A little late but we got the garden planted today. The weather hasn’t been hot but it sure has been good growing for established plants; our grass and fruit trees are going wild. I think this could be a banner year for fruit. Our summer garden has quite a variety this year including zucchini, crookneck, spaghetti and kuri squash; rutabega; leeks and red and white onions; carrots including bolero and flyaway; beets, tomatoes, lettuce and rhubarb. In the orchard this year, we have four varieties of apples, two pears, three plums and a cherry. When it cools, we’ll plant some peas, broccoli and cauliflower. Our herb garden will have oregano, cilantro, garlic, parsley, chives and basil to name a few. It’s shaping up to be a great year in the garden and now that hydro has picked up the ol’ fridge and we’ve made a pet food storage unit of the ol’ freezer, we have a lot more room for preserves, canning and freezing. I just have to finish the article on root cellars now! Stay tuned to see what happens!
Holidays. A time to relax, unwind…work on another project! Well, with a heat-wave pending, I decided that I better get the garden ‘soaker’ system set up. First step was to dig out some trenches for the water pipe, black 75 PSI. Here’s a tip; don’t buy irrigation materials (hose, connectors, faucets etc) in the irrigation section of your hardware store – they’re twice as expensive as the components in the plumbing section. I checked into wholesale prices but didn’t have the volume to get deals. Anyway, I looked at a brass faucet manifold (one hose connection, expanding to 4 faucets) and it was $99. Crazy. Anyway, if you can’t buy it you can make it. The manifold I made, with two tap faucets and two ball joint faucets cost me about $25 and some time and I think it actually works quite well.
So after the trenches were dug and manifold complete, I laid out the water pipe, added some connectors then Josée helped me to lay out the soaker hose. We can now water the entire veggie garden (about 25×40 in the main garden, 15×40 in the corn and bean garden) with the flick of one ball joint tap lever. In addition, I calculated that if we use the soaker hose at night, we’ll reduce our water consumption for the veggie garden by about 70 percent versus conventional sprinkler watering. This fact along with the ease of watering made this project very satisfying from a few perspectives.
Next project – retaining walls!
I’ve had a few emails from blog subscribers in the US and UK regarding our garden so here is a bit of an update. Let me say that we are still in our infancy as gardening goes – we learning more by error than anything! We were late planting this spring, chiefly due to the fact that I hadn’t built my greenhouse (Fall 2010 here I come) so had no seedlings plus we had an inordinately wet spell. We decided not to plant until early June so while are a few weeks behind last year, our garden is actually in better shape. We’ve learned from the jungle last year to space things a little more accurately and I got the soil prepped into rows using the tiller so that helped.
We re-started our raspberries so our crop this year will most likely be a bit thinner than in the past but I think going forward they will be great. This year, we added melons and eggplants to the mix. While I think the melons will be fine as we are in a high sun area, I have my doubts about the eggplants. I’m going to try them in the greenhouse as well as some peppers and pineapple.
Our rutabega (small, sweeter cousin to the turnip) is doing very well and seems to like the deep soil we have here. Actually, I guess the same holds true for parsnips, carrots and other root veggies. When I tilled the garden, I determined we had an average soil depth of twenty inches. I guess it has just build up over the years but it’s great for us! Anyway, back to the veggies. We have zucchini, butternut squash, okra and cabbage, leeks, carrots, radish, chard, beets, scallions and two types of onions, pumpkins, rhubarb, soya beans, snap peas, green and yellow beans and corn (lots o’ corn). We’ll test some of this out and then add or subtract as necessary next spring.
I think our next challenge is to figure out some storage methods as our garden is producing massive amounts of food!! More updates to follow along with pics!
Well, our first year with the veggie garden was a big success. We harvested lots of beets, beans, onions, radishes, zucchini, squash, corn and carrots. Our raspberries had a decent yield, given that it was their first year and we had a massive harvest of apples, pears and grapes. Next year we should see our Kiwi come in a bit and our plum trees should begin to produce. We had some volunteer plants such as kale and rhubarb so we’ll have to learn how to manage those ready for next year. In our 2010 garden, I think we’re going to plant a bigger corn patch as well as add potatoes into the mix. Wait…there’s more