A few years ago, I was building a cob-wood shed on 40 acres I own in Talkeetna (a mile off the road system). It involved lots of digging and mucking in dirt. I only got it half done, and my trips to Talkeetna have gotten fewer and fewer as I started a full time job and my life centered in Anchorage, with my kid in school and buying the 4-plex putting the final nails in the coffin. Oh well, someday…My current foundation insulation project was extreme digging in dirt. Luckily, I finished moving the last big piles of dirt this weekend, and we are pretty much ready for winter. My back is a bit tweaked, but it will hopefully recover before snow-shoveling season! Both driveways are now open, and all I really want to do is move the big concrete blocks to a better place for the winter, so I can create paths with them next spring. I have planted 2 lilacs, a crab apple, creeping thyme and columbine on the east side of the house, and I just got a truckload of mulch from the muni woodlot (free!) to spread under the drip lines and around some of the front yard. I could use more, but soon I’ll have a snow mulch. Spring will be so much fun as I fill in the bare spaces with plants and trees and flowers!
Gardening is my other dirt activity. This year, however, I tried growing potatoes in tire stacks with leaves. To be fair, I started with 4 very small seed potatoes, didn’t feed them much other than the leaves, and put them in a shady area. Two of them grew pretty well as you can see:
And the worms were very happy with the living arrangement:
But the yield wasn’t spectacular. Still probably about 3 times what I planted, but not tires full of potatoes. In fact, only the bottom of the stack, where the originaly seed potato had sat, had potatoes. My CSA farmers also felt they got reduced yields after a hilling experiment this summer. So I’m thinking that Alaskan potatoes don’t like to be hilled/stacked. Next year, probably back to the old-fashioned potatoes in the ground!