Saturday, October 12, 2013
Correcting a Raised Bed Mistake
My primary plan for the beginning of the weekend was to finish putting the skin around the cistern pump frame. However as there was a front moving through with some fairly gusty winds this presented a problem as the sheet of plywood I have to finish up the pump project is still in it's 8'x4' stage. At that size I have to cut it outside of the shop and the wind was making that rather difficult so I moved on to some other little projects. The pump can wait.
First off I had to get the syrup feeders refilled in the hives and since they are forecasting rain this weekend it needed to be done quickly.
Whenever I get into the hives around the garden I first must find my manager and assistant manager and usher them inside of either the house or the work shop. The work shop is easier because if they see me open the door they immediately run in there and climb up to the top shelves and go to sleep but today they didn't, so I had to round them up and carry them inside. They were a bit miffed about being carried.
We had a small incident of the assistant manager attempting to micromanage my bee hive inspection a short while back and she jumped up and into the hive while I had the top off. Luckily it was a hive I was feeding so she landed inside the feed box and not on the frames so she only got stung once or twice but she still hasn't learned her lesson and both of my managers will come over when I am working the hives.
The dog that acts like the stupid one is the only one smart enough to stay away now when he sees me put on my suit. The cats just won't learn.
So after getting the managerial felines inside I got all the hives fed and decided to tackle the strawberry bed that had been ruined and killed off by the moles. I checked to see if they wanted back out but only the assistant manager was so inclined.
I ask myself why my slave driving managers cannot take care of this mole problem themselves but when I looked around to pose the question this was all I saw.
She told me to get back to work.
I tilled up the raised bed with my little mini-tiller and then since I didn't want to throw the dirt out unto the covered path I ended up using my wheelbarrow and digging the bed up in three sections. I dug down to below the six inch sides and laid down some chicken wire attaching it securely to the underside of the boards. This won't protect the entire root system of course but I hope it protects enough to keep the moles from tunneling through and killing off all the strawberries like they have now two years in a row.
I managed to save a couple of the plants that survived this latest attack but I wasn't all that gentle so they may not make it through Winter. No matter as I have a new bed that is totally filled in and producing already.
This particular bed is about five years old now anyway and I have noticed that even with constant new shoots and fertilizing a bed starts to decline after a few years for some reason. So no great loss as I will replant it next Spring. I also added a load of compost and some barn manure as well so it should build back up nicely next year.
Now I have one (out of five) of the old beds fixed to stop mole damage.
I wish I had known about or thought about the chicken wire barrier before I put them in initially. I figured that eventually I would need to dig out each bed anyway so I am retrofitting them as I do.
The assistant manager then told me I needed to take a break and pet her since they were already nice and comfortable.
I swear I travel all around this place with a constant entourage of wayward animals every where I go.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!