The tarp ground cover mentioned a couple years ago didn't work the way I wanted, but did an experiment last spring with another tarp and got some interesting results. We have an extremely noxious weed around here called Dock. Nothing touches it, chemically. Have tried roundup, 2-4 D, a small propane flamethrower weed killer, and high acid vinegar. Could not kill it with any of those things!
I did discover that the smaller, tender leaves do make a good salad with that vinegar, though! Just a touch of oil would have been nice... But I cannot eat salad fast enough to make a dent in this patch! The area seemed to be bigger last year....around 50' wide by about 90' long!
So last spring, I went to the farm store and bought the cheapest black tarp I could find - 20' x 30'. Staked it out over the most dense area of dock. Then covered it with a very thick layer of hay! About a foot of it!! And let it set for the last 8 months or so. Well, guess what? That actually killed it - we have started toward spring for the last few weeks and I uncovered this about 3 weeks ago! Bare dirt! NO plants whatsoever! And the roots all appeared to have rotted in place! Now all I need are some more tarps!! May have to start a Patreon page to get rid of the dock!
Covered the plot with some hay for mulch and later this spring, will be planting some roses in this area! Hurray for plastic!! (One cannot imagine how much it pains me to say that about plastic...! Not a fan.)
Dennis, I see you haven't been here in a while - hope everything is ok with you! I put a note about that strange tool you posted about last year. Check it out if you get a chance.
ol trunt wrote:Interesting up-date. Thanks. I usually check this forum a couple of tines a day but missed this one when it was fresh. We'd Taken the 4x4 Tahoe to Anza Borrego state park to check out the Ca. wild flowers and a great show it was! Jack
I check in pretty much every day. It has been a lonely place of late....
Wildflowers and trees are going crazy here right now! Redbuds, Dogwoods, Bradford Pears - all in hyper drive. Then we got a hard freeze last night! Fingers crossed, but so far as of late afternoon, I don't see much damage. We had a lot of rain the last couple days and the ground temp has been warming up fast with the 70 degree days we have been getting.
Can't believe we haven't had more tornadoes yet. Not that I am complaining - I am still 'digesting' the last one....
Feb 10, 2011 Nowata, OK (little town about 12 mi north of our place) set the state record low of -31 deg F. We only got to about -20 deg F that night. Then one week later on the 17th we got the record high for the month of Feb of 80 deg F. 111 deg F swing in 7 days.
On 1 Feb, 2011 we got our record one day snow of 13.5". 9 Feb 2011 got another 5" snow for another record for that day. Snow was all gone on the 17th...
I'm not complaining about today's weather. Very much...
This is pretty much why the USgovernment forced all the southern Native Americans to come here in the 1800's. Nobody wanted this kind of place. Well, until they found those massive oil fields...then everyone wanted it.!!
We eat breakfast occasionally at McDonalds near us - get it to go then site behind the buildings of the little shopping center it is in. Big field with some decent bird watching opportunities. A few days ago, somebody had cut down a curly Willow tree and dumped it in the back parking lot. Looked like that previous night since the branches were very fresh. My wife is a Master Gardener and excellent floral designer and immediately recognized the potential, so we had to go home to get the truck to do some serious dumpster diving!! Came back and got a LOT of branches and trunk pieces. Some are already showing up in designs!
If one goes by the price they sell curly Willow branches for at Hobby Lobby and Michael's (about $20 for 3 small branches), we have about $3,000 worth of floral supplies right now.
I got a wild hair to try to see if I could sprout some of these to try to grow out as trees for a marshy spot at the farm. An assortment of branches about 1/4" to 1/2" diameter are sitting in the kitchen and have leaves and roots starting to appear! Biggest surprise - huge shock, actually - was the 4" diameter trunk pieces I put in a bucket outdoors with some water just to see... 3 out of 3 have leaves and roots growing now. I am astounded.!
Since these are only about 2 feet long, I don't really want to grow them out as trees. But I HAVE wanted to try Bonzai for a long time. I now have 3 "instant" Bonzai trees that are about 12 years old.!! I counted the rings... If they survive. I never woulda believed it if I hadn't seen it.
This year was a gawd awful mess. Weather was all over the place and with other family things requiring attention, we didn't get tomatoes planted until mid-July, just as the rains stopped and the heat began! Had about 125 plants this year and normally would have expected maybe 1,000 lbs or more, but we only got about 100 lbs. We still have a couple of plants going now and they are working overtime to catch up. May get more before freeze. Was able to can a couple dozen jars of tomato products.
Curly willows are doing well. We have 4 decent trees out of that pile of debris. Going to start some more next spring.
Finished planting about 225 strawberry plants this afternoon, the culmination of 3 days work for a couple hours each day. Other daily activities used the rest of the time each day. Now there are just 500 tulips and daffodils to plant in a couple weeks when it gets a little cooler.
We have two old abandoned natural gas wells on the place and one just happens to be at the end of the garden we are trying to grow in. There was a large "kill" of plants in that area earlier this year so started looking closer - this was a new event. Seems to be a lot of chlorides (salt from wells) in the soil, so are planting sunflowers and amaranth to try to bind up some of that and add organic matter. Planted about 1,800 feet of row in sunflowers and iron clay cowpeas a month ago and those suckers are growing like crazy! They will die soon from a frost, but they are very cute right now! The seed was black oil sunflower from a bag of bird food we use to feed the birds over winter. Will plant some more in spring to get flowers!
Fruit trees are next to be planted! Assortment of apple, peach, cherry, and two pawpaws!
Also planted 75 Saffron crocus about a week and a half ago. They flower in late fall, and have already picked two blooms to dry and get the spice from. Couple dozen more are almost out - 3 or 4 more days. Only need a couple hundred thousand more just like that to sell and we could stop for the year!
Farming last year was just like 2020 - gawd awful catastrophic! Pretty much complete crop failures all around except a couple of small items (above) and tomatoes. They did fairly well given the huge infestation of blister beetles! Feeling like a wetter version of the dust bowl around here. Not too much wetter, we are still in severe drought across a lot of the state.
Started this out as Hay Unroller update. I managed to unroll maybe 20 bales and it was such a big PITA that I stopped. Tried some other methods, including a chainsaw to cut up bales. Yeah, it does catch on fire. But fairly easy to put out! Am looking at other methods but for now have found backing the brush hog over them is about as good as anything. What I need is a bale chopper...just gotta find $30,000 to get one!
Usually it is 2 steps forward and 3 steps back in recent years, but this one actually counts as 2 step forward and only 1 step back! So that is a win!
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