092 Potatoes need water

092 Potatoes need water

I’ve been doing a lot of digging for someone who doesn’t believe in digging beds. I’ll tell you all about them while I finish the beds–and then we’ll finally solve the water problem.

When I showed a picture of my half-weeded bed on Mastodon, someone told me to look into Irish potato beds. He even went through the trouble to explain the process to me. The general idea is to use a ditch around the bed as material for the bed.

If this was proper lawn, I’d be folding suds onto the beds but that worked a lot less well here. With the half-weeded bed, this turned more into digging than I liked.

The soil life from the ditches was definitely disturbed–a lot. While I didn’t disturb the soil that was on the beds before (except when I weeded, of course), it is now covered in disturbed soil. I really hope the soil life will get the memo to move upward and repopulate.

I wouldn’t do it the same way again–but I don’t regret the beds either.

This is my first year here. I didn’t get a chance to cover crop over winter. These beds won’t be dug again. Any bed that I finish will be covered as soon as possible. Bare soil is not good soil.

I still believe this was one of the gentler methods to deal with these beds. Only continuing to weed by hand or giving up on this growing season would have been gentler.

It’s getting late; the weather is getting worse, but I really, really want to finish those beds. I’ve put the potatoes where they belong so now I just need to get them into the ground. I’ve already spread the peas so this shouldn’t take long but let’s see how long it actually takes me, because I’m starting to get hungry. But there’s rain coming and I don’t want to water these in.

So, I want to get these done before the rain. So let’s get to it!

I mentioned this last time: If this was a proper Irish bed, this process would look a lot different. But I adjusted and made it work.

About twenty minutes later, all the potatoes were in. For once, something went faster than I anticipated. To my chagrin, I’d made two mistakes: I mixed up two varieties that are now in two beds together. I hope the plants of the unknown kitchen variety and Jules look different enough… ah well. I also still had two varieties of potatoes left in the greenhouse. I needed more beds.

But not today. They would need to wait.

The promised rain didn’t come, and my muscles were too sore for more digging. The sun was out, and I was all out of excuses to put off the rain gutters. I’d put off the rain gutters because I knew how much of a struggle it would be to put them up.

I’d taken over some weirdness from the previous roof–and added some more imperfections.

First, I figured out how these gutters were supposed to work, so I could adapt to this mess. The old attachment and some boards are in the way, the new roof ends at a different point. It’s all a mess. A lot of that is because I didn’t fully rebuild the roof structure. I took over what was here. I’ve also never hung rain gutters, as you can clearly see.

I got it in. The first one is working. This is gonna work. This is gonna work! I am so excited! Okay, back under the roof.

When I’d finally won the fight to get the gutters hung properly in the edge of the roof, I realized I’d forgotten the end cap of the worst gutter to squeeze into the attachment points. Once that was fixed, I attached the rest of the gutter brackets. Brackets? Holders? I don’t speak roof.

But even I know enough about roofs to know this isn’t where they are supposed to go. Normally, you’d have proper beams to attach them to.

This time, I remembered the end cap–though not how to get the darn thing in…

Getting the plastic gutters into the metal edge trim and into the other gutter wasn’t easy. I should have properly measured, then installed it all in one go. But the one I’d tested the process with had been so hard to get in that I didn’t want to touch it every again.

Doing this the wrong way with a roof that I built on top of an unprofessionally built base taught me a lot. I know how it should work from how it didn’t work. I know how to build a roof now. I understand rain gutters.

I would still have preferred doing this the proper way. It would have been a lot easier. Seriously, this was not fun. But I was out of excuses.

The second side went a lot more smoothly, mostly because there were fewer beams in the way. Pepper took a nap next to the rhubarb, and I worked my way across the second side.

Before long, the corner was on. Down spout? Did I mention I don’t speak roof?

I knew I would not be able to finish the gutters that day. I’d need to learn how to use the angle grinder for that. Figuring out that tool is another thing I have been putting off. I don’t even know why.

Now that I was collecting water, I needed room in the barrels. Pepper found another watering hole he prefers to his bowl while I filled the spray bottle.

As the rain hadn’t come, I watered the strawberries for the first time since I got them last fall. The newly planted lavender and thyme also got a good dose. Most of them will make it.

I refilled the can in the other barrel to make room there. It was hard not to spill because it was so full. I try hard not to waste any of the water, as I have a limited supply.

Now that it is hot, I also make sure to close all the lids to limit evaporation. Every drop will count this summer.

Okay, the rain gutters are up. It looks really, really bad but I think it is going to work. We are just going to see if it will, and if not, I will rearrange it a little bit and see how it is going to work. We are going to figure it out. I mean, I had to improvise a lot but at least it is up now.

I think it will actually work. I also got some water to water in the potatoes that I planted yesterday. Everything should be happy.

I’ll need to trim the back gutter, so I can get this aligned. I need the angle grinder for that. I’ll learn to use that tool soon. I have the connectors for the trimmed gutter ready and waiting.

It had been another long day with a lot of progress. Time to water in the potatoes and give the seedlings some water.

My muscles are still a bit weak, so 10-L watering cans are very heavy for me. I’m sure that will improve over the summer months.

Watering the potatoes made the beds feel real for the first time. I’m a gardener now. Using water for the first time also made the limited supply feel real.

All of my seedlings had moved to the greenhouse over the past few days. Now, I had the means to water them. I am collecting water from two roofs now. Hopefully, it will be enough. I used a 10-L can for each bed, so I’d already used more than 50 liters of water.

I’ll learn how to live with nature here, too.

So long, and thanks for being here.