Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Planting Day!

Tuesday was a big day, a day of soil decompaction and tilling, and seeding of groundcover, a day of Diesel Fuel, Big Knobby Tires, and Steel.  

On Monday I spent quite a while dragging the bedspring around the South and Center plots with the lawnmower, trying to even out the sawdust and compost.  That worked pretty well for smoothing out small-scale unevenness, but not so well for one whole corner being light or heavy, because its like having a rake you can't pick up.  For a change it didn't rain much Sunday or Monday, so most of the standing water from last week's deluge went away.

So Tuesday was it, even though there was still a large puddle in the North plot, I figured we had to go ahead with decompaction and planting, as more rain was forecast.

Here's Pigpen chisel-plowing the West field (south plot.)  

We rented a front-mounted rototiller attachment for the Cat, to fluff up the Forklift Exclusion Zone (FLZ) around the cottage, and the grounds north and east of the cottage, including the former driveway.

That soft spot in the North-west plot was mostly gone after two passes with the chisel plow.

From here you can see most of the scheme.  Let's start on the right side of the cottage there.  The light-colored area right around the cottage can't be tilled because there is a styrofoam ground roof just under the surface, to keep the ground dry and insulating for heat storage.  Later in the day I top-dressed and seeded it.  Moving to the right, the brown banded area out to the little white stake is the 50-foot forklift exclusion zone, which was rototilled after earlier being spread with composted horse manure.  The inner ring, the FLZ, and the grounds north and east were all seeded with a "drivable groundcover mix" of white clover, high-traffic grass seed, and dandelion.  Farther to the right, between the white stake and the grassy berm, are the control plots for the West field experiment (the West field runs across the foreground.)  These West and South field plots were seeded with Wright On Custom Soil Building and Wildlife Forage Mix.  
Wright On Mix:
white clover 21.55%
300st per. Rye 21.23%
alfalfa 14.42%
cr. Red fescue 14.25%
birdsfoot trefoil 10.72%
rape dwf essex 6.30%
purple top turnip 4.76%
alsike clover 3.50%
pasja brassica 2.57%
winfred rapeseed 0.71%

Here's the view of the tilled up driveway, north and east grounds.  
Jolson and Pigpen finished all the tilling in an hour and a half.  I had all my seed ready and spent the rest of the day seeding with Flora's vintage 1909 hand-crank Cyclone seeder.  Just in time too, because the next day it rained like the Dickens again.

Final thought:  I have come to sense a certain irony, or dumbth, in that because so much compaction was caused by heavy equipment, we were forced to use heavy equipment for decompaction, to fight Diesel, Big Knobby Tires, and Steel with same.  In fact, within minutes of decompaction and seeding, the dratted forklift was back out in front of the cottage, six tons of metal positioned so that Montalban could nail up a six pound plank.  I fully expected this to happen, but inside, part of me was screaming, like Charleton Heston in Planet of the Apes, "you maniacs, you compacted it again.  Darn you all to heck."  I muttered something about this to Mr. Universe, who was like, "forklift's gotta drive somewhere."  I think, actually, not.  We use it because we have it, and, if one is concerned only with building construction, it is probably faster than ladders & scaffolding.  But if one is concerned with both buildings and permaculture gardens adjacent to them, it might be that ladders and scaffolding have lower total project cost, than heavy forklifts followed by other heavy equipment to fix the damage caused by them.  Just a thought for future consideration.

1 comment:

Paul said...

You are right about the forklifts. that is worth considering.