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gardening

Garden Progress

Big Garden Pictures (May 28): A full view of my bigger garden, with some closer shots of a few of the rows underneath.Big Garden Pictures (May 28): A full view of my bigger garden, with some closer shots of a few of the rows underneath. Small Garden Pics (May 28)Small Garden Pics (May 28)
My garden seems to be coming along fairly well! I'm using a combination of modular storage cubes and wire fencing for protection from poaching animals-- so far so good so far as animal pests.

I have been getting insect damage. For now I'm using diatomaceous earth, which helps some, but I do still plan on picking up some insecticidal soap too. The DE is all well and good, and useful in many places, but I don't so much like the way plants looked covered with the stuff, and I'm not sure how good it is for them either.

At this point the small garden is pretty much planted, and about half or a bit more than half of the big garden. I put up a short segment of a fence support for cucumbers in the big garden, and planted seeds there, but sprouting in the big garden is slow, so I'll end up transplanting cukes started in small containers on the deck into the big-garden cucumber spot.

A not about diatomaceous earth. An awful lot of people seem to be terrified of it because you're not supposed to breathe in huge amounts of it. This seems to me like a bit of an obvious thing. It's not generally a great idea to inhale lots of any kind of powder, much less one being used for its properties as an abrasive. Diatomacious earth is the fossilized remains of hard-shelled algae. It is used everywhere, for purposes ranging from pest control to pool filtration to stabilizing nitroglycerine into dynamite. One of the pest-control uses for diatomaceous earth is as an additive in flour. Yes, you eat it, whether you know it or not. So no, breathing in clouds of the stuff is not healthy. But I really hate it when people act like I'm doing something crazy while applying the stuff with a paint brush.

Let's Get the Garden Started

Small Garden (May 15)Small Garden Big Garden  (May 15)Big Garden Technically, I've already gotten the garden started, but now it's starting to get more interesting. I've tilled, worked leaves and stuff into the ground, dug holes for bamboo to hold up the tomatoes, gotten things started inside, but now is when it's really starting to become a garden. That big tomato plant at the front of the small garden is the volunteer that sprouted out of the top of the hanging indoor herb planter
that lives in my kitchen.


The dill is really taking off; I planted most of it in that planting box, and I ended up transplanting a bunch of it out into [temporary] pots because it's growing together and generally getting big. The basil doesn't seem to be so lucky. I'm finding that a lot of plants that have been living inside aren't particularly happy with going outside; if they survive, it takes them awhile to adjust. Some of the cilantro I started inside is doing okay outside, but I've also gotten new seeds and planted some of it directly into the ground outside. So far in the small garden, there's the row that has my blueberry bushes at the front, and then the fence with cucumber plants on either side. I started some of those cucumber plants in the planter box; those are the ones that are doing the best so far. Last year I had the cucumbers growing up a setup of those modular metal storage cubes into a "cucumber tower," but that had the tendency to blow over in strong wind. That was particularly problematic because strong wind frequently goes along with heavy rain; during that huge storm we got at the end of last summer, I kept trying to go outside to fix the tower! This year I'll probably use those mostly for protecting lettuce and spinach.

Potted Plants (May 15)Potted Plants (May 15)
Planter Box: Yes, this picture is GIMPed together, I couldn't actually get the whole width in one shot.Planter Box: Yes, this picture is GIMPed together, I couldn't actually get the whole width in one shot.
A few of the ones I started inside are growing outside, but a few died. Next row over is tomatoes and lettuce, then a row of teeny tiny bell pepper plants, and then a row with sections for basil, cilantro, and carrots.

I don't have too much out in the big garden yet. I've got some seeds planted in that row all the way to the left, and I'm starting to transplant the tomatoes in starter cups and pots into the row with the poles. I picked up a copy of Square Foot Gardening, and while I'm not actually all-out using the method, I am trying to apply some of the principles. I'm putting in some more poles around the garden, in hopes of growing a lot of my plants vertically, and trying to keep the garden to controlled rows built up, surrounded by ditches that can work as a simple irrigation system.


I'm also filling in the spaces between the rows with leaves and various plant matter, partially just because if I don't, they get really muddy. One step in, and my shoe sinks. So leaves and pine needles and whatnot help with that, but also serve as plant matter that should decay and work to feed the plants. (I hope.) Looking at composting systems like the Soilsaver Classic Composter on Amazon, I've gotten (Gasp!) An idea! If you can speed up composting with a dark plastic container, how about covering the biomatter I'm putting in between my rows with cheap dark fabric? I'm thinking half-width strips of polyesters I'm not expecting to use might improve composting right in my garden. I haven't decided whether I'm going to do that or not (or whether I might just buy one of those nifty composters with the door at the bottom to get out the well-rotted stuff!) but I'm definitely going to put more thought into exactly how I'd implement the direct-in-garden composting.

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