I’m anxious to get to the homestead this week. I did some research this week on the wattles I talked about last blog. I was talking to my friend in Grand Junction and she was saying they got these straw tube things. I thought she was using them for raised beds and that’s how I got the idea. They are actually using them to direct water flow which is their real purpose. I think they would make great raised bed walls. I want to do raised beds because you all have seen the awful weed problem I have. I know if I try to plant in the ground that the weeds will just surround anything I try to plant. This is my plan to get rid of some weeds and be able to plant right away. To buy all the wood for raised beds would be expensive and it’s hard to find used wood in the amount I need and when I need it. The wattles are inexpensive and I can use them right away. They won’t last forever but hopefully will get me through two or three years. If you’ve read my garden blog from when I was Proctor Apprentice you’ve heard of waffle gardens. Well, these are Wattle Gardens.
I e-mail a company that makes them. I can see that 9″ X 25 is the normal length. I notice they also make 12″ X 20′. I think that is what I need. I have no idea how much they weigh or really hot big they are. A nice gentleman very quickly responds to my e-mail and says they make them but don’t distribute them. He asks how many I need etc. I tell him the square footage for the beds I want and he says I will need about 10. He asks where I live and he says there is a distributor in Ft Collins and he can just make them for me and sell them through the construction company in Ft Collins. I give him the go ahead and he puts in the order, arranges for the shipment, and takes are of everything. What a great company and a nice guy. He could have said, “I make them but you can’t get them from me.” He could have said I would have to call the other company. He could have talked me into the 9″ X 25′ because the 12″ X 20′ is a custom order. He got the distributor on the e-mail with us and I just watched while they did the order. They charged me $25 to bring them to me. What a great deal. This was the easiest thing I’ve done in a long time.
The company was PSI in Loveland and the reps name was George. Thanks George. You gave me quick honest service.
It’s Good Friday and my friend Joan, who I used to work with at AT&T and Lucent sings in the choir at the Wesleyan church in Greeley. She invited me to their services this weekend so I get off work and hurry down the road. I should be able to get there in time. I get there about a quarter to 7:00. In plenty of time. It’s a really nice service and the music is great.
I get to the house about 9:30. There are the wattles, all wrapped up in shrink wrap (I was afraid they would get soaked if it rained if they just dropped them in the driveway). They are nicely tucked into the corner by the two fences so I still have plenty of room to park my car in the driveway. Everything about this transaction was perfect. And to top it off they came on a pallet . I am always following trucks of pallets trying to figure out how I can get my hands on them. I can’t wait to see what I can do with the pallet.
It’s morning. It’s still cold out, like 24 degrees so I decide I’ll go to the store. It’s never a fast trip. I go to Poulsen’s Hardware and get a mallet to pound the stakes and some more caulking for the greenhouse windows. I check out lawn mowers while I am there. I need to get one soon. I head off to the cool King Soopers and get some groceries. Then I head off to a glass store that I found to see if I can get a sheet of window pane to cut for the greenhouse. While I’m looking for the glass shop I see a lawn mower fix it place. I stop and talk to the guy and he has a couple of riding mowers for sale. One is $700. That’s a really good deal. Can I afford that now and do I really need one? It would be nice to ride around instead of pushing a mower all over the place. The push mowers are $400. Not much more for a used riding one. I take his card. I’ll think about it and if it’s still there I may get it and if it’s not then that’s my answer. I head off to EHSH the discount food store and pick up a few more things. Then I head on back home. That only took four hours. I get back and it’s time to hit the garden.
I have some herbicide called Burn Out II. It is organic and made by St Gabriel’s Labs. I got some small bottles of it last year and was anxious to try it out. Rumor has it that it works as well as Roundup. Indeed it does. If you have annual weeds this stuff kills them in an hour. It’s active ingredients are clove oil and citric acid. It’s safe for pets. It is non-selective so it will kill everything you spray it on but I’m really excited to find an organic that works. I am trying to find somewhere that sells the half acre size. Any alternative to those awful chemicals that works is exciting. I don’t think it works very well on some perennial weeds but it is really taking care of the weeds popping up right now. I spray the area where I am going to put the raised beds.
I cut the straps and take the pallet off the bottom of the pile. I’m glad they laid them down. If they were upright it would hard to get them off the pallet. They are pretty easy to work with. Not too heavy. I drag one end and then when it’s stretched out I grab the other end and bring it around. Easier than trying to roll it or carry it. I planned on four beds 4′ X 20′ but I realized before I ordered I didn’t have quite that much room but I’m sure I will figure out how to use them all. I lay out four of the twenty foot. One row is 3′ X 20′ and the other one is 2′ X 20′. I stake them all and decide that’s enough for one day.
It’s morning again. I want to make boxes in the rows so I won’t have to fill the whole thing with soil. I’ll line some with newspapers to keep the weeds down and plant some of them now and some later. If I get some bagged soil a bag will fit in the box. I may get a load of garden soil but I’ll start off and see how this works. The straw is stuffed into a netting so I measure out what I need and cut the netting. I forgot to get twine or something from the hardware store but the wattles are tied down with nylon rope so I use that to tie the ends every time I make a cut. I cut two foot ones for the two foot row and three foot ones for the three foot row. Just about the time I finish doing that Denise stops by. She helps me drag another one into the space. This one I just make an oval out of it. It will make a nice bed for some larger plants like zucchini or squash or pumpkins or whatever. I have some left from the last one I cut up for smaller pieces and I make a circle out of that one. Maybe I’ll do flowers in one of them.
I take all the straw from where I cut them up and line the path between the beds with the straw. That should keep the weeds down. Then I wonder if it will draw the mice. Then I wonder if the mice will draw other undesirable creatures. I had raked up all the straw after I put it down and then Denise and I talk and I decide the cats will take care of any mice. I’ll keep a watch out and if I see any mice or other creatures I’ll rake it up and put it in the compost pile. I take what newspaper I have and line a few of the boxes. Some of it has color in it which is not good because of the dyes, except I won’t be tilling it into the ground or putting it in a compost pile. I’ll get rid of it when I get ready to plant.
Denise helps me drag the two leftovers and we put them on the pallet. Hmmm, wattle I do with them? I’m sure I’ll figure out something else to do with them. If not then Denise can have one and try out a bed in it. Here a wattle, there a wattle, everywhere a wattle wattle. Straw in my hair, in my clothes, in my boots, embedded in my legs.
It’s getting late so I clean up and straighten up the house and head on down the road for another week.