Monday, November 15, 2010

A break from our regular programming...

Needing a break from cleaning at our new house, we decided to walk our property a bit to see what we could see.

First thing we saw was a wonderful little Gray Tree Frog hanging out in our yard. He's gonna love the new homeowners!

Next we checked out our humble little wooded area. Lots of white ash and some red-osier dogwood and a lot of potential (the birds were quite active in this humble little woods).

Jennifer took a bit of time to plant some lavender and.....

.... some peppermint. We plan to have an extensive herb garden near the house for quick access when we are cooking.

Next we decided to dig a hole. We already had a good idea about what to expect for soils since it's a pretty similar landscape to where we are from (but we had to verify). We checked an area at the base of a gentle slope because that is where topsoil tends to be the thickest and, sure enough, we discovered about 15 inches of topsoil! It's medium-textured (silt loam) and relatively high in organic matter. A pretty good start for what will become our huge garden.

It's common to believe that we must always bring-in "good" soil because we are told that we have "clay" here in many areas of the Midwestern till plain. While this is true in some cases, it's more often that a person has not put their garden in the right spot. A bit of investigation can make the difference between a garden that is established on an eroded site where heavy-textured subsoil layers are at the surface and one where medium-textured and fertile soil material has accumulated quite thickly. When in doubt, ask around, if you get answers from people who have not taken the time to dig a hole, keep asking....

Our soil has good structure (aggregation of sand, silt and clay particles into secondary units). Good structure often helps with drainage, allows better root penetration and is an indicator of a site that has not experienced recent heavy tillage/disturbance. All good things for our purposes!

We have a few nice white pines.

Jennifer getting a jump on the compost pile:

A crappy looking shed can sometimes mask something more..

In this case, someone decided that it was a good idea to tack some low-quality materials to a nicely built shed:

Here can be seen the original front and shake roof:

Here's the inside of the original shed. Lots of junk, of course, but a closer look reveals a nicely built structure... contrast to the crappy lean-to structure that someone tacked onto the front:

Soon Jennifer will be walking out of this shed into the sunlight rather than into this crappy lean-to. She will also be happy for having visited with the chickens that will be living in what will be a coop!

Our diversion from cleaning left us rejuvenated and excited about the food-growing possibilities!


  1. Hi Jennifer and Steve...that is super...great garden soil,chicken coop and a lot of winter dreaming and planning for spring potential!!
    Thanks for the outside tour!!

  2. Yay for chickens! And good soil!

    So glad you had some time to take a moment and get outdoors:)

  3. Nice little blog you've got going here and I love the banner shot, too. Very funny title to the latest post, "A Break from...."


We love to hear from our readers! Please share your thoughts.