Sunday, October 01, 2006

2006 Garden Assessment

The year is sliding away fast!

We're tearing down the garden, and CC is laying on the horse manure thickly as the ground is cleared of gardening infrastructure. Next year is already in the works. I'm hoping that next year we can roll out old hay and plant through it into the well manured and limed soil we've prepared this fall.

Our total production of vegetables was fairly high, but since only a few would come pick for themselves, harvesting added to the work load. Bless IC and BG for their hard work harvesting, without them a lot would have rotted. BG used her share to buy goodwill around the community. We took a load of tomatoes to the local cannery, ending up with lots of canned tomatoes and tomato juice. Thanks to IC, CC and his girlfriend we had enough help. I also have put up beets and chopped peppers

The drip tape was a good experiment, but no better than the overhead sprinklers, since we irrigate out of the lake. We still had split tomatoes and other over-watering problems, as well as breaks in the tape that caused dry areas. The drip tape has to use well water, double filtered, and the sprinklers can take the lake water, unfiltered.

The best weed barrier seems to be newspaper, although it's a stinker to put down. We used woven landscape cloth, in 3 foot and 6 foot widths, some with staples, some without. If that has dirt on top of it (to hold it down) the weeds grow right through it, making it hard to pull up in the fall. It is hard to plant through, since you don't want to make the holes for the plants too big. With bigger holes the weeds grow up neat to the plants, choking them out. The landscape cloth also unravels, leaving tough long strands in the dirt to tangle in wads on the tiller or tools. When you are rototilling to keep the weeds down, you can't get too close to the landscape cloth or you'll rip it up, along with your plants, so weeds get a good foothold at its edges, even with hoeing. Grrr. Back to straw or newspapers. Straw is expensive, so we used old hay, adding lots of weed seeds to the garden. Thick enough, it smothers even big weeds, but it's very labor intensive, unless you roll it out with the tractor, which works well.

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