Friday, May 9, 2008

Irrigation and cheap labor

These pictures are about a week old and everything is so much bigger now. I really can't keep up.

Garden bed with "Freezonian" peas (from the Victory Seed Co.)in back and sprouting broccoli in front. I've transplanted some of the broccoli since the picture was taken. Thus far Freezonian hasn't performed very impressively overall. Growing very, very slowly. Of course it may be comforting for us all to note that we've just had a very cold winter without much snow and that Spring has been awfully dodgy too. Given another Spring with less challenging conditions, or perhaps planted in a less windy location, Freezonian might perform better...

Further peas (Wando and Alaska) with mizuma and arugula.
Our current high-tech. watering system includes me running out with the hose. The kale in the picture below, has wilted and is about to be watered. As the weather has warmed, we have days that are too warm for the cool season crops and wilting happens (especially with the almost constant wind...) My solution in this case was to increase the height of the hoops and use floating row cover over them to act as a shade cloth and to cut the wind. This worked very well- no more wilting. Note also that I have a pretty healthy layer of straw to act as a mulch, cut down on water loss and prevent the soil from crusting. Weeds are easier to dislodge too. The burlap sacks serve the same function for bare earth between beds and other areas. Russ likes to go hunting for worms under the burlap sacks and is learning to put them back properly.

Just starting to lay out the third bed. Dogs investigating.

The bed pictured above is basically a nursery bed, acting as a safe holding zone for leeks, onions, shallots, celeriac, cabbage, some turnips, beets and chard. I still find we have days when the wind is just so annoying that although I don't have to put down the plastic cover, I think the plants grow more quickly and are more healthy because I do. We're starting to lay out the third bed now, although we have to finish prepping the soil (and adding a little more) to the second bed. One of our dogs found me digging in the bottom of the second bed the other day, and suddenly found herself in the mood to help. She jumped in and started digging. As it worked out, I was tired of digging and found that I could get her to dig where I wanted, needing only to hold up a burlap sack to keep the soil from flying out of the bed. She dug for quite a while and loosened up most of the Northwestern corner of the bed. Dogs can be helpful in the garden...

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