Sunday, May 11, 2008

Semester over and more time spent in backyard

All of these pictures and the idea for this post actually happened last week. But, the days kept passing and I'm just now getting to it. Daniel finished up his semester last week. Congrats to him for completing his final semester of course work towards his PhD. We have been taking a little break and spending a lot of time in the yard before summer school starts next week. This first picture shows the big bed. Since it was taken last week some of the beds actually look a lot bigger already! You can't really see what's going on in each bed but I thought it was nice because it kinda gives you an idea of what's going on in the yard. We've had requests to show the whole yard. It's really not that big there's just a lot going on! So here you see the bed, the holly tree with hammock underneath, the new bean trellis in front of shot and the pomegranate on the back left of the picture. You can see a little bit of our back deck as well.
This is a close up of the potatoes that Daniel spent several hours last weekend hilling. We started the seed potatoes in trenches. Once they got to be about a foot above ground he piled up soil around the plants and created little hills to provide more room for growing the potatoes. We have russet, red and yellow potatoes coming up.
While playing around in the backyard Daniel spotted this swarm of honey bees. It was so cool. They were on one of the tree branches in the hedge along the back side of the yard. We watched in amazement for a little while. Since they were in search of a new hive they didn't stay here long. They were gone the next day.
Another thing we have been doing is keeping better watch of the compost pile. We always have a big one in the back corner of the yard. This time we started it mostly with horse manure and leaves from other people's yards. After turning and watering it we tracked the temperature every day. The first day after turning it was 80 degrees (same as temp. outside). The next day it was about 90, then the next day 100-110. The temp steadily increased and by the 4th day it was at 140. We were very excited!We will turn it again soon. I should post a more detailed description of composting or at least what we do in case anyone reading would like to start one. Here is a great article I read online (I was reading in bed on Mother's Day!) that can get anyone started turning their yard and kitchen waste into "gardener's gold." Of course you can find books all about it at your local library too :)
We've talked about our rain barrels before. We have set up 5 different ones in the back yard. Two are under down spouts of gutters next to the house. Then we have 2 that are right next to the garden. During big rains, Daniel siphons water with a hose from the ones closest to the house to the ones in the garden.
Daniel and I installed these gutters on the shed a few weeks ago and he rigged them to pour into the 5th barrel.

4 comments:

Scott said...

Wow, again. I love reading about and seeing pictures of every project you undertake. Keep up the fantastic work!

stevie said...

Looks great fam!

t said...

jen. great work! it's nice to see environmentally-minded families taking steps to make a difference...

Lesley said...

That is awesome to see the honey bees...especially since colony collapse disorder (CCD) is such a big deal right now. If you have not heard of this, check out this link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colony_Collapse_Disorder

Thanks for the whole-yard pic!