I finished rebuilding our garden cart late Monday afternoon. Then, after taking this photo, I totally disassembled it again. Disassembling was much faster than taking apart the old cart since none of the fasteners were rusted together. Jo coated the wood with a preservative. Hopefully, the Woodlife will dry enough I can reassemble the cart this (Tuesday) afternoon. That job should go fairly fast since I won't have to drill holes or find and modify fasteners as I did during the original assembly.
I plan on this being the last time I rebuild our garden cart during this lifetime.
Tuesday evening update: As long as I've been working on DIY projects around the house, I should have known that saying the job "should go fairly fast" would doom this project to at least one more major SNAFU. I'll not bore you with the details describing how I screwed things up, but will admit the incident involved a large hammer. Even though it took about three times longer than I'd planned, I did get the cart back together again. After the wood sealer has another day to dry, the cart should be ready for another 25+ years of service.
Due to our late start and abbreviated garden, we have three beds we are not using this summer. Two of those beds have been fully weeded and we are working on the third. My current project is getting these three beds heavily mulched. Our plan is to just leave them fallow until next spring. The mulch will keep the beds from refilling with weeds. They should be ready to plant with little effort next spring. The one possible major flaw in this plan is if an armadillo decides to search for insects in one (or more) of these fallow beds. After an armadillo roots around to his/her satisfaction, a bed ends up looking as if it's been tilled.
Contender bush beans mulched with grass clippings.
This week I got both the green bean and sweet potato beds mulched with grass clippings. Mulch is essential to keep the moisture in and the weeds out.
Many experts recommend against using grass clippings for mulch. I will willingly concede that grass clipping are far from the best mulch, they are what I've got, so I use them.
Grass clippings make poor mulch because:
They compact and, therefore, break down slowly. (True, but here in the south with our high temperatures and long growing season that's not a problem. By fall even grass clipping mulch will need to be reapplied.)
Grass clippings form a compact sheet that will shed rainfall. (True, but we don't usually get a lot of summer rainfall anyway. Drip irrigation hoses under the mulch provide water to our garden plants.)
Grass clippings import weed seeds into the garden. (True, but so do most affordable, organic mulching mediums -- like hay. The trick is to keep the beds mulched all the time, a trick we almost never accomplish so we pull a lot of weeds until we can get the beds mulched again.)
Jo planted three hills of squash on 6/19: Two yellow summer squash and one zucchini. She built row cover huts to protect the little squash plants once they sprouted. The huts provides some protection from the intense summer sun, but more importantly, they keep squash bugs and squash vine bore moths off the plants for a little while. Both pests are inescapable here if you garden without using pesticides as we do. The plants will eventually succumb to the bores or the bacterial wilt spread by the squash bugs. The goal is to get as much production out of the squash plants as possible before they die.
All the squash sprouted well and by 7/6 the zucchini filled its row cover hut. The summer squash plants are smaller and can probably remain covered until they bloom. They must be uncovered then so they can be pollinated and produce fruit.
Jo uncovered the zucchini on 7/8. They now on their own against the squash vine bores and squash bugs.
I'm not a big fan of summer squash or zucchini. Both are okay if stir fried with enough other veggies to cover their taste. Jo likes both so we grow them. We also grow cucumbers which Jo doesn't care for.
Sweet potato sets a couple of days after Jo transplanted them into the garden. I'm sure they appreciated a couple of days of moderate temperatures and overcast skies after being set out.
The wire enclosure is necessary to keep out rabbits -- and any deer that might get past the electric fence surrounding our garden. We would share with the critters, but the critters tend to eat everything. Deer seem to especially enjoy sweet potato vines.