Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Our sixth season gardening

It's early July, and we are well in to the sixth season of gardening here on our little farm. We've learned a lot, gotten better at it, but still have a long way to go. While we are planting a large garden that provides nearly all our veggie needs, its productivity and long term health still need improving. Just a look at our neighbors smaller, but lush and very well done garden reminds us that we are still on a journey.

Things that we've noticed so far this year:

We've been putting composted cow manure in the rows for three years now, and each year it seems the soil tilth is better, and the plants are more vigorous. We get some weed seed along with the nutrients, but they are mostly broadleaf weeds that pull or hoe very easily as long as we get them young.

By far our best year yet for peas. Party of it is better soil tillage, better soil because of the manure, better plant spacing, and more careful watering, but I still wonder if there is some other unnoticed variable of spring weather patterns that the pleas  just like this year.

Our first year for Colorado potato beetles. They finally found us. We have about 120 linear feet ( 36m) of potatoes, and about half have shown infestation. We are hand picking every other day or so, and so far the damage is not too bad.

Our brassicas show little cabbage moth damage so far, but will keep monitoring, as we had them last year, and there is still a ways to go. We've been harvesting kale and collards leaves, but the broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts still are at risk.

Much less vole and rabbit damage this year- all the upgrades to the fencing has paid off, and we did not try sweet potatoes this year after last year's vole carnage. Might try them again next year, but need to come up with a trick to keep the voles at bay.

Have been lousy at taking photos, but here is a shot of our yard- we stopped mowing when the birds foot trefoil came on. Since we have two beehives now, we want plenty of food for them.