Monday, April 25, 2011


 Flower garden at front gate
It's raining . . . again. It's been raining for several days now, and the forecast calls for rain six days of the next seven. I hope they're wrong. After Friday's flood, we did get a little break on Saturday, so we went out to the garden and cleaned it up for planting. We pulled out all of the old corn stalks, tomato plants, and dead weeds. The dead sorghum stalks are still there, but once they're out, we'll be ready to spread the compost and till.

Mike also put together four new raised beds, and he has the lumber to build four more, which will give us a total of twelve raised beds. They're eight-feet by four-feet, and we've discovered that there are many advantages to them. For one thing, you can work in them when it's just rained buckets, because you are standing on grass next to the raised beds. I am thinking of putting gravel between them though, because we are not great about mowing between them in the summer. The four existing raised beds were turned into low tunnels for winter gardening, which is why we have lots of lettuce right now. Five of the new raised beds will be used for perennials -- strawberries, rhubarb, and purple asparagus, which are sitting in the house losing vitality, waiting to be put into soil.

As for the animals, the goats are only going outside about every other day. We're doing this balancing act, trying to figure out whether the goats are better off outside with mud and parasites on wet pasture or in the barn eating alfalfa all day and increasing risk of coccidiosis for kids. It feels like a no-win situation, so I just keep piling on more clean straw in the barn for the inside days. Katherine was at least able to get all the goat stalls clean on Saturday. Still, I worry.

Even the pigs are not happy with all the mud in their pen. I keep piling on more straw in their shelter and right outside the shelter so they don't drag too much mud inside. As soon as I put fresh straw in there, they immediately lay down on it.

This is starting to remind me of the spring of 2009. It rained and rained, and just when you thought it was finally going to dry out, it rained again. Farmers couldn't get their heavy equipment into the fields until about a month later than normal, which then meant they were still harvesting at Thanksgiving, which even the oldest among them had never experienced before. The really frustrating thing about the spring of '09 is that when it stopped raining, it stopped for weeks. But the good thing about backyard agriculture is that we don't use heavy equipment. Yeah, mud is nasty, but if we put on a pair of waterproof boots, we can still get a lot done. And if we have a drought, we can water the garden.

So, I just have to learn to relax.


Kathy ~ Cackles and Berries said...

Your tulips look bright and cheerful, even on the gloomest of spring days. Haven't had much luck with strawberrys in raised beds- they seem to dry out faster. I bet your gardens will look lovely when completed. Hoping this rain stops soon- we have had enough as well and my hubby is one of those farmers with heavy equipment just itching to get to work. Happy Spring Deborah.

Jane said...

I am also tired of this weather,so tired of all this rain and scary storms! hope your garden works out. Blessings jane

LindaG said...

Hope things even out for you soon.

Twwly said...

Not sure what your weather systems are like, but here, nothing survives our winters parasite wise.

We worm usually right as the snow is melting, so the worms are deposited into bedding and not onto the ground to start the cycle over again.

The worm load does eventually build, but I had the impression that in the right climate, there is very little on your pasture right after the winter.

(Our goats have outdoor access year round, we have winter from November until, well about 2 weeks ago, ha).


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