Sunday, June 20, 2010

How Green Is My Garden

Keeping up with the ever changing growth in the garden seems to be a challenging one for me.  But I have finally been able to sit still long enough to pull the photos from my camera.

This year one of the challenges we knew we would face when deciding to grow a lot of tomatoes in our raised bed gardens was support.  Traditional cage structure would not work because we ran the risk of puncturing the weed barrier at the bottom.  Neither would stakes for the same reason.  In order to get either in far enough to truly offer support from a strong storm or wind we would have to go too deep.

So we came  up with this clever (if I do say so myself) design of horizontal support structures.

4' tall 2x4s were used for vertical supports and farm fencing for horizontal support
The plants seemed to be spurred on by the addition of the second level and grew vigorously to pop through the top



Sneak Peak of Dad building roof of Z's fort

So far we are completely pleased with the supports.  We had a nasty storm whip through here that brought some strong winds.  The tomatoes did not budge.  Now we just need to get them happier with their soil conditions.  One step at a time with the garden.

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And now for some more garden views....



Cucumber Vines and cucumbers...opted for a pickle cucumber

 

We were plagued with blight for a bit but Devon nipped it in the bud.  Now we are facing the dreaded end rot.  Ugh...we lost a lot of tomatoes to it last year.  It's a tough one to combat.  We've applied a smattering of crushed oyster shells that we feed our chickens for the calcium they contain.  But the balancing of water is tough in weather that will go for days on end dry and hot and then pour rain out of the blue.  In a raised bed you really feel the effects of slight changes.  And heat in the soil is a concern of mine too.  I know that tomatoes like the sun so we just have to find the right balance.  Gardening is tough.  It's a bit of chemistry, a bit of horticulture, a lot of sweat and a lot of luck!  :0)  But we love it...and eventually we'll get it right.  
I am trying my own home brewed fertilizer right now.  Here goes

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Bumpass Bigme Juice

8-10 crushed farm fresh egg shells (washed)
1/4 cup of spent coffee grinds
2 rotten banana peels
tap water

In a large glass canning jar ( I like the kind with a handle as it's easier to handle and pour ) crush the egg shells.  Then drop the banana peels and coffee grinds onto the top and crush all together.  Fill the jar about 6/8 of the way full with water and cover the top with a piece of saran wrap and secure with a rubber band around the lip of the jar.  There is something about the plastic top and complete cut off of air  that have a catalytic effect on the mixture.

Allow the mixture to sit in a room temperature area, even getting scattered direct sun is good.  I've experimented with it after letting it stand for 2 days and now am "brewing" it for day 6 of a 7 day trail.  Tomorrow is show time with another test set of plants.  The first test was applied to 3 tomato plants in one box and 1 plant in a different box.  
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Stay Tuned for Pictures of Fort Progress............

~Mom



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