Saturday, June 12, 2010
1. add berms to the garden, to catch and hold rainwater run-off.
2. study the topography of your garden so that you can lay out beds in a more or less perpendicular manner to run-off patterns.
3. amend soil with lots of rich organic matter. I used home made compost and purchased composted turkey manure.
4. space plants widely, more widely than seems sensible, so that they can really stretch out their toes and have access to lots of water and nutrients.
5. mulch heavily. I meant to mulch, and I really should have, but I haven't had a chance. Poor plants are probably struggling more than they have to as a result.
6. Take advantage of natural clay soils, if you have them. Our garden has a large patch of heavy clay gumbo soil, and this is where I have my drought tolerant veggies. Everyone says you can't grow veggies in gumbo soil, but I've found that if I amend with organic matter, it works beautifully.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Normally, I don't do much about insect invasions -- I just wait them out and nature usually rebalances everything in a reasonable period of time. Sometimes crops do take a beating but generally, nature just takes her ten percent tithe.
But there's something kind of ominous-looking about these things. I've never seen them before and suddenly they appear in startling numbers. So I've been peering at them and trying to decide if I should try to remove them. Who are you, creature? Friend or foe?
1) plant when it's cool, well before the heat of summer takes over. I planted these last February.
2) plant shallow. In fact, I usually plant so shallowly that I have to really pinch the dirt up around the seedlings to get them to stay up. This seems like the main thing to get big, healthy onions.
3) harvest when the bulbs push their shoulders up out of the dirt.
4) cure the onions for a good while in the sun. I'll cure these for about a week.
5) store in a cool, dry place with good air flow. I break this rule a bit because I don't have such a place to store them. I put them in a basket in my pantry, which is cool and dry but without much airflow. But we eat them so quickly, and we have two growing seasons, so we've not had any spoil yet.