Hay!

An old classmate of mine, one that I really haven't seen since I graduated many years ago, a person who happens to be a Facebook friend, Facebook'd me over the weekend.  This old classmate just happened to live on an acreage. An acreage with a big beautiful barn. A big beautiful barn that had a loft. A loft that was half full of loose, 10+ year old hay.  Hay that he was going to burn {cringe} because he didn't want it. Hay that he thought I might be able to use as mulch in my garden. 

I think the man upstairs was looking after me again.  I was just about to purchase the much needed hay for my garden.  I had the number and phone in my hand and right at that moment, a person who I really haven't spoken much to at all in the past 17 years thought of me. Seriously, how incredible is that.  How thoughtful of this classmate. How grateful I am. 

Of course I didn't pass it up.  My wonderful husband put the trailer on the truck and we headed out to the country.  I climbed into the loft to find it about half full and 2+ feet deep.  After about an hour of pushing it out of the loft door we had a complete load and over to the farm we went to dump half of the load.

I have never used black weed barrier before so I wasn't prepared as to how warm the soil below would become.  Common sense I suppose but obviously I was not with much common sense that day of laying the barrier down.  The majority of the hay was placed around existing plants and then spread randomly on the barrier.  Once I transfer more plants to this site, the hay will take on a more uniform appearance. 


This poor guy showed me right away what the heat the barrier cause was doing.  Some of the leaves were scorched. 


This is the first plant that I transferred out to the farm.  It pouted so much it lost most of it's leaves but shows determination that it will not let the move get it down.


Moving, old, dusty hay is a dirty job, but someone has to do it.  We were so covered with so much dust and grime by the time we got home that there was a ring around the bath tub.  Oh but it was worth it.  Thank you again my classmate.  You have completely made our garden year.  For some reason, I believe that this will be one of the most weed free garden seasons I have ever had.

The Farm day 2

Yesterday, I visited the farm to finally get my plants in the ground.  At least most of them.  I had Cantaloupe, Cucumbers, yellow squash, watermelon and several mystery squash plants.  I also decided to take what I some of the 105 volunteer tomato plants and move them to the farm. 

I spent about 3 hours there cutting the tarp, digging the holes and hand watering the plants. I was alone out there.  It was a beautiful, quiet, sun shiny day.  I only had the company of some birds chirping and the distant sound of tractors in the field.  It was incredibly peaceful.  It was one of those days that I couldn't help and just sit and look at the simple beauty that surrounded me. 

Look at those colors! Bright blue sky the beautiful green fields.


What a beautiful day it was to be gardening!


This bird along with others were singing to me.


So after I sat and enjoyed my surroundings I finished planting my plants.  To the front of the picture are my cucumbers and cantaloupe.  The hubs is going to build me a trellis out of left over wood for them to climb on.

Here are my volunteer squash, watermelon and yellow squash.  If you click on the picture, you will be able to tell which ones came from my green house and which ones I transplanted from my garden.  Squash likes to pout when they don't get their way.  I am hoping they get over their disapproval and liven up again.  With 3 days of rain in the forecast, I don't think they will have a choice. 

 This is the start of my tomato plant transfer.  I believe most of them are indeterminate so supporting these may be an issue.  The hubs said he will build something to support them.  Got to love the hubs. 

The first visit to the farm

Finally! Between bad weather, traveling, and just flat out not enough time, the hubs and I made it out to the farm to prepare our plot.  Despite my farmer friend discing it with his tractor in March, the plot was covered with weeds due to our late arrival. 

I have the plants ready for this area in my greenhouse and some that have been living happily in my garden area.  They just need to be moved.

Let me say that my husband in awesome.  He is such a tremendous support to me and my gardening craziness.  Knowing that we would have a weed issue, he took a large riding lawnmower out to the farm and mowed everything down to make tilling easy.  This is what it looked like when I arrived. 


It almost resembles a yard if it wasn't for all of the green stuff being weeds.

This is what it looked like prior to my husband mowing it.

Here is the hubs tilling for me.  Beyond him, do you see how incredible the fields look?  In Iowa, we are having a great farming season.  The ag reports say that we have over 90% of our fields planted and growing which is at top of the rest of the US. 


This is what my plot looked like after we were done.  I sprung for weed barrier this year.  I found it on sale and after weighing out the my options, decided to purchase.  The farm has mutant weeds, layers of newspaper and hay/straw/grass clippings are absolutely no match for the weeds at this place.  Last year, I could have weeded the plot 2 times a day and still would not be able to keep up.  I figured the cost of this protector would be replaced by a better crop than I had last year.  I also decided to use the cardboard box the barrier came in as barrier.  The open area will be home to my potatoes.  I am chancing planting them this late.  Early potatoes are always good.

This is the first plant I planted at the farm.  It is a mystery squash and the poor guy is so unhappy that I moved him.  I hope he comes back and that I didn't off him. 


Before we left the farm for the evening, the sun was saying goodnight behind the clouds.

The Greenhouse

I love my new greenhouse and I put it to good use this year starting seeds and housing my delicate seedlings from the persistent late spring frost.  Although it isn't complete, it is still usable and somewhat organized.  The Hubs still needs to put up the trim and we need to have an electrician out for grow lights and for the circulation fan.

So here you go, the somewhat complete greenhouse.

The shelf hanging on the wall was used in my in-laws craft store when my husband was preschool age.  It hung in their house for some time and then off to a shed before I snatched it up for use in my greenhouse.  The shelving system was a solid wood entertainment system that was donated to use for our fundraiser garage sale.  Obviously it didn't sell so I repurposed it for my greenhouse.  The shelves slide out which makes it perfect to reach the pots I stuffed in the back.  All of the terra cotta pots were my husbands late Great Aunt Leona's.  From what I understand, she was an avid gardener.  I wish I had the chance to meet her. 

Eventually the hubs will build me a potting table.  You can see the hole in the wall where my fan now sits.

Old pots from Great Aunt Leona.  You can kind of see my garden spot beyond the greenhouse walls.


I believe this shelf was made by my mom when I was little.  It is perfect to hold random items. 


This is the entrance to my greenhouse.  The door to the left will be repurposed by my friend at the farm.  If you turn to the right, you will walk right into my garden.

New Garden Layout

With the addition of my greenhouse I had to modify the layout of my garden. I needed to create a path from my greenhouse into the garden for easy access.  This required that I move my onion, strawberry and pole bean area.  During Memorial Day weekend we were able to get this accomplished. 

You will have to click on the image to enlarge it.  Over the path coming from my greenhouse is an arbor that my husband built for me out of reclaimed decking wood and left over wood from other projects.  The two brown round areas are the posts that I will have plants climbing on.  The post furthest to the right will have cucumbers and the post on the left will be pole beans. 

I have a couple areas open that will allow me to chose a couple more varieties of plants to add to my garden. Any suggestions? This is also just my home garden. I haven't even stepped foot out at the farm yet. However the farm plants are doing quite well in my greenhouse and are waiting for their new home. Regardless, I think this is a good start. I will post pictures of the work that we accomplished over memorial day weekend.