Sunday, 17 May 2015

Permablitz May 17, 2015

With the weather warm at last (hopefully for good this time), our garden chores have multiplied. Here's what we worked on today:

Chop and Drop
An important term that our friends at Permaculture GTA want everyone to know. It refers to chopping off weeds (or sometimes excess growth later in the season) and dropping them right on the garden soil. Letting them decompose in place keeps the nutrients they absorbed in the garden, rather than in a weed pile somewhere or at the municipal composting facility.

Hugelkultur Mound Maintenance
Over the winter, the logs and brush we buried in the hugel mound started to break down, and the soil we poured on top finished settling. As a result some sticks were exposed; we plucked these out and laid them at the base, beginning a barrier that will help keep the soil in place. Over the next few weeks we will collect small logs and large branches to create proper perimeters around the hugel mound and the sheet mulched bed.
Hugel mound from the rear. The squash planted on top will be
trained forward so that they don't overwhelm the tomatoes on
the back slope.
Leaf Mulch
By hand and by whipper-snipper/edge trimmer (what name do YOU use?), we have begun the long process of chopping and crushing last year's leaves into tiny bits. The labour is worthwhile; it's great mulch.
This collar, which isn't finished yet,
will help rain water sink in around the tree
Planting!
We haven't yet had all our soil delivered, but we had enough to cover one corner of our sheet mulched bed. In March and April several members sprouted various plants at home in windowsills and under grow lights, in addition to the seedlings planted by the Kimbourne Park Sunday school kids. Since the tomatoes and squashes were especially enthusiastic, we planted those first:
Tomatoes came first, then basil in between since they are good
companion plants. Then, by accident, some capsicum peppers.
We'll see how that works out...

Soaking the hole before the plant is added sends
the water downward. The plant's roots will
follow, making the plant stronger than if it received
a shallow top watering.
The broccoli, kale and pepper starts will go back on the
windowsill until the rest of our soil arrives.

Staking out locations for our fruit trees
Our five dwarf fruit trees will be delivered on May 31st. In the meantime, we staked out the locations so that Ontario One Call can come by and make sure we won't be digging into any buried wires or gas lines. Otherwise, we would be liable for any damage we caused. If you're planning to do any digging, call them first!
We will soon have a cherry, two pear, and
two apple trees!
Prepping wood for rain barrel stands
Since reducing waste is important to us (reducing costs is nice, too), we are repurposing wood from the old worm composter to build stands for our rain barrels. The wood is old, weathered, and full of screws, but cedar can take a lot. After a long visit with the palm sander, it's ready for re-use. Rain barrel stands are important because we rely on gravity to push the water out, and having the barrel higher than the watering can makes all the difference.

Much of this work is still ongoing, so we look forward to making more progress at our next permablitz on May 31st at 4 pm.

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