Category Archives: water

“Hiring” Some Employees for your Garden

Now this is a tongue in cheek reference making sure you have enough worms and other useful   partners in your garden.
Good soil with plenty of organic material added to build it up and fortify it for current and long term production. Having a compost pile and adding the properly aged compost to the garden builds the  soil and aids in growth and production. BUT WORMS …..

Worms that move into your garden perform 3 basic tasks :

1. Worm “tunnels” allow for beneficial wate and air to get into the soil

2. Worm ‘castings’ ( manure) enrich the soil

3. Worms participate in breaking down organic materials addd to the garden

A gardener can purchase worms but in many cases these will no survive the relocation . Worms can be purchased and used in a vermicomposting system. The best plans for filling a garden with helpful “employees” is to invite them in year round. One trick to invite worms during the growing season is to use worm tubes and veggie kitchen scraps .


Another method is to build up soil in the off season by adding leaves, leaf mold, coffee grounds, compost, kitchen scraps to the garden beds. If the general area soil is healthy Worms will come to materials to be broken down. The worms will stay in The area to aerate th soil and fertilize with castings.


With enough worms, ongoing composting and well planned gardens the soil will become and remain a powerhouse for years to come.
@martyroddy

65 Degrees at Christmas- My Bulbs are Sprouting

Welcome to Christmas season 2015 and in Central Virginia a time of spring-like temperatures have delivered a very warm and unseasonable Christmas holiday.

Now the lack of fireplace use and chestnut is not the only concern with this weather,especially if you are a gardener.

This warm weather has caused many trees to begin budding early and many flowering bulbs have sprouted after the short cold period early in the fall.

Will the flowers be ruined for spring time color? Will they be damaged?

What about the trees? AND

Is there anyting we can do to counter the problem?

*****************************

There is not much threat of damage if the bulbs do not flower and only the green leaves sprout. There is a good chance that the flower will arrive in spring , though it may be ealier than is the norm. Do not to do anything to try and help the bulbs. The flowers are still inside the bulbs.

Mulching is not recommended as this may kill the plant and bulb and prevent future growth. A heavy spread of frozen mulch can do more damage than strange weather. Now a light spread of compost or composted mulch around and on the leaves might be helpful – I would suggest that the leaves still be visible and open to the sun. Photosynthesis cn still occur and the bulbs will remain viable. You may still lose the bloom this year but the bulb will survive to produce another season.

There is even less that can be done for trees that have begin to Bud Out.

Be patient, enjoy the weather since snow shovels may be needed soon enough and this warmth will be gone.

Planning and Planting a Drought Tolerant Vegetable Garden

In Virginia we have had summer heat and dryness earlier . May and June presented many hot dry days and for some people the result is a stunted garden that was hit with heat before the roots and established at a safe depth to thrive in the heat of summer.

After we/you do some “regular” watering to keep everything growing………

WHAT CAN BE DONE FOR THIS SEASON?

The next question is , HOW CAN WE PREVENT THIS PROBLEM IN THE FUTURE?

Immediate Solution / Actions:

Water more frequently in smaller amounts. Water directly without sprinkler or over head water spraying gear. This will limit evaporation and get the most water to the roots. The plants will get stronger as the roots spread and reach more deeply into the soil. They will also get more of the necessary nutrients from the soil (and those added), as the roots grow and reach the plant becomes stronger. The stronger plnt will have deeper roots and greater ability to survive tough weather

HOW to MULCH  EACH PLANT ? :

If you have mulched already- how thick is it? What material did you use? What if the soils is naked now?…..What do you have to mulch with right now?
BIG MULCH QUESTION(s)- Can water flow through to the soil/roots? Does it remain damp?

You will need a BIO-degradable material and I have found cut grass to be the best option, since it is readily available, porous and lightly colored ( so it won’t get too HOT !!)

Rake up  some freshly cut grass ( or use the grass catcher when cutting)  and spread it  around the base of each plant or along the rows. Strive for a 2-4 inch layer of grass . May build up to 4 inches over 2 or 3 lawn mowing efforts.  give each newly mulched plant a bit of water to fix the grass in place and to start the process.

Mulch will serve a few purposes- 1) keep the ground cool   2) break down for soil amendment and BIGGIE 3) will help soil hold the water and keep it with the plant and roots.

