So… 2016’s garden was a fail.
I’m glad I don’t have to rely on these crops for food or income.
Where we lived in Hawaii didn’t want me putting anything in the ground. So everything I planted was either in aquaponics (which I SO miss!) or in containers.
I was excited to have my own place where I could put a garden in the ground.
I loved the documentary Back To Eden, and really enjoy the concept of bio intensive gardening as well. However after just buying a house there was zero extra money to get anything to do raised beds. So I thought I’d just give it a try directly in the ground.
I attempted the 3 sisters in the backyard. The corn came up, but we’ve had record breaking rain fall for the month of July. Which I learned today is bad for corn since the pollination happens from the tassels at the top of the plant, to the tassels on each ear of corn. I had no clue that each tassel of corn went to a specific kernel of corn. You can see in the photo that some of the kernels obviously didn’t get fertilized. One bean plant came up, maybe two but never really did anything and I had a zuchinni plant that flowered, but I don’t think anything ever came of it either.
The soil here is heavy in clay. I broke a shovel when I was digging the three sisters bed. I double dug the beds like the bio intensive method tells you to do. I should have taken the grass layer and disposed of it, I just turned it over into the dirt which caused my beds to be overrun with weeds.
I’m a mosquito magnet and I hate being hot. So being outside and getting eaten by mosquitos in the 90 degree heat didn’t sound like much fun. So my beds were not well weeded.
I planted some mums in my front garden bed with the tomatoes. I learned about companion planting from some friends here. The mum plants got ginormous. In the future I’ll keep all of my flowers in pots so I can move them around.
My tomatoes got taken over by stink bugs, which I read was partly because I didn’t weed well. Whoops.
One of our neighbors has a BEAUTIFUL garden, he uses the square foot method. Planting everything in 4×4′ squares. I think I’ll try that next year.
I harvested some vermicompost the other day, got a little less than a 3 gallon bucket full. Put it around my raspberry and blackberry bushes, on top of some newspaper which will hopefully keep some of the weeds down.
I got a tree saw so that will help my berry bushes get some more sun when I get outside and start hacking away.
I also built my own compost tumbler. Compost tumblers are expensive, like $100+. There are DIY’s for it, but I’m completely not handy at all so that’s out, plus building materials add up too. I found a youtube video that took a locking lid trash can and drilled holes in it. That I can do, so once a week I kick/roll it around my back patio to stir it up. Much easier than trying to turn a pile with a pitchfork.
Compost really fascinates me.
Next year I’ll make sure all of my beds have a newspaper or cardboard layer to suppress weeds. Which means I’ll have to add woodchips or potting soil and compost. That stuff really adds up in cost. I want a small truck so I can just haul this stuff around easily. A decent wheel barrow (I always thought it was wheel barrel) is expensive too! Dang expensive hobbies.
I’ve got one bag of potting soil left in my basement, I might throw down some cardboard on one of these beds and grow some green manure seeds that I bought and then chop and drop.
I’d also like a mulcher, but they are wicked expensive as well. The electronic one which was like $200 doesn’t get great reviews. Maybe I’ll keep with our amish lawn roots and just chop small limbs manually with some hand shears haha.
Oh yeah… the basil and mint are doing well in pots.
And the poison ivy is doing real well near the driveway.
Thanks for reading #famerjim