Monday, March 17, 2014

Catching up with Sinfonian...

It's been a rough few years since I stopped blogging.  Many people think of this time as the Great Recession. For my family it was a trying time as a zero income family. During this both stressful and amazing time we survived on unemployment for nearly two years due to eating constantly from my garden.  Not only was that amazing, but I got to spend almost two years with my boys. That is something I will never forget, nor hopefully repeat.  I didn't blog then because I was on the computer so much job hunting it didn't feel right to do something for pleasure.  Yes, blogging is a selfish act in my book.

After my unemployment term, I went right into an 18 month contract working night and day to earn money and make up for lost time replacing savings and getting debt free (a topic for another time).  It was right when that contract ran out that I found permanent employment back in the commercial real estate lending industry where I spent 15+ years of my career.  The first year (last year) was more insane hours earning overtime while deadlines loomed and the money was offered.

It was during those last threeish years that my garden suffered.  I still kept chickens, but I simply had no time at key times of the year to garden. I must say my stress level suffered for it, but never realized it until I got out and weeded for the first time last week.  This is what my garden beds looked like when I went out there. It's not for the faint of heart...

Scary huh? I spent a half hour with a broad fork, shovel and hand trowel only to carve about two feet by four feet of the far right bed. Quite inefficient considering all I had to do.  Now I'm kicking myself for not covering the beds with plastic or lasagna gardening with left over pizza boxes to kill the weeds.  I'm also mad at my big brother for getting rid of his gas powered roto-tiller.  Then I could have considered these beds overwintered with green manure.  Needless to say I'm looking for suggestions for the fastest way to get my beds ready. I haven't had the heart to start seeds indoors this year because there is no place to plant them. My best idea so far is to use my mother-in-law's stirrup hoe to cut the roots off below the dirt line.  The downside to this is I would lose quite a bit of dirt. Most of my time spent to date was to knock as much dirt off the weeds before I fed them to the hens.  I figure the worst case is that I transfer more dirt to the run, which is in desperate need of more dirt.  Oh, and so are my beds if you can see the bottom of the first 2x6 in the picture above. I have always meant to go get another few yards of 7 way compost from Pacific Top Soil to top off my beds, but that hasn't happened.  Maybe this fall.

Thoughts? I hope this weekend is better for weeding.  Last weekend was horrible with the deluge of rain we got.  I'm not that hard core anymore.  Hehe.  It's good to be back!  And for grins I found folks that were hosting my potato bin page on their site, a few not giving me credit, and recreated the links to the pictures, so my most popular page is back up and running.  Yay!

Enjoy your garden!


  1. Hooray! So glad to see you back at it. This is Rachel formerly from Grafixmuse's Garden Spot. I have moved my blog to Missed you but I can understand how you felt that blogging was for pleasure and even neglected the garden because of the catching up you needed to do. I hope you can find a healthy balance now. Gardening is therapeutic and as you know can feed you and your family. You are worth it!

    As far as the weeds go, your beds remind me of my garden when I first purchased my property. It took a lot of hard work and mulching to get the weeds under control. I think the best approach is to keep doing what you are doing. Loosen the soil with a broad fork and pull out as many weeds as you can by hand. Hopefully as the soil dries out this will become easier. Unfortunately a tiller will just leave more roots behind to grow later. You will need to mulch to keep the weeds down for a while but if you keep at it you can eliminate them.

    I'm not sure if you know, but Granny is fighting cancer again and can use some good thoughts as she endures her treatments.

  2. Hey Sinfonian!
    Well, I live a whole lot closer to you these days (in Oly) and while we aren't dealing with the terrible winter most of the country is, it's cold out there in the rain. :-) Good to hear you've survived the financial crisis and I know you'll get those beds back into production, even if it's not as intense as it was.

  3. I just stumbled upon your blog from searching for potato planting methods. What I would do with the beds is make a little chicken wire pen around them and put your hens in. They will scratch up and kill the weeds pretty quickly! I have movable pens that I put over my beds in the winter and rotate a few chickens in them as long as the weather is ok for them. I'm enjoying your blog, glad you are back! Good luck! Barbara in OK

  4. So glad to see you back to blogging, and blessings on you for your perserverance in providing for your family, no matter what the shipwreck of the economy was doing. By now, you've probably successfully weeded your boxes, but I had a similar weed patch in a large mixed bed of shrubs and perennials, mats of chickweed, and found that my Winged Weeder was a marvel at slicing the weed mats in sheets, separating the leaves from the roots, making for pretty quick work of the mess. Any missed spots were worked over with my stirrup hoe. I'm sure you could clear each of your boxes in less than ten minutes with the Winged Weeder!