When we bought the place…
the previous owners had a large hoop house that they wanted to sell to us outside of the house deal. We ended up not buying it but they left the large trough like structures. He was raising Tilapia in them with an aquaponics system. They are about four feet wide and twenty feet long. There is a gravel base underneath them as well. The gravel is probably twenty by fifty. The two troughs are side by side about three feet apart from each other. They are about waist high. In the spirit of getting the most from the least amount of effort we are re-purposing them into raised beds and they will work quite well for that.
As Bill got things cleared up we could begin to see some of the hidden things in the yard like the yard hydrants and some compost piles. There was an especially good pile of compost in front of the barn that we used to partially fill one of the raised beds. I used the bucket on the little John Deere to fill it. That made short work of it, so glad Bill left it here.
The little nursery that did make it out is very skimpy. We did our best but we lost some stuff. It looks like the chestnuts are rebounding now though. My jackfruit tree looks dead. What did make it, figs, dwarf mulberry, goji, gooseberry, cranberry, persimmon. Oddly the hibiscus actually improved after being in just water for about a week!
We made some good progress outside on the raised beds. While we were in Springfield we went to a place called Wickmans garden. They are a garden center and they had lots of fall brassicas for sale. We picked up some chard, kale, broccoli, spinach and Brussel sprouts along with daikon radish and arugula that we planted. They were already good size so now we’re further along than we were. The heat is still stifling however and the little plants are taking a pounding. Hopefully we won’t lose any.
There are 5 categories of resources.
1. Those which increase by modest use. (pasture)
2. Those unaffected by use. (fruit trees)
3. Those which disappear or degrade if not used. (annual gardens)
4. Those reduced by use. (oil)
5. Those which pollute or destroy other resources if used. (nuclear)
Our situation happens to be number three.
The garden that the previous owners planted had not been tended at all since spring. Pig weed (amaranth) had filled in the niche left by the garden rows. It was entirely overgrown and at least eight feet high!
Here’s a shot from out the back door before Bill bush-hogged the backyard.
After we got it tamed a little bit we could see where the old beds were. They were strawberries that had been planted into landscaping cloth. These were all grown up with amaranth. We kept all of the moving boxes that had and used those to sheet mulch the area.
There is a lot of hay in the barn that the previous owner left behind. We used that to make a thick cover over the cardboard boxes. Hopefully by spring this bed will be ready to use!