What is a "tiehacker"?

"Tiehacker" is a term originating in the Ozark hills of southern Missouri. It referred to a class of people from WAY back in the hills that made a living cutting trees into ties for the railroad. I first heard the term from my wife shortly after we married. I had been working outside all day and was dirty and stinky. She had learned it from her father, and thought it just meant "a bum". Never having heard it before, I looked it up. Although I am not really a bum, I thought it was interesting, and I do have a life-long love affair going with the Ozark hills, so ... there you have it!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

This year's garden is planted!

A friend posted this to my Facebook page recently, and I couldn't resist sharing it.
Ya see, I was raised right by my father. One is to root for two baseball teams. First and foremost, for our beloved Cardinals. Second, for whoever is playing the Cubs. Hee hee!

I did it! I did it! Finally got a garden in!

I have this really bad habit of dreaming of a big project, and then when I am unable to get it off the ground, just letting go completely.

Well, this year I resisted the urge to think about a big garden, and wind up with nothing. I went with a small garden, a test garden if you want to call it that. A little over four foot square.

I knew I wanted a raised bed rather than ground level, for two reasons. It is easier on my chronically aching back. And, my yard soil is so bad, mostly clay, typical of the Saint Louis area.

So, day before yesterday, I picked a spot near the house that gets a fair amount of sun. The existing plant life needed to go; I didn't want the grass and weeds to work their way up through the new layer of soil and causing problems. So, I thought, briefly, of getting out the hoe and shovel and digging all the grass and weeds out, down to bare dirt. Then I realized that wasn't necessary. The grass had recently been mowed and was still fairly short. Covering it with cardboard would kill it yet still allow for water to drain through.

I had a large corrugated cardboard box that was ready to be recycled, so I opened it up flat, and it was just the right size. I laid it flat on top of the grass, and poked a few holes in it to facilitate drainage and allow earthworms to work their way up into the raised bed. Next, I needed to make the sides of the bed. I didn't have any 2"x8" lumber around, but I did have some concrete blocks. So I used those instead.

Daisy, of course, has to supervise my efforts.

You notice that the cardboard extends past the end of the bed. I'm going to leave it like that. If this works out, I plan on extending it to a full 4'x8' bed next year, and so the cardboard will already be in place.

I had a couple of 40-lb bags of topsoil handy, so I dumped those in. There was also a big bucket of potting mix salvaged from various planters that only had dead things in them. (The Debster's thumb is even browner than mine.) That got tossed in, after I cleaned out the old roots and stuff. Finally, I added three two-cubic foot bags of garden soil mix from the local big-box hardware store. That filled everything up just right. I raked it smooth and called it a day.

Yesterday morning, when I got home from my midnight shift job, I saw the dirt had been dug in and messed up sometime during the night. I'm fairly sure one of our dogs did the deed, although the Debster said that it wasn't them. She said she let them out once or twice during the night (Stempy's meds make him go often and a lot), and she didn't see them go to the dirt. But I know my dogs, and I know that the Debster didn't have a good view of the planting bed from her vantage point near the back door. Not to mention it was a dark night with poor visibility. So who knows?

Anyway, yesterday morning, the Debster had a dentist appointment and Stempy had a vet appointment. On the way home, we stopped and picked up some plants. I got busy.

All told, in this small-ish bed, I have two tomato plants, four Romaine lettuces, a zucchini, a green bell pepper, a cucumber, half a dozen spinach plants, a couple dozen red onion sets, three sweet basil plants, two rosemary, and a clump of onion chives. There is room for more. I will probably add garlic chives and some more onion sets this weekend. (We eat a LOT of onions!)

If I can figure a way to keep the pesky rabbits away from my little garden, we should be able to harvest a little produce later this year. And this fall, if everything goes right, I'll replace the blocks with a 4'x8' wooden box, and add more topsoil to fill it up. The blocks will probably then go into a firepit that I'm kinda sorta planning. But that's for another post later on.

Well, that's enough for today. As always, thanks for reading, and please feel free to share this with anyone that you think might be even remotely interested!

God bless!
Ron, and the Debster

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with the garden. I don't know how well the vegetables will grow, but I'm sure the weeds will love the fertile soil. Watering and weeding should give you something to do this Summer. Those are reasons I can't have a vegetable garden as we spend 4-6 weeks in Turkey in the middle of Summer. Also, you will probably need to stake the tomato plants to keep the new tomatoes off the ground. This should be an interesting test of your 'farmer' skills.