Other mulch materials- chopped leaves (if whole- runner through mower), pine needles, shredded paper mixed with leaves or grass [don’t shred

LEAVES OF GRASS

] , wood chips, saw dust, or compost.

https://twitter.com/martyroddy

Thoughts ideas- borrowed from the web/brain of others

I am dying to jump into the garden- tomorrows morning run will include a 30 minute visit to the garden plot and some work…..(CROSS-TRAINING anyone? )

 

Helping friends with a garden and have a few stumps to play with so the following may be good idea. 

http://audaxdesign.co.uk/2014/02/22/picpost-stumped/

Also concerned with heavy rain/flooding that we dealt with last year. I have added a 2nd layer of wooden pallets to raised the beds even more- here are some more ideas.

http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/using-permaculture-design-prepare-floods

 

Always glad to find pallet ideas for garden and home- 

http://audaxdesign.co.uk/2014/02/10/pallets-into-gardeners-delight/

Image

Some pallets for double decker raised bed(burlap bags for weed control)

Snowy day- Garden Planning, Reading and Dreaming

 

I spent a little time at my garden plot yesterday – dropping off coffee grounds from the coffee shop and mixing with dried leaves as I build up the beds for spring and summer.

The beds being developed are for beans, peas and squash. They will also have poles/teepees to climb and maximize the space.

My favorite poles are bamboo cut from a local “wild”patch.

I have been thinking of adding some potatoes to the garden this year. This is just for fun since they are quite inexpensive to buy at the Farmers Market- BUT they are such a rewarding plant. I have seen a few plans for building towersto maximize the growth of spuds in small spaces- The following was the first I found on a random search.

http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/how-to-build-a-potato-tower/

I am also adding a 2nd layer of wooden pallets to raise the beds in the garden to provide for deeper roots and protect against the flooding like we had last year. Hopefully I will grow some full sized veggies this year , rather than the stunted babies I got last year.

Image

 

Some of the following ideas I found with a quick search. I may add starwberries as well as potatoes. Pallets make great sense for this sweet treat.

http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/pallet-gardening-the-strawberries-are-going-bonkers/

This article has a lot of fun ideas- many of which i have seen and read and tried in the past.

https://brightnest.com/posts/learn-to-make-a-pallet-garden-in-7-easy-steps

 

Link

More Hugelkultur Info and more Garden output later.

More Hugelkultur Info and more Garden output later.

Planning with hugelkultur for dry summers based on the last 2 years- of course this year we have been quite wet.

Need to build at least 2 more beds before next summer.

Finally summer- like and Some dry sunny days.

Now that the hottest week of summer has passed and the early summer rainy season has passed. The plants have a chance dry out and grow. After several weeks of wet-feet the plants that survived now have the chance to grow and produce flowers and fruit. Image

After 3 sunny days without rain the sun and dry warm earth gave the wet plants a chance to grow and start producing. A slow growing cucumber took off, grew 18” and produced the first cucumber of the season, tomatoes grew 3-6” each and the cabbage started to fill out. Herbs that had been doing well took off, rosemary went from 12’ to 26”, parsley filled out and winter savory exploded in size. Greens remained leggy and will be turned under as a manure and 2nd planting of green beans were removed after bugs took over. The new beans sprouted in 5 days and are about to climb the bamboo teepee- time to keep them protected and sprayed with a little soap and onion tea….

Now a week later the melons and squash are flowering and climbing. They should be fruiting  soon and if I can keep them wet enough  and producing food .  I have 2 kinds of melons plus 2 winter squash and some fun patty-pan summer squash. No Zucchini or crookneck squash this year( plenty from friends). Image

Recent floods didn’t seem to tear my garden up as much as some of my neighbors, the pallet based raised beds seem to be helping. The goal at the end of the season will be to build up double-decker or triple level pallets for deeper root options and to better handle heavy rains. The raised beds will also make it easier to control irrigation in the event of dry or drought like summer.

The hugelkultur hill I built seems to be working well but I need to perfect the process. I have plans to build at least 1 more.

I have started some fall kale and it seems to be coming up nicely and I will thin it shortly.

  I have collards and beets for another fall crop and will some start some garlic for next year.