Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mountain Garden Update


video

My garden is doing pretty good all things considered.


The area I chose to develop into a garden late last fall is 12 feet x 15 feet and the only area which receives more than 8 hours of sunshine per day because of the deep forest which surrounds the homestead.


Previously a jeep had been parked there. That was sold for scrap a couple years ago, giving me a vacant flat spot which I defined by laying down logs.


As I dug into the soil-clay-rock I realized we would face serious challenges in aeration and root development. So, leaves, compost pile, saved coffee grounds, and excavated soil from the driveway embankment were layered and encouraged to rot.


In March I turned the new soil, raked it as much as possible and began planting seeds. The short video of its humble beginnings is posted at


http://www.youtube.com/user/brawny03 entitle Mountain Garden.


Bear prints were seen later that month, and I sorta blame those bears for eating some seeds, or at least rearranging them. I put up a scarecrow, placed moth balls under a nearby board, and never saw evidence of bear again.

Onions did very well, and next year I'll get more onion sets. I worked in Zion National Park for 3 months so my partner looked after the young plants. Mostly, things were allowed to flourish as "green manure" , a way to build soil and nitrogen by composting directly the vegetation grown in it.

When I returned home last month, summer squash and zucchini were producing, a few beans had dried on the vines and recycled into second generation plants shown here in the video. Beans are great soil builders.





We harvested just two small butternut squash. Excellent eating. Next years should be bigger. Simply peel, slice and saute in a frying pan with some onions, salt and black pepper for a delicious side dish.

The marigolds, used as natural pest deterrents, are flourishing.

All told, I'm quite happy with the progress. I plan to keep the seeds from the squash and use them next spring.

I broadcast lime pellets when blossom end rot kept appearing in Septembers crop of squashes. Hopefully, in time to prevent the tomatoes from that fate.

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