25 June 2016

How we'll dig the grass...

     As mentioned in several earlier posts we continue to plant the bright green spreading zoysia grass at the base of each coconut tree at False Bluff.
     However, in order to plant the grass we have to dig it up first.  The stuff forms a tight mat, kind of like steel wool, so it doesn't come up with just a tug - it has to be cut with a blade and pried out of the ground.  Until now a spade has been involved which makes the job even more intense because the blade's pointy.  
     And since we often dig twenty or so plugs at a time, we don't dig large plugs.  Small plugs don't deplete existing mats of the grass so quickly. And because there's not just the grass but about an inch of soil that comes up with each plug, moving a load of smaller plugs over a distance of some acres from tree to tree as they're planted is easier.  
     Not that doing any of this is easy...just easier.  
     Each plug we've dug and planted in the past has been about 4" square - a lot of digging time. When possible we use the spade to cut a strip 4" wide and about 3' long. Then we slice this 3' long strip (stripe?) into 4" pieces...like cutting up a skinny sheet cake.
     These small plugs - each one planted at the base of a coconut tree - are how all of this grass at False Bluff got started....'cause there sure wasn't any there to begin with. 

     But work is underway to open a plant nursery at False Bluff (more about this later) and so being able to quickly dig plugs of a consistent size is going to be important: the grass won't be put into containers ahead of time but rather dug at the time of order.
     This tool is what we've come up with.  Made to order in Bluefields, it's the big sister to a bulb planter, even with the taper.  This will give us the consistently-sized plug; and when the metal handle's added (what's shown below is a wooden broom handle that wouldn't survive long) we'll be able to stomp the tool down into the grass and lever a plug right out of the ground.  
     This is gonna be a one-stomp process rather than the four-stomp-or-more process that's been required by the spade.