Make a Soil/Rock Sifter for New Garden Beds

My friend Adam made a sifter to sift out rocks from soil when creating new garden beds. It is a simple contraption made with stuff I had lying around. He found a pallet and cut it in half. Then he screwed 2 layers of chicken wire onto the pallet. He used two 2×4 as portable legs to lean it up on an angle. Then you just put a shovelful of your rocky soil on it and the dirt falls through while the rocks roll off. The soil is light and fluffy and ready to add compost or horse manure to it. When I later looked up how much one is you can buy online, they were $250! Here is Caleb using it on a new garden bed.

New vegetable garden section update

Here is a picture of the new vegetable garden section this morning after a dusting of snow. It is now fenced completely except for the 2 gates, one of which was created today but still needs to be hung. All the raised beds are done.

My friend Adam, has been helping me and boy what a help he is! Quite the worker bee! He came out the other day and finished creating the beds except for one area that has a giant rock in it.  I swear  this rock keeps the whole neighborhood from sinking! So we let it remain (like we could dig it out-ha!) and will make an area with a bird bath and flowers to show it off.

The new garden has gone through an amazing transformation since I cleared the land last fall. I still have to put the horse manure in the new beds. It’s been a lot of work but is coming along nicely and should be ready by tomato planting time.

So many things to do for the vegetable garden in March!

Time to Get Busy!!

March is an incredibly busy month for gardeners. So many things to do (or should do) that it makes my head swim. New garden sections to make, ordering my final seeds, starting seeds inside, starting seeds outside, transplanting seedlings, amending the beds-the list goes on and on and I love it! Soon my hands will be brown again from digging in the dirt. No wonder I liked to play in the dirt when I was a little kid!

Next I will complete the new beds, finish the area around the new garden, make two gates for the new garden section to keep the rabbits out. Then I will put horse manure as a soil amendment on all the beds both new and old. My trailer was so full, my Forerunner could barely pull it. I bet I have about 2000 lbs of poop in it!  The stuff I got is still a little hot (oh really? the manure was a little steamy when it was loaded!) but will cool down over the next 2 months before I plant tomatoes. I’ll use my really aged (6 months or more) horse manure, aged chicken manure and compost for the potatoes and fava beans that will go in the old section later this month. The vegetables I plant in May will get this newer ‘aged’ manure as it will have time to decompose and cool down.

I’ve decided to put the greenhouse on the back burner until the garden is in and then have it ready for fall which makes more sense anyways as it will be hot in June.

Rocks, Rocks, Rocks..

 I live on a rock. No, not in a rock but on a rock!

Creating the new garden area out here is tough. There are tons (literally) of rocks on the property. I’ve known this for some time from all my other outdoor projects. I guess I forgot.  And I’m not getting any younger either (I keep saying that a lot lately). I swear these 2 projects will be my last ground breaking ones. (Remind me of that next year).

Project number one is the greenhouse which is on hold for a few days now that I bonked my nose and we are in February.

Project number two is what I want to talk about today. The new vegetable garden addition. Why am I putting in MORE garden you say? Isn’t 2000 sq ft enough? Apparently not. The truth is I need to put my tomato plants on a 3 year rotation to help prevent diseases and I’ve used up the whole garden the last two years. So I’m adding 890 sq ft more. That will handle the third year (this year) in the rotation.

First I cleared the land last October with that Bobcat I rented. Thank god I had a Bobcat. Here is a picture of it then AFTER I scraped the ground of cactus and rocks.  Look at all the lovely raw ground! LOL!  The green t-post in the right side of the picture is…

the same t-post in the right side of this picture. Now it is starting to come along a little. I rototilled it in November to loosen up the soil  (if possible) and kick out many rocks. I think I’ll make an Andy Goldsworthy style of rock sculpture from all the rocks I will have taken out when I’m done. Today I put part of some fencing up after I raked up a ton of dirt and dragged it into what will be the garden area. I had to quit because it got sooo cold. I thought it was suppose to be 53°F today. Liars! It was 27°F at 4:45 pm. Notice all the rocks on the outside of the fence! Now I know how the pioneers must have felt breaking ground… I’ll have to update you with more pictures later when I can get out and do more work on it.