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first garden post

The other thing I'd be migrating over to this account is the garden-related posting.

The garden is composed of about 200 square feet of (slightly) raised beds and about 350 square feet of 3-foot wide rows.  The whole shebang is surrounded by a rabbit-proof fence:  4 feet tall, slightly buried into the ground to deter digging animals. 


The fence is crucial - otherwise I'd just be providing a gourmet feast for rabbits and woodchucks.  It's composed of PVC (schedule 40) pipe, chicken wire, plastic fencing, and zip ties.  Inexpensive, if not the most environmentally ideal choice.

I practice crop rotation.  Since the beds are physically close, this won't deter all pests and diseases.  But it's surprisingly effective - many problems live in a particular patch of soil and do not migrate, or do so very slowly.  Starved of their food source for a season or three, they are no longer a real problem.

I use chemicals as a last resort - the last time was years ago.  Currently, I'm not using animal-based soil amendments or fertilizers.  This may need to change, as the ground's a bit lean and animal products are an efficient way to amend.  If I were better about composting, I'd have plenty of fine organic matter to add.  I'll try to get better. 

Main amendments/fertilizers are cottonseed meal, greensand, gypsum (just for calcium for the tomatoes), and Speedy-Grow (mainly kelp concentrate, for foliar feeding).

I order most of my seeds from Fedco (and potatoes from Moose Tubers), also Baker Creek and Kitazawa.  And Johnny's, just so I can stay on their mailing list.

I'll attempt to grow anything once.  I have the best luck with pole beans and with potatoes.  I do okay growing most other things.  I often don't do well growing things from the mustard family (with the exception of tatsoi) and - embarrassingly - zucchini.  I adore cutting celerys (zwolsche krul is my favorite). 

I've dabbled in providing CSA-like bags of food for friends, and similar bags of food for Z's house rabbits.

On the list:  actually find the time to plant for fall this year, install drip irrigation (ordered from Fedco, just need to get it set up), make rainbarrels (I have 55-gal drums:  brown rice barrels from a local organic food store), and set up a proper root cellar.  And, of course, document better.  Main thing on the list for this year is to re-test the soil (it's been a while) and amend so it will be ready in spring.

Phenology's also been a recent interest. 

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Friending welcome, but lurking is fine too.

Constructive criticism is also welcome - whatever it is, trust me, I've heard worse.

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