Friday, June 13, 2008

...down came the rains and washed the gardens out....

Matt's Boreal Edge Farm blog introduced me to the following titles:

You Can Farm
Joel Salatin
Polyface, Inc.. Swoop, VA. 1998.

Five Acres and Independence: A Handbook for Small Farm Management
M.G. Kains
Dover, Mineola, NY. 1973.

  • many thanks to my mother, the best of book hunters, for locating, ordering, and making it so these books are now in my possession ... :D

Sara's report on staking the FSRN garden:

"The 30'x15' FSRN plots remain the same (except for the combining of 2 15^2 plots for Connie's tomatoes), but they took up all of the ~90' on the south edge. I figured that the compost area that was to be against the east side of the FSRN/15x15 plot block could be pushed into the triangular area beside it to the east.

The garden was not as long as indicated, so the biology plot length was cut from 90' to 85'. Even at this length, the compost area on the south side of the bio plot will also be pushed south into the open SE triangle (edible flowers, as it was marked) area. Seeing as two compost areas were pushed closer than planned into the SE corner, they might be combined into one? (The other two composting sites fit into their original locations.) Because the width at the widest point of the garden was significantly short of estimates, the bio plot also had to be taken down to 25' in width.
The layout changes to the SE corner led to a small diagonal entrance way being created for access to the raised bed area. I have only marked off the outer edges of this area, as I imagine there will be some construction of the beds going on in there. I made this area 10' wide, and very roughly 100' long (running against the north side of the FSRN/15'x15' plots).

Just north of the raised bed length, against the west edge of the garden, I marked off a 10'x30' area for the compost/flower block marked on the plan. Just inside of that is the LUSU plot, which lost some length due to the short width of the whole garden. It is about 90' long by its original 30'.

The LUCK plot remains 30' long, but was reduced to 15' wide. The 6 10'x20' plots, and 12 10'x10' remain the same. After the placing of the preceding, only ~33'x60' remained for the large study plot area, so I just split this in half along an E-W line, creating 2 30'x33' study plots. I suppose if we have a great need for more study plots, the areas to the north of them that didn't yet have designated purposes would be suitable.

We actually could not mark off 1 of the 20x10 and 1 of the 10x10 plots due to the soil pile in the middle of them. This can be done once the soil is moved. I didn't mark off anything further north in the garden than the pile, so they could be moved easily. As the staking through the middle of the garden is done, the soil will have to be moved off to the west side of the garden and along the sod edge. Two of the FSRN plots are open to the edge, as is the tomato plot, for easy wheelbarrow access. The one inner FSRN plot can be accessed by the open 15x15 plot to its south. I think moving the soil on the sod, though a little further in distance, will likely be easier anyway as it will be a firmer surface.

The remaining length along the west side (marked FSRN/wheat/oats and sunflower border) is likely about 40'. When I first noticed that we were lacking length, I thought to cut down the sunflower border to about 5'. Does that seem like a good width at this point? (Amy's note: Yes! 5' will be fine :) )

So the plots as currently marked are:
10 15'x15' plots30'x15' tomato plot3 FSRN 30'x15' plots10'x ~100' raised demonstration bed area10'x30' west edge compost area~ 90'x30' LUSU plot85'x25' Biology plot15'x30' LUCK6 10'x20' plots (1 unmarked due to soil)12 10'x10' plots (1 unmarked)2 30'x ~33' study plots
Still to be marked:1 10x20 and 1 10x10SE compost area(s)FSRN grain plotunassigned NE plotssunflowersNE compost areawalkways

I figure a walkway starting on the west edge between the compost/flower area and LUCK running along the edge of the LUSU plot to the southern study plot, and branching off up the middles of both the 20x10 and 10x10 plots will give appropriate access. As these are smaller plots, I think I will shift the stakes over towards the study plots to make room for narrow middle walks, so no area is lost from them. Now that I know what kind of room we are actually working with on the ground with the stakes in preliminary place, it will be easy to tweak things here and there.

I think that running a walkway from the east garden edge, along the north edge of the bio plot through to the FSRN grain plot will give both access to inner areas, as well as round out easier compost delivery to those upper areas. It looks to me like the whole garden would then have relatively close access to a compost area.

Those estimated walkway figures add up to 430', just in case we need that figure."

Sara has been out marking plots since Wednesday morning, which was the only time the weather cooperated. Yesterday Sara was joined by Roy, on loan from the Boreal Edge Farm, to help put in some more fence posts in some weaker areas of the deer fence. They continued the staking until the rains became to intolerable - at which point they came to see me, in the English office.
I could hear them sloshing up the hall long before I saw them, and the sight of them would have made any Good Pig envious. Mud from head to toe - Sara even pointed out the she was in her "clean clothes". Impressed with their cherrfulness in spite of what they had been through that morning, I wish I could have been with them.

I wish Matt and his family the best of luck in regaining composure of their farm after the heavy rains.

For present, past, and future weather information, see here:
Thunder Bay weather (June 12, 2008) and historical weather data from Environment Canada

No comments: