Tending One’s Own Garden

Food crops need sun, water, and attention.

Next year we shall be more careful choosing where to plant, as our efforts this year have been undone somewhat by planting in areas with too much shade.  I guess that’s why they call them “sunflowers.”

The small irrigated test garden received more water than the large plot but the shade cast by one of our several black walnut trees proved too much for the collards, beets, and second-planting onions.  We had success earlier in the season with turnips as well as first-crop onions, but as the sun shifted in the sky and the trees came fully into leaf the available photons diminished from our seat-of-the-pants calculus done in early Spring.

In the lower un-irrigated plot we have managed to harvest pie pumpkins, and there are melons ripening on the vines.  But all are scrambling to find more sunlight.  The corn and beans have been unimpressive, although their lack of enthusiasm we feel has as much to do with the absence of rainfall.

The yellow squash and recently the cucumbers have produced well.  They were planted in the locations with the most morning sunlight, away from the shade of the pines.

All respond immediately to water. The pumpkins and squash will flower overnight, and the bees will show up for work in the morning.  The challenge next year will be designing a second rainwater collection-storage-distribution system away from the already in-place roof collector of the little cabin.

We consider the Irish Spring soap suspended in the air around our gardens to be a success story, as there is no observed deer damage.   For that matter, there appears to be no other critter damage.  It could be that the quality of our produce did not meet their standards.  The experiment shall continue next year. Continue reading