Tag Archives: sod

Homestead Update 4/16/2017

16 Apr

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I had some slopes on the Homestead that were starting to wash and develop the beginnings of gullies so I went to the Nursery and bought 1/2 of a pallet of Zoysia Sod.

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I used my Kubota tractor and disc to work and loosen the soil before laying the sod. Since then I have been watering the sod every day and it is supposed to rain several days in the coming week so I hope it takes hold. If this works out I plan on doing more of this next Spring because I have several spots with washes starting.

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The lettuce in the raised bed is doing really well. Sweet Thing picked a big mess to take to the in-laws for Easter dinner and I expect it will be delicious.

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Speaking of Sweet Thing, she has been working to straighten up and organize her sewing room. I noticed 5 different sewing machines over there and I asked her why she needed so many. She asked me how many woodworking saws I had so I just shut up and smiled!

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She really has everything neat and organized. Maybe I should ask her to come straighten out my workshop!

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On the bee keeping front, I caught my first ever cluster swarm. This lady called three weeks ago and said she had a swarm in a bush, but before I could get there the bees left. Then she called a few days ago about this swarm.

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The swarm was so low to the ground I couldn’t rake them into the box so I just reached into the swarm and pulled off several double handfuls of bees and dropped them into the box. Eventually the stragglers began to go into the opening on their own.

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After the cluster got smaller, I got brave and removed my glove and scooped up a handful of bees barehanded. That is a really strange feeling to have a hand full of bees, and not one single sting! I transferred them into a hive when I got home and now after 5 days they seem to be doing fine.

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I was out and about putting out my swarm traps and I noticed this shrub. There were many of them in this fence line and most of them had really pretty red flowers on them. I researched it and determined it is a native plant “Red Buckeye”. I think it will be suitable for naturalizing so I am going to dig up some of the smaller ones and replant them. Have any of you had any experience with this plant? And oh yeah, my swarm traps. I put out 22 traps, some of them have been out 3 weeks, some 2 weeks and some 1 week. I checked them all Friday and I had no bees. Skunked! 0 for 22. I still expect to capture several swarms and I’ll keep you posted.

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I hope all of you had a peaceful, blessed Easter. Keep prepping everyone!

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Roundup Wick Applicator Update

31 Jul

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After I had the problem of leakage with my home-made handheld rope wick applicator I went out and bought one ready-made. It looks almost like the one I made myself doesn’t it?

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The only two differences are the rope is a tighter weave and it has this rubber seal. I had already been told that if you put straight water in this rig, it will leak because the water is too thin. When you mix in the glyphosate it will be thicker and not leak so much. So I filled this with a 50/50 mix and I had major leakage! Maybe my homemade model wasn’t so bad after all. I called the manufacturer and was told after I used and refilled the unit a few times the rope would get “broken in” and would not leak as much but there could always be a little leakage. I was cautioned to not hold it above the desirable plants. Well, that is hard to do in my sod.

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I wiped the grass coming through my sod and as you can see the glyphosate is working. I hope the barnyard grass dies and goes away, that is the plan anyway. More updates to come.

Handheld Roundup Rope Wick Applicator

21 Jul

If you remember we recently laid a lot of Bermuda sod around the house. Well, now we have a lot of our old grasses such as barnyard and goose grass growing up through our new sod. This just won’t do! So I need a handheld Roundup rope wick applicator . I tried to find one locally in some of the area farm supply stores but none were available. I found some on the internet for sale but I also found some instructions for making your own. How hard can it be?

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So off to Lowes I go and come back with these PVC fittings and 3 feet of nylon rope.

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After you put it together it looks just like this, exactly like the ones I saw for sale on the net. You pour the Roundup solution into the handle of the applicator and the rope at the bottom soaks up the Roundup and you carefully wipe the rope across the weeds while avoiding contact with the desirable plants. You can use this in your yard, or around your shrubs and flowers or in your garden. It would really cut down on that hoeing wouldn’t it?

After I got it together I poured a pint of water into the handle to test it out.

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Then I saw this; water just streaming out of the fitting dripping everywhere. That just won’t do, I can’t have Roundup dripping all over my desirable plants. So I go back and reread the instructions and I decide I don’t have enough twine wrapped inside the cap to provide a good seal so I go back and re-do the twine.

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Still dripping! That is when I realize I have a failure of epic proportions! After looking at it more closely I think my rope is just way too loose and porous. The water is not coming out around the rope, it is coming out through the rope. I am going to find a tighter weaved rope and give it one more try. If that doesn’t work I guess I will have to break down and just buy one.

Equipment Envy!

17 Jun

Yesterday I showed you what the lawn looked like before and after the sod was laid.

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They brought out a nice 40 HP tractor with a special piece of equipment attached.

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This is a Woods TPR 6000 Landscaping Power Rake.

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When the landscaper starting describing what he would do to prepare the soil I pictured in my mind something like a PTO driven garden tiller like I have seen on the dealer’s lots. But this is really just a steel pipe with 2 inch steel fingers sticking out. The PTO spins the pipe and the fingers loosen the soil and pull out the existing vegetation. Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? That will never work!

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The first pass looked like this.

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But after 3 passes it looked like this, WOW! All the little washes and gullies were filled in and there was a nice 2 inch layer of loose soil prepared to lay the sod on.

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They even used it to pulverize and level out the gravel driveway. Man, I need one of those badly! I will always have some rough, washed out places somewhere on the homestead, after all, there is very little of this property on the level, most of it is on a slope. I looked up that equipment on the internet and the average cost is $6500 dollars. YIKES! I guess I don’t need one that badly after all! The landscaper said I could rent one like that for $75 a day. At that rate I could rent it 2 days a year  for 43 years and it would still be cheaper for me to rent one, and the rental company would have to pay the repair and upkeep costs. So next Spring I think I will just rent one and smooth out the rough spots and sling out some grass seeds. That should help keep things in shape around here, more to come.

We Got Laid Yesterday!

16 Jun

That’s right, we finally got our sod laid yesterday! We have been waiting to have a dry weekend for 8 weeks so we could get our yard finished. I will admit it really looks good now, but I didn’t just do it for the looks, I needed to control the erosion occurring on the slopes running away from the house.

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We needed an entire truckload of sod, I’m glad I didn’t have to lay it down myself.

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The sod was cut into pieces about 18 inches by 30 inches. The soil with the roots was only about an inch thick but the owner of the sod farm assured Sweet Thing that would be all we needed. The landscaper sent out three Mexicans Latinos about 8:30 am and three more came out about 1:00. They didn’t leave until 9:00 pm and they barely took a break the entire time.

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This is what the side looked like before they started.

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Now it looks like this, instant lawn! Tomorrow I will show you the equipment they used to prepare the soil before they laid the sod.

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Much, much better don’t you think?

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They staggered the pieces and laid them down like shingles on the roof.

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Here is some of the crew hard at work.

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This is the other side of the lawn where the erosion was especially bad. Needless to say, we are delighted with the way it looks for now. If you look closely you can see 3 sprinklers running to water the sod. The landscaper and I quickly realized we had made a bit of a mistake and we should have split the job into two parts. Why you might ask? Well, I don’t have nearly enough water pressure to run 3 sprinklers adequately at one time, let alone 6 at a time like I planned. The weather forecast is an 80% chance of rain tomorrow, let’s hope they are right. More to come!