Monday, June 18, 2012

Blooms, seedlings, chickens, and an easy weed barrier... {Garden Journal # 9}

Blooms...





Cucumber and Black Seeded Simpson lettuce seedlings...



Meat chickens that will be "processed" in just five days (yes, I'll be helping). I watched a few videos on you-tube this morning to prepare myself -- the husband isn't sure I'll be able to handle it. Say a prayer for me if you would. :)



And something I wish we'd done in years past: laying down newspaper and straw around our garden beds. We first tried this a few weeks ago, and I can't tell you how happy we are with this method of weed prevention! The few blades of field grass and any weeds that have happened to make it through are easily picked by hand about once a week in less than five minutes -- weeding simply couldn't be any easier! :)

Before laying down the newspaper, we hoed the area to be covered in order to uproot any weeds that were already growing. Next, we laid down newspaper 4 - 5 sheets thick, being careful to overlap the pages. Because there was a bit of a breeze the day we were working, Dan lightly sprayed the newspaper with the garden hose to keep it from blowing out of place. The newspaper was then covered with straw. The entire process didn't take long and should last through the growing season. From what I've read, the newspaper and straw will eventually decompose and need to be replaced; I'm expecting that we won't have to do that until next spring, but we'll find out as the season progresses.






When we were finished, we ran our sprinklers to wet the straw down. We didn't have quite enough straw to completely cover our newspaper layer, so we'll have to buy one more bale to finish the job.

Garden and homestead plans accomplished from our previous list:
  • Replant cucumber and pickling cucumber seed (our first planting failed).
  • Finish laying down newspaper and straw to keep the weeds in our garden down. (By the way, this method has been 90 - 95% successful, so we highly recommend it!)
  • Put netting over our strawberry bed to keep the birds out (strawberries are close!).
  • Bend and install EMT (electrical metallic tubing) and netting over our new herb beds to keep out the deer.  Didn't get this task accomplished -- hope to take care of this project later this week.
Plans for this week, as previously mentioned, will be to take care of the covering of our herb beds, buying one more bale of straw to finish our garden weed barrier, and the processing of our meat birds. I never did get around to sharing a chicken post, but perhaps I'll get to it after this Saturday (if I have the stomach for it, that is).   :)

Summer will be here on Wednesday! We're looking forward to some warm, sunny days to get things growing. We're been enjoying fresh green salads and are still waiting for our strawberries to ripen. Our peas have only just now begun flowering -- can you believe it? Such is gardening in the Cascade foothills. :)

Hope your gardens are growing well for you!

~Lisa

I hope your visit to Dole Valley has been a blessing and encouragement--thanks for joining us on our journey! To follow or subscribe, look to the upper right. :)

Sharing with:

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Tuesday Garden Party
Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways

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32 comments:

  1. Hi Lisa, What a beautifully organized garden you have... It looks like you've thought of everything... Even the fencing around the garden area is lovely! Love the Straw idea... I need a ground cover for inside my greenhouse. This might work!Thank you for sharing with Farmgirl Friday!

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    1. Thanks for dropping in and for leaving such an encouraging comment, Deborah Jean. :) The fencing is necessary as we live in deer country; if we didn't have it, there's no way we could grow a garden. Hope the straw ground cover idea works for your greenhouse! ~Lisa

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  2. Anonymous6/19/2012

    I have put newspapers in the garden for years. when I can't get straw I use grass clipping from the yard. I start saving newspapers in January( i have a large garden)!! Love the weed free garden.

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    1. So glad to know this newspaper and straw idea is one that has worked for you -- and for years!! How often have you had to replace yours? I'm sure this is dependent on one's local climate; we get lots and lots of rain, so I'm figuring ours will need to be redone at least once per year, but we'll see.

      Thanks for visiting, ~Lisa

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  3. Anonymous6/19/2012

    I put newspapers down as soon as my plants start to come up or i transplant. once
    a year is all that is needed. I don't have raised bed so ever fall the straw and
    newspapers get turned under, then i plant turnips and mustard for eating, canning, and as a cover crop, which gets turned under in the spring.

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    1. Thank you for commenting! Once per year is just what I wanted to hear. :)

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  4. Beautiful pictures and I enjoyed the article very much ! : ) Very informative..

