Manure day! At first our neighbor Kathy (who boards horses) and I talked about loading my truck, then she’d bring some loader-scoops down while I was shoveling out the truck-load–saving a bit of gas and wear on her machine.
But that manure was WAY wetter and heavier than I thought it’d be. Last time, we got maybe four or five scoops in the back of the truck–this time we could only put in two and the poor little S-10 was riding on the axles. And last time it was lofty and easy to pitch, too.
Shoveling it out was killer. Kathy probably came and went with more scoops four times while I was struggling with the muck-in-the-truck. Jeez. But she’d known it was going to take me some time, so she just kept going back and forth, bringing more fertile goodness to the gardens.
In the end, I had two nice-sized piles in the garden plus the second load of manure in the truck that I shoveled directly into the northeast garden beds and dug in right away. Once I finished with that garden, I planted 72 cloves of garlic. It’s always a tug-o-war with how much I want to plant and how much I want to save for winter eating.
I even threw a few extra heads from my eating stash in my coat pockets just in case I needed to fill out the row. Garlic is just one of the many crops I grow–but it’s a staple in our house. I treat it more like a regular vegetable than a mere flavoring agent, and when I use it in a meal, it’s fairly common for me to use 2-3 cloves at least.
So garlic-planting is about making sure I’ll have a fairly decent supply for myself, and some for next year’s CSA members (yeah, I’m thinking about a few) without taking up too much garden space I’ll need for the bazillion other crops I’ll be planning and planting. In the end, I usually end up buying some extra from other local growers.
I also threw in a few shallots I found intact down in my basement yesterday–those went in a smaller bed in the west garden. The last project of the afternoon was to turn the compost again–adding a smattering of manure between the layers.
The day ended with a very hot shower to work out the kinks from all the shoveling and digging–I’d thought Advil would be in order, but I woke up the next morning feeling pretty good. It always seems it’s the extended computer screen time that gets me kinked up–and not the heavy lifting and digging.
If it ever stops raining again for a few days, I’ll get more of those beds dressed and dug in–and the field sanitation isn’t even done yet in all of the gardens. It’s all a race against freeze-up now–at this point I’ll dress-and-dig first to have spring beds ready right away, then worry about clearing the rest of the gardens if I have time.
At this rate and with this weather, it’ll be Thanksgiving before I get it all done!