Outdoors, Green Living, Homesteading, Sustainable living, Green Building

Zai Square Foot Gardening 2

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The Survival Pod Cast
Off Grid Net

I had 7 days off on this time in and really got some work done in the garden. I also had some help from Gary’s grandsons. I bribed them with ice cold water, cokes and Gatorade.
If you recall in the previous article I had dumped 7 yards of manure and compost on Gary’s drive which he was not to pleased about. So I rented this tool called a Dingo (Toro brand). It comes with many attachments, each one cost extra to rent aside from the one you first attach to it. Each additional attachment is around $25 for half day. The Dingo itself is $90 for half day(4 hours) and I had to rent the trailer for $27 for 4 hours also. So my total was $140 for 4 hours but in my case I picked it up at closing around 5pm so I had it overnight. If your hour meter goes over 4 hours then you pay 1/6th rental price for each hour or about $15 per hour extra. If you rent it for a day it can be in your possession for 24 hours but its for 8 hours of operation. If you rent it for the weekend you can have it in possession for 48 hours but still only use for 8 hours if you pay for one day. If you need to use it for 16 hours on the weekend then you pay for 2 days.

For controls it has a choke, start stop key switch, throttle, bucket raise, lower, tilt down, tilt up stick/knob. It has an interesting control for going forward back and left right. If you push forward you go forward, pull backward and you go backward. If you twist right you turn right. If you twist left you go left. You can combine forward twist and backward twist at the same time. They said not to spin it on a dime but to move forward and turn or backward turning at the same time. Otherwise you might throw a track.

This one was at the point of needing an overhaul. It used 1+ quarts of oil in 2.7 hours of operation. It also used 3/4 tank and Im not exactly sure how much that was. I was told it had a 10 gal tank and again by someone else a 5 gal tank. I put 3.6 gal’s in it when I got it to top it off. Also it didn’t have to be return full of fuel. If you returned it with less than 1/4 tank but with a little fuel that was acceptable. Its supposed to weight 2000 lbs. Also I figure it took us around 20+ trips to move 7 yards of material. It was about 7 or 8 minute round trip to the garden and back. Also at the garden the county road drops off about 3 feet and slopes downward to the garden level. I didn’t want to go down that with a load in the bucket but I could go up it with no load in the bucked just fine. I had to be perfectly upslope though and not at any angle when climbing up and onto the country road. It did slip sometimes and I noted that it helped to lower the bucket almost all the way to help with it tipping back down and onto the roadway at the end of the 3′ climb.

Other attachments you can get are, post hole diggers, blades, smaller buckets, very small backhoe, breaker, fork lift, ditch digger etc.

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Next we have shots of the garden. This time in I discovered a few things. The weeds and grass wash growing 5 times faster than anything I planted. The mulch cloth I had laid out was a fiberglass type and it let enough light through that the weeds and grass pushed it up. Also I had a 3’x3’x6″ mound of dirt where I had planted 2 types of tomato seed. I had covered up an ant mound with the mulch cloth so the ants decided to get even with me. They constructed in the middle of this 3’x3′ mound a mound of their own. Their mound was about 3′ in dia. and 3″ tall. It killed most of the seedling tomatoes. I think I had 6 that came up good. 4 of one kind and 2 of another. Which I transplanted in 2’x4′ areas in a row.

I did some weeding, and we dug holes, I think I dug 14 1×1 holes, mixed soil and filled the 4’x4′ planter box with soil as well as the 14 holes. I also had enough mix to make a 3’x3’x8″ deep mound for planting carrots in. And a small 2’x2’x6″ mound for planting some more radishes. In the 4×4 planter I planted 3 types of corn and green beans next to each corn stalk. I planted more Spinach in 2 more square feet, more onions, and radishes. Planted a square foot of Bell Pepper and Sweet Banana Pepper. Planted Okra, squash, cucumber, water Melon, cantaloupe, bird house gourds and ladle gourds.

I planted 4 kinds of marigolds from live plants. I planted lavender in 2 places from live plants. I also planted marigold seed for several types around the garden. I planted more sunflower seed in and around herb locations and on the compost and manure pile. I threw out some left over onion seed on the compost and manure piles.

Lastly there was a plum tree in the garden that had lost its mate. I planted a new black plum ($35 from a nursery) in the same hole where its made was pulled up from. I made the hole bigger adding compost and manure in the bottom, then on top around the tree. I then mulched on top around the tree. I also piled manure and compost around the already established tree and mulched around it too.

I bought loads of mulch from Smiley Vincent at London AR, 30 miles away. He charged me $5 per pickup bed load. I think I got 2 loads from him this time in. One I had used 2/3ds of for a walking path at my camper. So I ended up putting 1 and 1/3 loads on the garden. That mostly covered the 400ft2 of mulch cloth I had laid down. We used some of it around the plum trees too. I bought 8 bags of cypress mulch($2.50 per bag) from Atwoods and used it to make a trail into the garden from about 12 feet outside the garden gate. This trail was where it was beginning to get a bit muddy. I also mulched up to the base of the tomatoes though I didn’t get picture of that.

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When I came in the grass and weeds was about 5 feet tall around my camper lol. So I bought some gas for the mower trimmer and got after it. Took me about 5 hours but I knocked all the grass weeds down in and around my camper and around the drive and walking paths. Had to replace the plastic cutting strings a few times. This thing works like a weed eater but it has wheels. I love it. The area round Gary’s house is pretty rough and a lawn mower is just about useless. I had already places some stepping stones from the drive to my camper because when its raining hard there is a 1″ to 2″ stream between the drive and my camper door. So I bought some mulch cloth($15 for 3’x100′) this time a black plastic type. I move the stones and laid it down from under camper steps to drive. I then poured 10 bags of pea gravel($40) out and placed the stepping blocks again. I also rolled out a path from my camper to Gary’s camper about 60′ maybe. I then wheel barreled mulch and spread it out over that cloth just enough so that we couldn’t see the cloth underneath it. It worked well and I think will make a nice path. I usually walk through there to talk to Gary or to hook up the garden hose so that I can have water at the camper. This was an easy and cheap way to make grass and weed free paths around your place/homestead/compound/camp.

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As a bonus while gardening we did some fishing at the pond by throwing out a bobber hook and worm. We found some nice fat juicy earth worms in the compost pile. The first day we only caught a small brim and small crappie. I showed Gary’s grandson how to clean and cook those. The 2nd day we caught a nice 3lb catfish. Gary’s grandson left it on the bank and a coon got it. Which pissed me off. The next day I caught another 3 lb catfish and 3 brim. I show in the photos below the fish before and after cleaning. I also show how I cut the catfish into steaks. Game generally dress out to be 1/2 live weight. So I’m guessing we had 1.5 lbs of catfish meat after cleaning I kept 1/2 lb and gave the other 1 lb to the owners of the pond.

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I took these photos of this Toyota Land Cruiser I’d like to buy but won’t. It was in the town I live at. It was used in Africa on a guerrilla preserve. I don’t know how many miles it has on it. They want $10,500 for it, it has driver controls on right side instead of left. It is 1981 model. Would make a nice gardening tool.

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