garden news, still working on the first strawberry patch. we had hot enough weather that i didn't accomplish much last week. finally we catch a few days of cooler weather with some rains. not that it helped make the subsoil i'm removing any easier to break up. stuff is like concrete. no surprise the strawberries in there didn't do that great, but the subsoil is a foot and a half down, the top layer wasn't too bad.
i'm going that deep because i've wanted to lower this patch ever since it has been there. no reason to mound it up really other than a few flash floods which don't last long enough and aren't a bother to strawberries anyways. should have the flash flooding under control well enough anyways now.
and i can move the tulips out of there that i've already dug up several times, but always miss a few. i suspect i may still miss a few anyways... and some deep rooted weeds that are best removed carefully by hand so as to not break up chunks of the root which can regrow (sow-thistle, one of the worst garden weeds for clay).
yesterday i finally filled in the center part i'd dug out and it is already replanted. filled it in with a mix of sand, stuff that needs to rot eventually (bean shells and squash vines/leaves), and stuff that is already mostly rotted (wood chips/pine needles) along with some of the existing clay (about 1/4).
now i won't need a pickaxe to weed it and if i've missed any of the sow-thistle root pieces it won't be so hard to get the rest out of there.
mainly though, i get to redo the edge of the patch so i don't need to crawl over or around rocks to get in there to pick or weed. there's way too many ankle breaking/twisting rock edges as it is. i'm gonna flatten this puppy out and give me spaces to go through and figure out something else to do with the rocks... the stepping stones i already have are flat enough.
i still have wheelbarrows of dirt/subsoil to move and as usual one project begets another. i've been scraping some of the old decayed woodchips from the garden where the lima beans are growing. and there's yet another ankle breaking/twisting rock trench along there that is begging to be dealt with. so... i'm going to remove the rocks and fill it in so it will be brought up to the level of the neighboring path and the whole area will be a garden i can have several rows of beans/peas or whatever instead of a narrow strip surrounded by woodchip mulch (not very productive use of the space before, but it was a flower garden that has been removed and turned into veggie production now). that's a few hundred more square feet of full sun space and the soil is very nice in there already. i'll use some of the decayed wood chips in there too, but most of them are going to end up in the strawberry patch as i will then not need to do anything in there for a few years other than to weed and top off a little at the end of the season (after the ground freezes).
at least that is the plan...
today a little painting too, the garage sill i put in this past spring is holding up and sticking well, a few very tiny cracks are showing from the differences in cement batches i did when i was putting it down (hand mixing in small amounts i couldn't get it all mixed and placed at once). it needs to be protected before the winter gets here and we start dripping muddy/salty water on it... hopefully three coats will do it (or until the quart of paint runs out).
in other news, still picking and shelling beans, the rains we so sorely needed were not really wanted now with the beans finishing up, but that is usual for me and the later fall. the push-pull of wanting rains because when it is too dry some of the gardens are too hard to do much with (the rest are much nicer now after years of planting, amending and giving the worms plenty to work with) and the desire for things to be dry so that the beans won't rot or start sprouting in the pods before i can get them picked. it really hasn't been a great year for the beans. strange weather, high heat, storms at just the wrong times, cold spells, etc... the plight of a gardener. :) i have planted enough varieties that i'm getting some return for my efforts but it is a fraction of what a normal year can be like (was hoping for between 50-100 lbs, will be more like 30lbs) most plants the pods are empty or only a few pods have beans. at least the ones i was most worried about not having anything from i have been able to find some pods with beans in them now to restock a little of the seed supply. they are a very nice thin green bean and the seeds are long and narrow and they are apparently very finicky about setting seeds. i could have eaten a lot more of the beans but i left almost all of them because i wanted to restock the seed supply.
tomatoes are done and gone, the plants need to be taken down and buried. peppers are still doing ok. there should be a few red ones out there to harvest in a few days. squash is in and curing. we had a wheelbarrow full (much better than five wheelbarrows full). the quality is overall very good compared to last season. only two that i've noticed will have to be cooked up right away (instead of several dozen). not having much rain the past month and a half kept the fungi from doing much or even starting up at all.
ok, enough rambles, time to get busy, ...