Sunday, November 6, 2011

In Which the Loader Becomes a Utility Sink

My least favorite fall gardening ritual is the washing up. You pick a warm sunny day long after the garden has been put to bed, when you would much rather be sitting in a lawn chair with a beer enjoying the blue sky, and you do your best to disinfect everything with bleach water to minimise the carry over of bacterial disease from one season to the next.

Tim's large tractor loader is the perfect sink. The height is adjustable, and it holds lots of pots.

In fact, it is the ONLY thing that will hold water and the tomato ladders. I knock the dirt off everything, give it a pre-rinse, and set in the bleach solution to soak for as long as my patience holds out. About 10-15 minutes. The whole procedure takes two and a half hours. It's also a good time to sort through pots, throw out damaged ones, and take an inventory. Don't forget to disinfect anything else you will be using again including, permanent plant markers, grow through supports, reusable tomato ties and tools. I also send my gloves to the laundry, wipe down my kneelers and take a moment to sweep out and wipe down the insides of my cabinets.

Before it is over, pots and flats are spread all over the drive drying in the sun.

The garden is put to bed, the shed is organised, the leaves are mulched.

A clean slate for next season.
But I'm still into stuff. As a teaser, I can tell you that my arm is sticking to the desk right now from the syrupy sweetness of my latest anti-fruit wastage, make work program, and my fingers are sore from cracking pecan shells.


  1. Ah yes, one of the many uses for a front end loader. Melissa refuses to pick up any of my chains because I dribble used motor oil on them to keep them from rusting. :)

    Our big Kubota decided to die completely the other day when I turned it off. Absolutely nothing happened when I turned the key, leading me to believe something serious was afoot with my newly rebuilt starter, or the alternator was out, or the battery was faulty. After testing ALL of these systems repeatedly I could find nothing wrong so I left and went home. The next morning, mostly on a hope because I did nothing more to it, I turned the key and presto, it fired right up.......

  2. I have been reading your blog off and on. Decided to read all the way back to the beginning. Think I should have been doing that before. Reading and rereading and learning. I would like to thank you for all the work you have done for this blog. So much info. tips, and ideas all throughout. Now I have to go back to the beginning and reread. So much to read and learn. We have a little acre that we hope to get moved on by the early spring. Once the septic goes in, hoping by Jan or Feb, then I can start to get things set up for some simple gardening this year coming up.

    We live here in SE Ala so spring comes early and so does planting. I may have a source for sawdust and found someplace to get some bales of hay. Most farmers here bale their hay in those big round things, but this place has the small square bales. Will be easier for me to handle. Last year, not this past summer I got dirt, compost, mushroom compost, pearl lite and cow manure in bags and mixed it all up on a tarp and put it in buckets, instruction per the square foot gardener, and tried and failed to grow some tomato plants. So right now I have many buckets of dirt and 3 45 gal garbage cans of dirt. That will be the start for my garden. the acre was farm land that was subdivided and grew cotton, corn, peanuts, and maybe soybeans. So I hope to get in 1 or 2 4 x 4 squares and maybe a patch and maybe a hill or two. This lasagna mulching sounds real interesting, so I will try that on the patch and hill. I am sure cause of the heat here my buckets were not the best thing. Just hope it wasn't the soil I bought. Will see what happens.

    Again, thank you and I will probably be asking questions later.

  3. Oh how I love your raised bed garden area. I seriously keep a picture of it on my fridge to remind me of how to do it right. I know it was hard work but wow, you should be so proud of it. And empty and waiting for next season...ahhh....I'm so jealous!