Monday, April 25, 2016

New Tricks for This Old Dog

My garden over the past few years has been disappointing, at best. It's probably one part operator error, one part plant choice (probably could also be classified as "operator error":)), and one part nature. Whatever the reason, it hasn't produced well.

Under the heading of operator error, I keep harkening back to that time that I had 180 lbs of Hubbard Squash volunteer, and I'm not very conscientious about weeding, because I keep hoping that one of those "weeds" will be my bumper crop. That, and some of the weeds we actually eat. It's just disappointing to plan and plant and (sort of) tend, just to have a weed overtake the intended crop. But it's also hard to pull a weed until I know for certain what it is. It's something I struggle with. I'm working on it, and the best answer will probably be to pull anything that's not my intended plant from the garden bed, and just trust that the edible weeds will grow elsewhere, and then, we can have both.

In addition, I've been plagued with squash bugs for the past two years, late in the season, because before August, I have broiler chickens who are keeping the bugs in check. I'm not very good at pest control, either, apparently, and I've always depended on nature to balance the scales - often to my detriment. My answer to this dilemma, at least this year, is that I won't plant any squash here. I might rent a spot in the community garden, and plant the Three Sisters over there.

Then, there are the dogs and the livestock that too often kill parts of my garden. I've finally admitted that I, simply, can not have a garden in the same part of my yard where the dogs and chickens might be able to reach it. The reason I've been so slow at learning the lesson has to do with how my house sits on my lot, and the fact that the space where the chickens and dogs have to hang out also happens to be on the south-facing side of my house - which is where the garden should be, right? *sigh*

This year, I'm trying something new. Straw bales, for one. The other is that I will just have to separate the animals and the garden and hope that the westerly facing expanse of lawn will suffice.

In years' past, I've tried to maximize the gardening space by using more of the yard. This year, I will try to maximize the gardening space by using different techniques.

The straw bales are set and ready to receive some compost starter. In about a month, we can start adding the heat-loving plants I plan to put in them.

In the meantime, we planted some peas, radishes and lettuce in planters ... and they're sprouting!

Hello, Springtime!

Lettuce sprouts

Happy Radishes!