The land in Canton is a hayfield, and has been for some time. So to go from sod to garlic bed we decided to double-dig. Which means you dig, well, twice. First you shovel off a layer of the sod--about 6 inches deep. Then, underneath where you just sliced that off, you dig into the sub-soil another foot or so. The layer of sod gets flipped upside down into the trench, and then buried with more soil, as you move down the line. Two people got 150 square feet of garlic bed dug in about three hours. In light rain.
What's in a Seed
Seeds want to grow. It is what they do. Winter's settled well onto Maine now, ponds starting to ice over, snow on the ground. So it's a good time to plant some seeds, and remember about wanting to grow.
Usually, gardeners start asparagus from 'crowns.' These are root systems from one-year old plants. If you start from seed, it will take two years to get any asparagus from the plants. So starting from crowns saves a year of tending plants that are producing no food. But we won't even be transplanting ourselves, from Maine to our land in Canton, North Carolina, for several more months. Here we are, watching temperatures drop and wild turkeys forage. There's our land, sun passing overhead, daily. We have time to fill, time to bridge, from now until then. Getting plants onto our land makes a good bridge.
Seeds want to grow. We want a bridge. Let's get together and feel alright. When we drive to Canton again next March, we'll pack in over 1000 asparagus seedlings. We'll leave them behind settled in Carolina clay, and they can record the sun's northward progress into midsummer, when they'll welcome us home for good.
Landing on Land
You learn things when you look for land. We looked for over two years. One of the things we learned was that we wanted a clean slate. The fewer structures, the better. The is one reason we settled on this hayfield south of Canton, NC.
For Thanksgiving we traveled down to North Carolina to spend time with family and work on the land. Our 8.5 acres includes the foundation of a barn that burned down. This is Ed amidst the overgrowth, implements of liberation ready to hand. Those weeds never had a chance.
A few hours later a foundation emerged, as the sun began to slip away. Takes a little cleaning to get to that clean slate. The barn that used to sit on this foundation looked pretty nice, from the aerial photo's. A central section, long and high, and two shed wings, on each long side. You can sort of see it, looking along the foundation walls the way pool players look down their cue sticks.
It will support another barn. We plan to build it in March 2011.
Reports from the fields.