Saturday, October 24, 2009
THE Gardening Book!
The most awesome book ever. Hubby bought it for me a couple of years ago and I read it cover to cover. We have gradually implemented a lot of the book on our farm. We have made many many changes from the first garden my mom planted for us our first year here. We have used a lot of the information and applied it to our strawberries too!
My mom plants a traditional garden with rows of veggies all planted at the same time. Which means they’re all ready at the same time. ACK. See me go crazy as I blanch ten gazillion pots of green beans!
There are a lot of aisles and not a lot of veggies and the weeds are outrageous. Add to this such nasty habits like putting moth balls under the cabbage/cauli/broccoli to stop the cabbage maggot (it works) to copious amounts of chemical fertilizer added to the soil.
We stopped the moth balls the second year much to my mum’s chagrin and this year have not allowed any chemical fertilizers. She freaked. The garden was a gorgeous jungle. Ok Ok the weather was spectacular this summer, hubby had the whole garden on a drip system on a tight schedule and we added a bunch of manure.....but still!
The basic premise (if that isn’t an oxymoron I don’t know what is) is that W ide rows O rganic methods, R aised beds and D eep Soil mean a very very healthy garden.
You have to get the WORD from the Veggie Bible!
So in a new garden area this year (We had the pigs on it last year which also contributed to the oh 300 or so squashes I'm giving away to everyone that dares to enter my house.....I digress AGAIN.) I dug up raised beds. A great experiment. Some were too narrow, some too wide – and from it I learned. First to put a big bandaid on my thumb before digging and second that it works.
With this system you dig permanent raised beds and you never til your garden again. You never stir up weed seeds. You weed religiously and weeds eventually die out as you high density plant your veggies to out compete weeds…..You never walk on your beds, you walk in your aisles. You continually add compost and amendments to the raised bed areas to keep the soil organisms happy.
The book is well written and common sensesical (?). I found myself going “yah” a lot. It just seemed to make sense. It is a good winter read and inspiring to say the least. I highly recommend it!
So our French woofs helped us build the raised beds in our “old” garden area this year. Hubby and I decided we wanted them tractor wheel width so that we could add amendments (compost, manure, etc) easily. Hubby was conveniently away hunting moose when the work began. So when we built the first bed and then the second I could see they weren’t wide enough. So I decided we only needed to build every other raised bed tractor wheel width, so we modified the second raised bed to become a wide one and then another narrow one… So I decided that a) we didn’t even need to build every other raised bed tractor wheel width as long as we could shovel out of the bucket sideways…..and b) the first wide raised bed was too wide. By now the French Man was miming shooting himself in the head and the French Mama was agreeing with me and busy measuring and discussing with me our options. They plan to build raised beds in their garden when they get home (they read our bible too.) And grow squash. And grow late caulies (yes I’m STILL harvesting cauliflowers!) I digress. We come to an agreement as to the perfect width (amazingly EXACTLY what it said in the book DOH!) and continued with 1 narrow 2 wide 1 narrow 2 wide for the rest of the garden. The last 3 or 4 raised beds are fairly weedy as they were grass/turf…(you can see it in the photos to the far left) so now we’ve mulched with leaves and manure and will cover for a year before planting in them. The worms and etc. can take care of the dying weeds.
Isn’t my future garden a thing of beauty?
Had to include a photo of our spinach and wonderful parsnips! You can see our rye/vetch cover crop to the right - we will be plowing this in in the spring and planting strawberries!