So last week my dad came out and moved the rain barrel to the back of the house to comply with the city ordinance we were written up for. It was kind of sad because we had just gotten a great rain and the barrel was completely full…which means we had to dump it all.
Sad face…but I guess it was necessary. Avery had a good time in the flow.
Once it was drained my dad somehow got it over the fence and onto a stack of pallets all by himself…this pregger can’t lift those big things. He’s good at rigging things.
He got some more pipe and got it all hooked up. Which was awesome. My dad is pretty cool.
Fast forward to Wednesday….we got written up again. Apparently we have to screen it from any neighbor that can see our back yard. Our yard is tiny, five neighbors can see in our yard and at least two of them are elevated enough by the hill we live on to see over a privacy fence if we decided to take that route. So instead, we’re going to have to cube in the water tank behind some sort of screening. We’re thinking either a tight weave lattice or privacy fencing. Just build a little box around it. Seems pointless and reading the ordinance it is very vague and up for interpretation but they said we have the biggest rain barrel in Overland Park so I guess that warrants the attention.
In better garden news, I’ve started changing things slowly for fall preparation. My cilantro seeds finally dried up so I pulled the plants as well as the green bean plants since they’re done now too. I have plans for the space the cilantro was planted so I used the seeds where the green beans were. First though, I added compost to both spots and gave them a good turn.
Eventually this whole bed will be planted with a crop but I’m not ready to move the herbs/greens that fill the rest of it just yet. I planted the cilantro heavily in this bed so I’ll have a carpet when it comes up!
I had to adjust this bed because the trash bins that were moved from where the rain barrel now sits are taking up the space on the left of the a/c unit. I’m fine with that though now that I won’t be using the spigot (which comes out of the house near the unit) as much.
I got my fall seeds and will be planting throughout the garden next month as I pull summer crops. I’m going to be spending a lot of time on fall planting because my soil is not in optimum shape. My seeds are a combination of soil fixers, soil builders and then actual food crops (because I’m still a little selfish).
Soil builders are crops that you plant in the soil, allow to rot over the winter and turn over before spring planting. An example of what I’ll be planting for soil builders are Diakon Radishes and Seed Turnips. They draw up nutrients from deep in the soil with their long roots and hold those nutrients within the enlarged root. When they rot it creates pockets of nutrients and breaks up compacted soil, adding organic matter. These are important for my garden because I do have compacted soil (because my garden was sod last year) and also because I have higher clay percentage than I’d like and adding organic matter can adjust that ratio.
Soil fixers are crops that change the chemical balance of the soil to be more beneficial for fruiting plants. For example, tomatoes love to use nitrogen while they develop their fruit, because of this the soil becomes depleted of nitrogen and planting a cover crop that enhances nitrogen will help the soil be productive again (although planting tomatoes or any crop in the same place two years in a row is never a good idea, cover crop or no). The nitrogen fixers I’ll be planting in the tomato patches are fava beans.
Speaking of cover crops, aside from the benefits of doing soil builders and nitrogen fixers, having crops cover your beds over the winter can be a bonus all on its own. The beds won’t be exposed to the elements in the same way if they have plants growing or established in them over the winter, preventing erosion, depletion and providing productive nutrient additions. Some cover crops outside of the ones I’ve mentioned are red clover, arugula, or buckwheat. They can be turned under at the end of winter and the bed will be ready for spring plantings. Having a cover crop can also interrupt pest cycles which will prevent out breaks of the same bugs in the same places each year.
I’m learning these things as I grow into a better gardener but I’m excited to see how my soil is affected by cover crops and I hope my baby garden will mature into a beautiful producer with rich, nutrient, soil.