And there was dirt!

And the world was made right again…

More planting today. I transplanted some seedlings today. First time I’ve tried that with anything other than tomatoes. I did broccoli, kale, lettuce, etc. A lot of them are pretty spindly looking. Hopefully they will come out OK. I also planted some parsnips, carrots, kohlrabi, more broccoli, green onions, cabbage, turnips, brussel sprouts and beets. The moon says it’s a good time to plant root crops so I got busy. I’m still waiting to get my onion order so I guess they’ll be planted later this month during the second good phase for root crops.

I’m going to wait until later this month to do the potatoes. I want to really reduce the likelihood they get frosted.

Some other news today though. I rented a garden plot. The city here rents plots for $20. They are 1K square ft and the city will disc them for you. (Which make them completely unworkable from what I can see) I can’t cage in the plot so I have to plant things there that are of little interest to animals. I’m planning on planting canteloupe, watermelon, lots of squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, a large chunk of my potatoes and onions. I’ll also do some tomatoes and pepper plants and other plants that I’ll buy to transplant. (I was expected I would have enough seeds started this year but this was unexpected so I’m sure I’ll have to buy some extra plants from farmer’s at the market)

I fully expect this land to be of extremely poor quality. I doubt the previous user took care of the ground. I’m planning to dump a few yards of compost on it to bring it up to snuff quickly. Not to mention it’s a flood plain and there could be a high water table. We’ll see. I’m hoping they’ll let me bring in some mulch to save moisture. Especially since I would have to drag water from the nearby river by the bucket full to water. Yes, really. That’s how they make you do it.

Unfortunately the land is horribly rutted and gouged from the discing. So I’ll be spending many hours digging it up and smoothing it out. I could use a tiller but I don’t feel like buying one. So, a shovel, hoe and spading fork will be my weapons of choice.

But even with all this it’s a chance to grow a lot more food than I can right now. If I’m able to handle this I can rent more next year. They will let you have up to 4 of them. At 1K square ft they might be just the right size for a nice harvest of wheat, if I feel up to planting it that way next year, and there is enough time between when they open it up and close it up.


5 responses to “And there was dirt!

  1. I am amazed they rent out a plot that size for that cheap, even if the land maybe dicey.

    Check out the tools at this website, they may be of some use for your new plot.

    Are you serious that you can’t bring your own water to the site? I’m not sure I would want to use untreated river water in Iowa for watering crops considering what could be in there-pesticides, herbicides, etc.

    The city owned community garden that I got in on last year unexpectedly announced they had a waiting list for new gardeners and they couldn’t offer any additional plots to the established gardeners this year. It’s a bummer as I wanted more land to grow this year, but on the bright side it means more people are getting involved with gardening, which I see as positive overall. Luckily my neighborhood association had plots open in their community garden, so I will have more land to plant, but in 2 different spots.

  2. Try renting a tiller. that’s a really big piece and if it’s badly rutted it will need a lot of work. We had a community plot last year, a tiny one, but even though it was kind of beaten down and compacted, it grew a lot of tomatoes, basil, onions and peppers. Good luck.

  3. merlotmudpies

    Hi — I’m a new reader of your blog. Just added you to my blog surfer as we seem to have a lot of similar interests. I have two community garden plots here in CA. I’m blessed tho — we have hoses. Lots of them! I second the roto-tilling. That’s a ton of land you have there. I only have half what you do and tilling saved my life. It also made my earth workable enough that I was able to dig in paths and then frame in beds in a single day. It was fabulous. Anyway, just wanted to say hi and I can’t wait to see how your garden plot turns out. I’ll be posting updates on mine, too, if you’re interested. — Mary

  4. Dan–I can bring water on if I want, but that’s more work than dragging it from the river. I share your thoughts about how polluted the river water is though. I haven’t figured out the best solution yet.

    I did rent a plot by a guy whose name makes me think he might be super old. I plan to pick his brain, a lot.

    Thanks for the tiller recommendations. I may end up going that route, but I’m going to try it by hand this time. I’m kind of a stubborn young guy!

  5. Good idea on the garden plot. Our homeschooling group rented one at Los Poblanos (there’s a website, too) in Albuquerque. It was a terrific group project, especially for the kids to work together and see the ‘fruits’ of their efforts at the end.

    Unfortunately, the ground was similar to the one you’re renting and had been overused quite a bit, so it seemed to be lacking nutrients and was only watered twice a week from an acequia. Though there were many large frogs, there were also some hungry insects and rabbits, so much of the veggies above the ground got eaten since there was no fencing.

    But we did get some lovely herbs, tomatoes, a few carrots, zuchinni and lots and lots of flowers.

    Good luck with your new project.

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