rock again, as it was so close to the surface. I’d rather see it and know it’s there, than forget about it and plant something on top by mistake.
One thing about this area; it has the deepest top soil of any part of the old garden, yet! I didn’t reach gravel until I started digging deeper to try and get around the big rock, and while I found other chunks of rock, I just barely reached the gravel layer. This is the soil my mother is talking about, when she talks about how great the soil used to be. Except for the rocks. She didn’t remember the rocks! 😀
The next step was to mark out for planting. I counted the corn plants this morning, and there are 65, plus a couple of bitty ones that probably shouldn’t be transplanted, but I likely will, anyways. I wasn’t sure if I’d have enough space, but with rows 2 feet apart, and the transplants 1 foot apart in each row, I will have enough space.
While the soil may appear good, all the soil tests I did showed a lack of nutrients, so it will still be amended. I used the flags to lay down grass clippings. I lay them out in rows, but I don’t mind them spilling over into the paths in between, to help keep the weeds down.
After this photo was taken, I used a watering can and rainwater to wet down the grass clippings, since the hose and sprinkler were needed at the other end of the garden.
Then we headed inside. We reached 30C/86F while we were out there! So we will take a few hours indoors and let things start to cool down before we continue.
We have predictions for rain tonight, and possible severe thunderstorms by tomorrow afternoon. They might even hit us. If it does look like we will get a severe storm, we have things we can use to cover the squash to protect them, though the corn would be on its own. It is, however, in a more sheltered area of the old garden. We shall see.
We might still hit our goal to get all the transplants done here by this evening! After that, we have transplants for the south yards, but they are not as urgent and can wait a bit longer.
As for me, I’m seriously thinking of joining all the cats on my bed for a short nap. I’m so tired, I have been falling asleep while writing this!
I’m going to be hurting so much by the time all this done, but it’ll be worth it!