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June 12, 2014: Gardening: The Upper Quadrant

A few days ago I said that I decided to work a few hours a day, in the “sectors” or various garden sites. In the next few days I’m going to go into greater detail as to what I’m doing in each area. As I said before, best to focus my work to a specific section, otherwise I’ll get overwhelmed and give up.

Late this afternoon, after a good long ride on the Bench and Grizzly Camp Trails, I decided to work in what I call the Upper Quadrant. This area, which is right outside the backdoor, is fenced in, giving one the sense that it’s an actual yard. In some places, it would be considered such, but actually, our yard is

far more encompassing. This then, is just a small part of the bigger picture.

I consider this quadrant to be a micro farm since it is ecologically self-sustaining. The area contains a shed, which houses Rover and Ranger, our two goats, and Freebird and Chickaroo, our two chickens. Behind the shed and to the side of it is additional fenced in space – the goat and chickens hang out here. And to the side of the shed is a covered chicken coop.

I clean the goat and chicken shed and outside environs once every two days. And I clean the chicken coop two times a year. I put the goat and chicken manure and bedding in a compost station, which is to the right of the house. I also add house scraps to it, and sometimes wood ash. And the chickens also get house scraps.

Our kitchen garden contains greens, a huge rhubarb plant, and a small flower bed. This past week we made a chamomile bed; I planted marigolds that we started on the front and sides.

Today I first cleaned the goat pen and turned the compost into a second station, adding today’s waste. I then let Chickaroo and Freebird out of their coop. Chickaroo is a most amazing bird – she kept me company as I worked, and then she went and got Freebird, who joined us. Freebird was given to us with the thought that she’d be the most social – and it was thought that Chickaroo would keep her company. The opposite has occurred.

I put the goats outside the fenced in area so that they might graze in the yard. They hung out in the brush behind the compost station as I worked. I turned the pile, which was relatively dry and added water that I’d collected in a muck bucket. It sits directly under the gutter outside the gate, so it fills up quickly when, like yesterday, it rains.

The most amazing thing about the compost was the fact that it contained lots of red wiggler worms. These were worms that I’d overwintered in the kitchen addition. They’re now at the top of the heap; hopefully they’ll work their way down into the pile and reproduce like crazy.

I weeded after turning the compost. I am being really careful, and right now only weeding around the plants that I can identify. Several things have yet to come up, so right now weeding in this, the upper garden, doesn’t take much time.

Then there was the grande finale. I pulled some chickweed, which I gave to Raudi and Hrimmi. I put a halter on Tinni, walked him up to the house, and then hand grazed him in the quadrant for approximately thirty minutes. He mainly went for the dandelion greens, which I otherwise would have had to pull.

Pete had watered the delphiniums and the hanging baskets, so I didn’t have to do this.

Done, I patted myself on the back for a job well done. Then I started thinking about the next project. Tomorrow, if it doesn’t rain, I will work in the hoop house area, perhaps weeding the strawberry area. If it does rain, I’ll work directly in the hoop house. Right now, at this point in time, I feel like the gardening project is well under control.

Next: 162. 6/13/14: Gardening: Relocating Worms