Resilience Gardening: Water and Animals

The last couple of days I’ve been in the garden. Mostly I’ve been cleaning up. I do most of my Fall cleanup in Spring, so that the fallen leaves can replenish and blanket the soil during Winter.  Soon I’ll put the leaf shredder to the humongous leaf piles.  That shredded stuff is great for the compost bins.

Speaking of which, I also dug out an entire bin (4x4x4′) of wonderful compost, which I spread around the garden. I also dug out a compost pile more or less the same size, which unfortunately has many weed seeds in it (going by how “green” it was last year!). That stuff I put on the more depleted beds, adding a thick layer of rotted cardboard on top and then a layer of straw as mulch. I’ll transplant into these beds straight through the straw and cardboard. I moved the slimy, anaerobic  Winter “compost” out of the Earth machines into the open bins – no unwanted critter will touch that stuff – turning it and mixing it with shredded leaves. The compost situation is looking good, though not optimal. I need more, and I’ve a couple of plans on the drawing board to make that happen…

All the plants that are in the ground – garlic, perennials, herbs, berry bushes, cherry, fig and paw paw trees received a good dose of compost: I pull away the straw, spread the goodies, then tuck the straw back around. Leaving the compost uncovered would be a waste, because the sun destroys the nutrients, and the worms won’t come up into it because they’ll dry out if it’s sunny or windy, or get pelted if it’s rainy.

Mainly, as I potter around the garden, I plan. If you recall, my garden can be divided in parts: 1. veg garden (all veg), 2. front (on top of hill, mostly herbs at the moment), 3. slope (strawberries), 4. the “pit” (this was and is still the plan), 5. the backyard, 6. the “utilitarian area” (“the area” for short). The idea over the Winter was to weed the pit and re-terrace the slope, remediate the soil with lots of compost and sheet mulch, then plant perennials  into it.  We also planned to re-terrace the front and to add two huge vegetable/herb/perennial beds and dwarf fruit trees. I’ve slowly backed away from that plan, and it has to do with the weather and animals.

“Heat Dome” on 8 a.m. March 22 (c) Wright Weather-top, University of Washington

We’re going through a “heat wave” here, not just some seriously messed up weather, but seriously messed up climate.

Everyone’s happy, of course.  So happy. They love this heat wave. My neighbors comment that I too must be happy as a clam, because they know I love gardening and see me out there, getting lots done.

In reality I am thoroughly shaken and freaked out, thinking what if we have this heat wave in Summer? 

So I decided we should consolidate what we have first:

  1. improve the compost situation, seriously improve on our soil building.
  2. optimize the hoop house.
  3. enrich the vegetable beds and get the food production up to snuff.
  4. strengthen the perennials, the medicinals and berries especially.
  5. put irrigation in, because I don’t want to kill myself lugging water buckets in the heat.
  6. and, IMPORTANT, adding two 275 gallon toters to our rain water catchment system, bringing our rain water capacity up to 900 gallons.

Also, strengthen the animal side of our operation:

  1. I ordered two more packages (colonies) of bees (pickup on April 16).
  2. I’m all set to order chicks (pickup on April 17).
  3. I’m also going to start breeding worms for real in the paths in my vegetable  garden.
Stay tuned!




Join the Conversation


  1. I don’t know if your chicks are just for eggs, or if you’ll raise meat birds as well. If you’re interested in raising some of your own meat, though, I’d recommend adding rabbits to your plan. Not only do they provide quite a bit of meat pretty quickly, but the manure! Oh, the rhapsodies over rabbit manure. If that’s of interest, I’d be glad to ‘chat’ more with you about it! Cheers, Michelle (WMass)

  2. Oooo, rabbits!
    No, don’t tempt me!

    It’s for the eggs, mainly, and the weed and bug killing and of course the fertilizer. I have heard of the wonders of rabbit manure. Maybe next year, or any time along the line when I’ve consolidated all of the above and I find an opening. The same farm where I get the chicks also sells rabbits.

    Don’t tempt me!

  3. Foliar feeding (spraying the leevas of the plants) with a dried kelp product, such as maxi-crop, or fish emulsion (Neptune’s harvest is the least stinky of all the fish emulsions) will get you some quick growth organically. I use a mix of both on my crops especially in the late winter/early spring before the soil wakes up and also whenever the crops look lees than thriving,i know you can get fish emulsion products at almost any hardware store, finding powdered kelp is harder and i have only gotten it through on-line sources Was this answer helpful?

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