A while back, I said I had cleared about 5,000 square feet for a garden this summer. And that was technically true -- I cut down the trees and cleared the brush, and basically made a field.
Turns out, that was about 5% of the work.
It's old farmland that has been overgrown, and there are shallow root systems all across it. I set aside about 300 square feet, a more realistic first attempt, and set to digging out stumps and pulling out roots. Which immediately created empty pockets in the soil, which started to flood.
The field no longer drains correctly. I can see the old furrows and there is a definite slope to it,. but the soil is covered by dead and shallow-rooted plants (those awful rose bushes), which are also keeping it from draining well. So I spent the day diging trenches around the plot.
As you can see from the photo, it's basically mud and chaos.
But the trench is working, surprisingly well. The garden plot is drying quickly and there is water moving through the trench so rapidly that you can hear it. My plan is to focus on the small garden initially, and to slowly work the rest of the field back into shape this summer, pulling out stumps and roots and digging a series of trenches.
Of course, I've never actually grown anything before. So there's that.
Starting seeds this week.