Garden Do’s and Don’ts
Our 2015 gardening plan included a lot of experimenting. Some places are definitely more experimental than others! It’s great because it’s adding to our first-hand knowledge and experience bank. Everything we need to know about doing our best next year can be found right here, right now, this year.
Experiments that are working really well, for example, include the HügelKultur archways to support cucumbers, squash and ornamental gourds.
HügulKultur “is a composting process employing raised planting beds constructed on top of decaying wood debris and other compostable biomass plant materials. The process helps to improve soil fertility, water retention, and soil warming, thus benefiting plants grown on or near such mounds.” -wikipedia
Ours is affectionately called The Horseshoe because of it’s shape. Here are some pics of it’s development. On the rounded end of the Horseshoe we have planted squash and a variety of berry bushes.
What didn’t work so well was not staking the tomatoes. I think the idea was that the steep slope of the horseshoe would give the tomatoes some ‘lift’ and encourage them to make good use of their real estate. For the longest time the tomato transplants didn’t grow much and then all of a sudden in the middle of a million other projects they took off like crazy. Now they look like this! We are thinning and staking them up as best we can. Next year we know better!
Another experiment we have is awesome in one place and a ‘learning experience’ in another, it’s the straw and hay bales. Here you can see we planted peppers and tomatoes into the small square bales and they are struggling.
And here, we used a chainsaw to carve out a deep dish into the top of old round bales, filled the dish with compost and direct sowed melon seeds into it. Not only does the whole thing look cool, but the melons are looking great!
We now know that the we were too hasty to plant into the square bales, they should have been aged first and even inoculated to boost their fertility as a good home for plants. We think this is why the large bales are working great. The large bales have been sitting on the property for a while and the square bales were purchased new.
And some of the wonderful food we have enjoyed, the profits of our labor!