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Got my lease today

Downriver

Extreme Member
Nice looking piece of ground Mike!

If that ground is as hard as it looks, you could be in for a tough go with just a tiller. You might want to try and find someone with a tractor to turn it for ya with a plow. Or maybe rent a skid-steer for a day and turn it that way. Then you can hit it with a tiller. Might cost a few bucks, but could save ya a lot of time and energy. Or, maybe the village manager could help in some way. I don't know; just thinking out loud. :think:

Anyway, good luck with it. Like the others, I look forward to your updates on progress and to see it covered in veggies. :)
 
DR,

The problem is I plan to only till the area where I will have plants growing. Good in that I need to till only about 1/3 the area, bad in that I don't think a guy with a tractor could do it correctly. I plan on trying this as much as an experiment as anything. I'll keep the grass/weeds between the rows trimmed extremely short (almost like dead sod) and the plants will have plenty of space to grow - 18" for everything.

I do not plan on staking my maters - they are all determinates but this way, many of them will rest on sod and not dirt, hopefully protecting them from rotting a bit. Plus, it's another way to make this more of a demonstration project.

Yeah, I will need to carb-up, I need to till at least 2000 linear feet ASAP. I was hoping for Thursday, but we are having heavy rains today, just as the ground was nearly dry. :(

Mike
 
The council agreed, it's a done deal! $5 per year for what may be 30,000 sq. ft. The important part of the ordinance:

WHEREAS, Mike Koewler desires to institute a demonstration project to show the
ability to produce significant quantities of agricultural projects on vacant
Villageland;and


WHEREAS, The Village desires to support such a demonstration project in order to
determine whether or not this is a practical, efficient and productive use of
vacant Village property; now therefore,

BE IT ORDAINED by the Council of the Village of Lockland, State of Ohio, that:
SECTION I The Village Administrator is hereby authorized to enter into a lease
substantially in the form attached hereto with Mike Koewler to establish a
demonstration project on vacant Village property on Lock Street.

Ironically, the ground was originally a "brownfield" meaning a piece of ground that was used decades ago but because of changing times, it fell into non-use. The village used grants to buy the property, raze the buildings and turn it into something that can be productive. But in this instance, it will be taken for the widening of the Interstate (maybe in my lifetime, as there is no money to spend on these type of projects now) so the village was left with maintaining it. Now they do not need to!

Mike
 
Very nice! If you weren't all the way up in O-HI-O i would help you till......two thousand feet is going to be a real butt whoopin!
 
Very nice! If you weren't all the way up in O-HI-O i would help you till......two thousand feet is going to be a real butt whoopin!

Yep. If the ground dries enough to allow me to till, I'll be a hungry and thirsty creature tomorrow evening! One of those times when a 30-pack of Natural light, plus a hamburger/sausage/bacon/egg sandwich smothered with cheese, ketchup, mustard and horseradish will be tasty! Throw in some home fries and pork and beans!

Mike
 
Looking good Mike, It is realy satisfying growing nice tasting vegies and taking them to market to have people compliment you on the taste. I was growing vegies full time only a couple of years ago. I can remember chopping up some of my celery and putting out a taster plate which people could sample as they walked past. They would grab a piece and keep walking only to turn around as soon as they bit it and come back saying "wow celery with taste" or that is great better than the tasteless crap in the supermarkets. I always sold out of my produce and had regulars who would come every week.,
Good luck mate, enjoy the outdoors, I love being out in the garden, no hassels, no mobile phone, so relaxing even when its hard work.
Marc
 
Okay, so I am aimed for the stars today. I think I hit the butt of a gopher! Tilling that ground was like trying to till asphalt. 2+ hours = two passes over a 124 linear foot area. :( Not sure why it was so hard - it wasn't that dry and the roots from the sod were not terribly deep. I can't see a decade of sitting around causing the problem, though the area was mowed with a large tractor a few times each year.

The ground, at least the part I could turn, looks rocky but also like good earth - nice and dark. I'm hoping to find someone with a tractor and disc who can cut the earth 5-6 inches deep. Then I can till it rather easily.

On a plus/minus note, the area is at least 1/3 larger than I thought. Good because I can grow more plants, bad because I didn't start enough a few weeks ago. I figure I can add a row of celery and cantelopes, an extra row of onions, sweet potatoes and peppers, plus this fall a row of everbearing strawberries and some blackberry canes. I may - if I make money from this adventure, also add a row of dwarf fruit trees - cherry, apple and peach. I probably have room for nine of each, but if I plant some on the hillsides that will otherwise go unused, I could plant another 14 or so.

The downside is the state can decide to take the land to widen the Interstate but given the lack of funds I don't see this happening for at least three years, maybe 10!

Mike
 
I just love reading what you have to say Mike, you definantly have a way with words you ummm WORDWIZ!
 
Gopher butt :woohoo: LOL!

I had the same problem....no garden last year due to too much rain (I was working a LOT and had little spare time) but the year before I had one out. The ground was as if it had never been turned! Get that tractor if at all possible, it will save you tons of time.

Best of luck, I look forward to this thread :dance:
 
Finally, after waiting and waiting, the seeds arrived. Didn't have time to sow them all but I did get 300 broccoli and close to 600 tomato (Bush Goliath) seeds sown. The broccoli went into potting mix, the maters in horticubes. If all goes as planned tomorrow, I'll sow the other 1800 tomato seeds tomorrow.

Need to buy another 3-4 packages of Romaine lettuce seeds. I can't find a good reason to not plant them between the tomato plants, especially since a discount produce store is selling the heads for $3 each.

