Monday, February 21, 2011

Just one pile after another

If you happened to be in the International Space Station in the last 24 hours and looked down in the area of Louisville, Tenn., you may have seen one of my wood piles burning.

All fall and winter I piled wood debris from land clearing in several huge piles. We burned the biggest one today. My neighbor and I kept feeding the fire all day with the front loaders on our tractors. If the fire is large, it gets kind of tricky. You want to stop your front wheels just before they hit the burning coals and then flip your load on to the top of the pile. Then you put the tractor in reverse and back out as quick as you can. I only "smoked" my front tires once or twice.

Native Americans use to burn fields and wood piles regularly to serve as fertilizer for their corn and maize. They also thought the smoke was a gift to the spirits. I have four more huge gifts for the spirits.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

New plan for the vegetable garden

Readers of this blog know that my garden plot is cursed with terrible soil. Half the garden is red clay and the other half is pure muck. No other word for it.

I have tried to amend the soil with compost, new top soil and peat without much luck. My new plan is raised beds.

I dig down about 12 inches with my tractor scoop and clean out a 4 X 10 foot section. (I know. It looks like a freshly dug grave, but I'm not ready to go just yet.) I fill back in with rotted mulch, leaves, compost and new top soil. I'll till all this and hope to end up with about a 6-inch raised bed. That will be 18 inches of new soil.

I'll surround the beds with compacted tree chips to try to keep the grass down.

We shall see.