I’m still trying to figure out this weekend and what all I got done or could do. Then again, intense sleep depravation doesn’t help recollections all that well. I just hope I got enough done that I can look at in the morning and be satisfied, and come up with a fair-weather plan for the rest of the week.
This weekend felt like those times when you have a bunch on your plate, your feet are sore, your muscles well worked… but you really have no clue what all got done and how useful it was. My feet are still throbbing a bit from walking around in my garden shoes (which are great when going between squishy and drier ground, but I need to put insoles in for cushioning and keep forgetting to). I’m not super tired physically, but I did quite a bit of shoveling to prep my house and garden for more to get done.
I finished building the galvanized steel raised beds Friday morning and set them out in their approximate places. I got the ground cleared enough to be able to work and separated out some wood to put in the bottom of the beds for decomp material (and filler). When I put my electric tree trimmer back together with the new chain and oil, I’ll be chopping up branches to lay down in those areas even more.
Especially in beds that go that high. Sheesh, that would be a lot of soil! More on that later…
My main priority was closing up the holes in the foundation pad around the house. I’ve got roof drainage areas that just eat away at the foundation sand I’d put down in no time flat. I’m going to use a fire pit bowl to protect the area til I have enough grass growing on the topsoil I’ve thrown on top of the area to prevent that from getting worse again. But from what I can see, I hope I don’t have to concern myself with it for a while. I filled in all the holes around the house with sand and packed it in with the edge of my shoe, and will go over it more later. The well-packed areas I already put topsoil over so the grass can grow a lot easier.
I was surprised yesterday when I was shoveling sand behind the air conditioner (I’m gonna put weed barrier mat down and a bunch of heavy rocks so no more weeds occur there later this week). I saw something in the grass, just after noon, hopping around next to the house, moving frantically down the line of the house. I thought it was a frog at first, but this was too fast. Then I noticed it was gray. It was a mouse trying to find a new way in under my house before I could block all the holes. It found one I hadn’t quite gotten to yet and made it inside before I could slam my shovel down on it.
And, like I figured would happen, I found a mouse scurrying between the bird cage and refrigerator that night. I got the last of my sticky traps and put them at each possible exit for that mouse. A flashlight told me that the mouse was still back there, but it wasn’t going anywhere without getting on sticky traps at some point. But, I can’t sleep when I now there’s a mouse running around, so I decided to hurry the process along. I got my can of computer duster and, stuck the straw under the fridge. From left to right, really quickly, I sprayed that cold duster air under the fridge and quickly heard scampering. The mouse emerged on the right side of the fridge, half-stuck to the sticky trap. Well, I nudged it out of it’s spot with a broom handle and killed it like usual. But it also meant that there were likely more, and I’d have to go get more sticky traps this morning.
And I did. Several packs just in case, which aren’t expensive, make clean-up easy, and I have far better luck than with the classic snap traps. Found two snap traps I’d set out last month that hadn’t snapped until I dropped them in the garbage. The mice took what I’d put on there, ate it, and moved on without triggering them. Ugh.
I know I saw one last night before bed, and I set the traps in the areas I thought it would pass by. It was a very restless sleep because I kept imagining I’d hear it. I freaking hate those things.
So, yes, this morning I went to Home Depot for traps, extra mulch, and some raised bed garden soil. I only got four bags because I’m working with the Hugelkultur method, which will save how much soil I’ll actually have to put in these deep beds.
For more on that, Self-Sufficient Me (I love his cheerful Aussie-ness) shows how that works out:
I’ve got beaten up cedar plank remnants of previous beds and logs I have to cut up from those fallen trees I can lay down in the bottom. Then some topsoil and compost (I gotta empty one of my tumblers as it is and start fresh), and gradually mix in the raised garden soil until that’s what’s in most of the top layer.
But first, I have to put some sand and soil around it to fill the gaps (the ground’s pretty squishy and ripped up because of all the rain), and drive a couple of U-posts in the beds. I’m gonna have to measure enough cattle fencing to create an arch and attach that to the posts, INSIDE the bed. My intention is to use the beds for fruit bushes, and the arch for grape vines. I’ve wanted to grow grapes and put fruit bushes in again, because the strawberries and blackberries did okay the first year in the old bed, except the squirrels destroyed ’em all. I hope a much taller bed, all mulched over, and time will help stave off their greedy fingers.
I also got some replacement aloe vera plants and basic herbs to start my kitchen garden. I have plenty of small planters I could put them in, but I want to clean my dining room and it’s getting hard to do that with seed packets and planter bowls everywhere waiting for me to organize. I’m gonna put it all away in the morning and clean everything up. And when I want more herbs, I’ll dig the packet out and plant it. So, that’s where the time saver came in: 8 herbs with some starter soil in small planters.
But that’s where things felt strange, too. I felt I did a lot, but my end results outside don’t look like I got much of anything done. There are so many things with multiple steps. I have to sleep on it and remind myself in the morning what I was able to get done, and what I could get done in optimal weather tomorrow… in between trying to reach people and get some much-needed inspections done and questions answered. I’ll just carry both phones out with me to the yard and get working, because I have too much to do to just sit around and wait for phone calls.
At least the weather looks promising, and I hope I’m learning enough to be able to enjoy the harvest when the time comes. But for now, I’m gonna go enjoy a full-night’s sleep and get my head in gear in the morning. Two nights of interrupted sleep does not a happy geek make (or the dogs that have to deal with me getting up and down, or the birds startled by me–or a mouse–and freaks them out, etc.)
Besides, I’ll be back at war with the squirrels eventually… I just know it. Because they’re always watching and waiting for their moment..
3 thoughts on “My Garden Weekend: saving time & running ragged all at once.”
You did a lot! Look online for the “squirrel anator” or maybe a local feed store may carry them. Traps the squirrels really well, and they cannot get out and then you could deal with them inside the trap. My neighbor has used it and has caught five or more each time he’s put it out. In fact it’s worked so well I rarely see a squirrel anymore. Love the mice/rat glue traps. I unfortunately catch other things in my glue traps. I seem to catch lizards and I’ve even caught a squirrel or two which could not get away.
I only use glue traps in the corners of my laundry room and a couple places in my kitchen my dogs can’t get to. I came to rely on them instead of the snap traps because it’s so sticky the mice rarely get away and I don’t have to worry about my dogs trying to get to the nummy peanut butter or cheese I’d have to leave on a snap trap. My dogs LOVE peanut butter, so I have limited places I can put those things.
I don’t generally mind squirrels–they give my dogs something to look forward to and chase, and they’re interesting creatures. I just don’t want them tearing up my garden. But they don’t seem to like nuggets of mulch everywhere on their paws, so I’m hoping that’ll be a great start.
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Isn’t it nice to be able to work outside?
I weeded and pine-needle-mulched two beds this morning, so… Mission accomplished for today.
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