So, I'm not gonna say I love this new shift, but it's benefits are becoming deeply apparent.
- I get to see the sun every day.
- I get garden time every day.
- I get to sleep at night, though I do sleep late in the morning, usually til 10.
- More alone time with the wife, though that means I don't see the kids much.
- No more 30 hour days twice a week!
It's working out well so far. The job I'm working this week has some down time, so I can write a few sentences between trucks. Overall, it's a step toward a more natural life cycle.
MOAR plum blooms!
Speaking of natural cycles... Would you just look at those trees budding and blooming already? It's February y'all! With all the daylight I'm getting, I've really got the spring energy bug. Or maybe that's the kidney stroganoff I made today... Or maybe the ten pounds I lost last week. You catch my drift though, right? Life is good lately. 💚
I got out for a couple easy garden prep days and made 62 feet of new corn swales! It took about two total hours of work after all was said and done. I put it in the spot that was a melon patch and enormous compost pile last year. That pile was something like 40 leaf bags and 20 grass bags, and I didn't use any of it elsewhere. It was nearly 2m tall and 3m wide, and it's all still there somewhere. That's a whole lot of organic matter, which I'm reading that corn loves. The chooks spread it out for me and the worms tilled it in. Nate doesn't work, remember?
62 feet of corn swales, new hugelkultur bed, and new semi-contoured raised bed in the forest garden.
I'm really excited for this part of the garden. There's currently spinach and lettuce going nuts on that hugel bed. 62 feet of swales is a lot, even if they're only a shovel deep and wide. They'll be fed by the runoff along the south fence and the middle swale, making for a lot of water for this corn patch. The access turned out great with the contour there, making a perfect little pad in the middle for a chair. Remember, Nate doesn't work. Chair space in the garden is crucial.
My process for making these swales is to mark the contour using scraps of wood as stakes, then hoe the row, then dig one shovel head deep, rake the soil from the trench, and level it off. I've got it worked out to a pretty quick process, even having tools appropriately placed so I just grab them at the end of the line. I guess six years in industrial production has contributed more than just money in my life.
Contour marked and hoed out.
Swale dug out along the contour.
Berm raked from bottom edge of swale and evened out.
One hour of progress, first day.
New corn patch before mulch: two hours total work.
I guess I'm getting that process down pretty smooth now after 190 feet of swales. 80 feet of big ones, 48 on the first corn patch, and now these 62. That's a lot of water staying right there where it falls, and not going to the lake. I'm okay with being the guy that hates lakes, if that's the way it needs to be. I don't actually hate em, but I do hate something that's gonna grab my resources from me and put it somewhere that makes me pay to use that resource. So swales it is. :)
That last picture shows the space better than the one with the mulch in place. The shovel marks the chair spot where I'll be able to sit surrounded by corn plants. I love summer garden sitting.
I'll be adding at least two more corn beds I think. I've got a LOT of seeds to plant, and I'd really like to not buy seeds next year. Corn seeds are easy to save, and you need a bunch of plants to insure genetic diversity and not suffer from inbreeding. The number I've heard is 200 plants, which means I need 200 feet of rows, as they're planted every foot. I've got seeds for that, no big deal, but the space is going to get creative. Oh yeah, I've got two varieties that I'm planting, so go ahead and round that up to 400 feet of rows.
More to come soon, as I'm going to be taking a long weekend or two soon for time to plan and tinker!
All action for the good of all.