Mike
 

Downriver

Extreme Member
... I'm hoping to find someone with a tractor and disc who can cut the earth 5-6 inches deep. Then I can till it rather easily.

Now there's an idea! :D

Well, it's been a couple weeks Mike, how ya makin out?

I'm really looking forward to watching your project progress. I fear this may be too large an effort for one fella, but I'm pulling for ya! :)
 
DR,

It won't go enough days without a heavy rain to get anything done. :( I've got plenty of peas, onions and lettuce to transplant, with broccoli and chard not far behind. The ground was almost dry enough Monday but that afternoon, evening and night, as well as yesterday morning it rained and poured and rained. I'm hoping that Thursday afternoon it will be dry enough for a guy to get his tractor and tow behind tiller and at least get three or four rows done. However, it is suppose to storm Thursday evening and a chance on Friday. But Sunday's high is predicted to be 81 - the first 80-degree temp of the year.

Mike
 
Talked with a guy several people recommended about getting the ground in shape. He is willing to plow and till the 15,000 sq. ft. for $175. I'm not thrilled about the expenditure, but I suspect in the grand scheme of things, it will be a small cost.

Just like one cannot grow seedlings without decent media, I won't be able to grow good produce in ground that is not properly prepared!

Mike
 

Downriver

Extreme Member
Doesn't sound like a bad price, especially if you close your eyes and think back to when you tried to do it with just a tiller. :lol:

Now if I lived next door, I'd do it for free. Of course, I like playin with my toys. :)

Anyway, you gonna have him turn in alternating rows (dirt/grass/dirt/grass/etc) like you said before, or are you gonna go more traditional and have him turn the whole plot?

Before and after pics would be nice (hint,hint).

Now, if it would just quit raining (or snowing) long enough to get it turned......

Keep after it Mike. It'll get there.
 
DR,

He's going to turn the whole thing, as it would be nearly impossible to do every other row. The tomatoes, potatoes, melons, peppers, etc., will require more room between rows than the peas, carrots, chard, etc. I'll sort of let the grass grow back between the rows. I plan to mulch with newspapers (I get an extra 150-200 12 or 16 page tabloid size papers each week) and maybe a little straw also next to the plants. I'll add that after I sidedress. Called a feed store yesterday about ferts. The have 20 pound bags of Tomato Tone for $12.50 and a 50 pound bag of Blood Meal for $43.

I've got the before pictures as well as a Google Map at my web site. I really hope the guy gets done in time for me to plant my onions and peas today. Suppose to have heavy rain (not bad enough though to drown anything) tonight and tomorrow morning but on Sunday highs near 80. The peas are hardened off so those temps will not hurt them at all.

Mike
 
Stop the presses or at least turn the tractor off. :( The guy is afraid to plow the ground because of the rocks in it. Can't say I blame him, I found one that was everything I could handle to move. So it is back to Plan A - me tilling it. He did have a suggestion which makes sense: this year, only use part of the area. He knows a lot of excavators and he recommended I use only part of entire area this year, have them bring in good dirt, not necessarily top soil but still good dirt, and add a foot-deep amount of it to the unused area.

This is looking better and better! My Plan A(1) now is to grow six rows of tomatoes (600 plants) a row of peppers, broccoli and sweet potatoes (100 each), two rows of Sugar Snap Peas, since they will take up the same space as one row of the above (1200 - and they will be replaced with beans/cucumbers in the summer) and a row of chard and onions (~600 each). Plus, I can interplant at least 100 heads of Romaine lettuce between the maters. Then this spring/early summer, before I have a lot of stuff to harvest, till some more ground and plant another row of short-season maters with lettuce between them as well as some acorn squash.

This may be a blessing in disguise. It will give me a great opportunity to get my feet really wet without having to worry about trying to run with the biggest dogs in the tallest weeds. Another advantage is that I will only need to till the area I plan to grow in and can leave the space between rows in sod. I tilled about 1000 sq. ft. twice today and though I feel like a whipped puppy now, I'm sure I get better at this.

Updates as they happen!

Mike
 

Downriver

Extreme Member
Sorry to hear the tractor fell through Mike, but like you say, it could be a blessing and certainly will be a back saver!

How's the tilling going? Got anything in the ground yet?
 
How's the tilling going? Got anything in the ground yet?

Slow and very slow! I've tilled yards that had been undisturbed, except for mowing, for decades and they were ten times easier. I did manage to transplant about 500 sugar snap peas but it is raining again and is suppose to keep raining, on and off the entire week.

Mike
 
Tim,

That site is undergoing "renovation." The bottom line is I found a rock too big to move, or in this case, too many to do anything with. No body was willing to risk their plows to turn the ground or their tillers to churn it up. No one has a disk that will do much more than cut 1/2 deep, and that is over three passes. An excavator I know, one looking for a free place to dump good clean fill dirt, is slowly adding 5-6 cubic yards at a time. The goal is to - over the next two years or so, reclaim all of it (it only needs another 469 cubic yards!) so that it will be fertile.

But... there is always a but...

A few weeks ago, we did out annual Spotlight on Hartwell. That's when we highlight a specific community and deliver a paper to each home. I wanted to do it right, so I took a paper up to every porch, about 700 homes or so. Along the way, I espied a nice piece of fenced property, land not too far from a major creek. The land use to be part of the fairgrounds but when the County/State built a 4-lane highway, it was split from the rest of the grounds. It has set empty since at least 1987 with only grass growing on it. 3/4 of an acre, maybe more if I want to use every nook and cranny. I just got back from showing it to the guy who is going to prepare it for planting. My plan is top use about 10,000 square feet of it, as I don't have enough plants to do more.

Mike
 
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