Saturday, September 16, 2017

My Harvest Life - Episode 13: Woodcutting Level 2

Year 1 - Summer Day 87

Well, it's getting close to the end of the summer, and with the cool fall weather I've begun to chip away at the wood pile, racking up that sweet, sweet exp.  Today I leveled up, and gained access to a new tool that lets me break apart the giant logs much easier.

It's called a wood grenade (or a splitting wedge as a less fun name) and I picked one up recently and it works great for massive logs.  Not that it makes it totally easy,  but it starts in the center of the giant log and you beat it with a sledge hammer until the log splits in half.  It was recommended to me by a coworker of mine who, in addition to being an awesome engineer, is also releasing a book in January on using hand tools, and is a phenomenal reference for useful tools powered only by aching muscles and sweat.


The Wood Grenade


After 3 Hits


Wood Rack #2


In addition I've also split enough wood that I needed to get a second wood rack started.  The rack is very basic, all you do is get four cinder blocks and lay them evenly spanning 10 ft.  I then ripped a 2"x6"x10' piece of Pressure Treated wood in half and used that as the base.  Then four 5ft 2x4s were placed inside the cinderblocks sticking up and voila, no nailing, screwing or any binding needed for a nice wood rack to keep the wood off the ground and let it cure.

Also the basement herb project is coming along nicely.  I overwatered it a bit and some neat fungus started growing, so I toned back the amount of water I was dumping down there and it seems to be a bit better.  The basil is absolutely thriving and the other herbs are all about evenly paced in growing slowly.






The Kale and Winter Spinach have also started sprouting, but the bugs have been at them a bit it seems as well.   They seem to be doing well in the cool weather, only the tomatoes seem to be lagging a bit and not ripening.  There are a bunch of giant green tomatoes, but none of them have turned red yet.  I've done some reading and it seems likely that the windy, cool weather we've had is the cause.

Things are slowing down, but it's still fun to get out and see things grow and I still have a bunch of wood splitting to do.  I'm looking forward to the quickly approaching fall and all of the delicious beverages and foods it brings.

- Level 1 Gardener, Level 2 Woodcutter: Jace -

Saturday, September 2, 2017

My Harvest Life - Episode 12: Death of the Vine

Year 1 - Summer Day 73

Today I murdered my Cucumber plants, brutally and quickly.  Not maybe this time, but for sure - they are dead.  It was intentional though, the plants had been suffering and dying slowly, but were still sprawling and choking out other plants.  My own lack of experience is the cause - if they had more room to grow upward and thrive, they would have done much better.  Next year I will give their descendants more room to grow upward and will plant fewer of the massive sprawling vines.

The Dying Cucumber Plants



Slowly I chopped away all the vines and leaves and untangled them from my fence and tomato plants.  They were starting to intertwine with the tomatoes and since the tomato plants are very healthy and doing well, I decided to end the cucumbers short time of being overlord of the garden.  I cut away all the plant, and ripped out the roots.  I also decided to work the ground a bit, adding some fresh, bottom of the pit compost and worked it into the stony ground.  Unsurprisingly the technique is called digging, and you basically dig rows across the land you want to work, turning the dirt over and mixing it in.  I worked a bunch of fresh compost in to help replenish the nutrients the cucumber plants pulled out of the ground.  There are 2 packets of seeds, some hardy Kale and a cold weather variety of spinach that should be able to grow before winter sets in.

Ripping out the plants and stuffing them into bags


Fresh Compost


The freshly tilled ground


Note the Onions that haven't seen the light of day in months


There was also one final harvest of the cucumbers with a bunch of small ones that we'll see how they taste!  The tomato plants also have a bunch of large, plump, green tomatoes, and I'm very excited to harvest them once they are ready!

The Final Harvest

 Plump Green Tomatoes



In addition the basement herb project is going along nicely.  It's amazing to me just how much faster growing and hardy basil is compared to the rest of the herbs.  The basil plants are already well set in and are growing steadily while some of the other herbs are slowly starting to pop their way out.  Notably I've only seen one tiny rosemary plant peek it's leaves out so far and two of the parsley have sprouted out of about ten.

The Herb Project


Cinnamon Basil


So today has been a little sad, it's tough to see the plants I spent so much time prepping for get ripped out, cut up, stuffed in a bag and stuck on the street corner.  Hopefully next year once I'm a level 2 gardener I'll be able to keep my plants alive and producing longer through the season.  The bean plants also look like they're starting to slow bean production, so they might be coming to an end as well.  Next year I do want to try pole beans, as they're said to produce per plant more than bush beans.  Those as well will require some poles to climb up, so I will adequately prepare for that as well.

Fare well first year cucumber plants, it was fun!

- Level 1 Gardener: Jace -
Next Episode 13: Woodcutting Level 2