Baymule’s 2020 Garden

baymule

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Happy New Year! 2019 was a flat out, pure-dee garden bust. Drought, heat, failure. Ring out the old, bring in the New Year! Go 2020!!

It has begun!

We spent the last couple of days cleaning out the sheep barn. I practice deep litter, bedding with pine shavings, pine straw, leaves and hay. We clean it out once or twice a year. There is no smell, the barn is open on 3 sides, plenty of air flow.

First we raked up all the loose hay on top, got two mule loads, piled high and spread it in the newly cleared ground in the horse pasture. DH used the tractor to push the wood mulch into a couple of swales. I used a garden rake and we picked the larger pieces. The swales will help keep the rain water from running off and let it soak in.

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Then we raked up the used Sheep hay.

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We spread the hay over the bare dirt to add humus to the soil, trap rain and provide shade to the grass roots when we plant grass seed in early spring.

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Easy part was over, we went back to the Sheep barn and dug in. The first part was not under the barn, open to rain, it was HARD packed, damp and heavy. We scraped up a mule load, parked the mule in the garden and quit for the day.

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Next day we shoveled the manure out on the garden and went back for more. We dug out 6 more mule loads of manure. I could see the layers of decomposed pine shavings, leaves, hay, pine straw and more hay.

The top layers were dry, loose, no smell and was kept turned by chickens. The lower layers were hard packed, had to be pried up by lots of muscle screaming hard work and no stinky smell, just a compost, earthy smell.

We shoveled it out in the garden.

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The 32’ tomato double row trellis.

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The short 16’ tomato double row trellis.

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A section of the garden. The load still on the mule will almost cover the rest of this part. We will finish digging out the main part of the barn today. At the end of day 2 of the Great Barn Clean Out, we were exhausted! After showers, we were practically comatose. LOL

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We took the day off yesterday. It is sunny, high of 70F degrees today. Back in the garden today!
 
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baymule

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What would a post about sheep manure/compost be without a picture of Sheep? Without realizing it, I captured a 3 generation picture. Right to left is Ewenique, her daughter Domino, and her grand daughter Checkers, born 2 weeks before Christmas.

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Here’s hoping hard work pays off with a bountiful garden.
 

baymule

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Back to work today! We spread the load on the mule that we were too tired to unload on Friday. Then we dug out 3 more loads and spread them on the garden. That’s a total of 10 loads of composted sheep manure.

We are pooped out on scooping poop!

We finished the section of the garden.
This is where we are going to put down weed cloth to see if we like it.

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On our day off yesterday we scored a load of pumpkin boxes. They are triple thickness. We’ve been getting them for several years.

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This section of the garden is where we will lay out the boxes. We’ve been putting down pumpkin boxes here for 3 years.

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baymule

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building your dyke to let the rain soak in, vs running off reminded me of this article.

That is the idea. There is a gully that starts on the north fence, just a slight depression, that widens, gets deeper and then steeper as it exits the property on the south side. When we get a lot rain, it runs like a small creek. Seeps (not a spring, the water seeps up from the ground) will make it run. The rest of the time, it is dry. The land slopes toward the gulley on both sides of it. so the swales are to slow down the water, giving it a chance to soak in. We are using the wood chips from having the land forestry mulched to make the swales. Pushing them up with the tractor and using the rake results in the chips being mixed with fallen leaves and some dirt. We have to move the wood mulch to expose the soil so that when we sow grass seed in the spring, the seed can make soil contact.

That is a good article. On BYH, there is a member from Australia that has used swales and improved his land greatly. He was ready to run for his life a few days ago from the fires, but posted yesterday that the winds had turned the fire away.
 

baymule

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Today we let the ewes and lambs out in the yard to graze while we raked leaves. We put 10 mule loads in the barn, in some places it is 3’ deep. It won’t take them long to stomp them down. Now the sheep can go back to makig compost for the garden. We quit at 1:00 for lunch. BJ went to sleep in his recliner. LOL

That little shelter was my first effort at building a shelter for the first 4 sheep we had. Now they have this nice roof, 24'x20', but they still like their little shelter. Every time I clean it out, I am banging my head on it and swearing to tear it down. But they like it, so until I am ready to build walls, they get to keep it. LOL

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