A thousand square feet looks much smaller than it sounds. Meadow just sown and coveredIn what should be the first of several posts, this picture taken looking east on 2014-Nov-25 shows the results of our labors, a thousand square feet tilled, sown, and mulched. Not very impressive yet but we intend to regularly expand the area.

The tan expanse seen stretching across the picture was tilled weekly for a month and a half. The first session was to chop the existing turf; the later ones to bury any weedlings that had emerged. We unearthed a surprising number of fist-sized and larger stones in the process, a few of which managed to jam the tiller, and one of those refused to be dislodged. We had to use a masonry chisel to break it into pieces.

We began by seeding with a low growing prairie mix augmented with our hodge podge of seed packets of dubious viability accumulated over the years as party favors and door prizes at various nature and conservation events on behalf of pollinators. We also planted some viper’s bugloss seeds in the center of the eastern edge. The plant, a highly recommended nectar source, is uncomfortable to touch so this would keep it from walkers around the perimeter. The left corner has a transplanted russian sage and the right a shrubby St. John’s wort. The two orange stakes on the eastern edge (zoom in quite a bit to see) each mark a mountain mint.

All our tilled ground was finally covered with marsh grass, which introduces fewer weed seeds than straw would.

The tan strip on the left with spindly shrubbery is a stretch of ground that received similar treatment. In this case we transplanted our bush cherries into it, moving the someday hedge and windbreak for the beehives several feet forward, and overseeded with clover before mulching. To the left of that is the wall of bales with the hives behind it. The green bit between hedge-to-be and meadow-to-come is an area that remained untilled due to a very wide if low tree stump.

By now the snow has finally departed, even the reluctant mound in the shadow of a parked car. The vernal equinox has come and gone. At long last our first daffodils bloomed two days ago. Eventually we shall see some shoots in the meadow poking through the marsh grass. Then we shall wait even more impatiently for the blooms.