    Good luck with the chickens: that should be a bit difficult

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    1. ...a bit difficult -- indeed. Thanks for the kind words! ~Lisa

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  5. Your garden is amazing. It looks like you'll have quite a bounty this season!
    Mrs. Petrie @ casapetrie.com

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    1. So much work still to do, but thank you for the kind words. :) By God's grace we'll enjoy a bountiful harvest and have much to put by! Blessings, ~Lisa

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  6. I have been using the newspaper method for many years now...it creates a barrier, but it also decomposes and adds to the soil...oh, those wonderful earth worms are quite happy with the addition :-)

    m.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Maria! I'm more and more excited about our decision to use the newspaper and straw method after receiving so many encouraging comments today! Praying blessings upon your sweet family, my friend, ~Lisa

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  7. Your flowers are gorgeous and the raised vegetable beds beautiful!

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  8. The garden is looking great. Good luck on Saturday! Man, I love reading your blog. It inspires me to plant a garden. Too bad I'm moving in and out of school a lot so I can't!

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    1. Your gardening days will come to you eventually, Jenn. :) Thanks for the encouragement! ~Lisa

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  9. Good luck with processing the chickens - that will take some fortitude. Your raised beds look very neat and tidy.

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    1. Thanks, Beth, for the encouragement as well as for the kind words. :)

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  10. Your weeding/mulching idea sounds interesting - I look forward to an update on it. I once spent too much money on some black sheeting for a similar purpose and the weeds grew right through it!
    Good luck with the meat processing - I have a lot of respect for anyone that can do it x

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    1. Hoping to share later in the summer that our newspaper/straw method was successful! Thanks for the encouragement about the chickens, by the way. :)

      ~Lisa

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  11. Oh, yes, Lisa- you will love that weed-suppression method as the season progresses. :-) I also use newspaper with compost over it in the flower beds (prettier than straw) which fertilizes as it decomposes as well as suppress the weeds.

    Your garden is looking good. Though, if you're anything like us here in the Willamette, that last three days have been rain, rain, and...more rain. Sigh ;-)

    I'm looking forward to more of your garden happenings (and your chickens!).

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    1. Hi Jami,

      I like your idea of using compost over the newspaper in your flower beds! We have an area that we hoped to convert to a perennial bed this spring (and didn't get to it) and were going to use compost/soil rather than the straw over newspaper; I'm glad to know it's worked for you! This project is now planned to happen this fall during bulb planting season.

      Our chicken story is now up -- hope it doesn't freak people out too much! Thanks for visiting and for your kind words. :) ~Lisa

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  12. We're planning on doing this with our garden this fall and winter. We did it at our last home but we used cardboard boxes and leaves. We'll probably use cardboard and mulch this time.

    I'm excited to hear the chicken update.

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    1. So was the cardboard and leaves successful? We live in Douglas Fir country, so we don't have lots of leaves to use. What will you use for mulch this time? Blessings, ~Lisa

      PS: Chicken post is up...

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  13. What a terrific garden area! Love the idea for blocking weeds. I'm your newest follower (and fellow homeschooler)! I look forward to reading more of your posts and finding great posts and recipes.

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    1. Welcome, Ellen. :) Thanks for the kind words! I'm looking forward to visiting your blog soon, ~Lisa

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  14. I hope you will share more about your deer deterrent as you get it installed.

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    1. A post is in the works, Kristel; hopefully next week! Thanks for visiting, ~Lisa :)

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  15. Anonymous6/27/2012

    I love the newspaper idea and have done it for flower beds. But I've always wondered if the chemicals in newspapers are safe for a vegetable garden because they compost into the soil. I've never found a satisfactory answer. Maybe it varies paper company to paper company?

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    1. A thought to ponder...thanks for bringing it up as I'd not considered the ink. I believe many newspapers use soy ink, but I'll have to research this now!! ~Lisa

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  16. Anonymous6/27/2012

    I have used old boxes broken down and then topped with straw or wood chips. It too decomposes within a year. This year we tried something else...old carpeting backing side up. Not a weed in sight! The water drains through and it doesn't get mushy to walk on. We got it from my brother-in-law who worked for an apartment complex that replaces the carpet often. I have raised beds as well. Before I put them in we dug out the sod and put down cardboard then filled with dirt/compost. It is working well and should keep us in business for a few years I hope.

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    1. To garden weed free, what an accomplishment! I'm wondering how often you might have to replace the carpeting in your garden and wondering, too, after the previous comment about chemicals seeping into the soil from the carpeting. Do you know anything about that? A good way to dispose of old carpeting to keep it out of landfills, to be sure. Thanks for sharing! ~Lisa

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Thanks so much for visiting; your thoughts and questions are always welcome. :)

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