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August 17, 2011 / 74

Trying to Fix Disasterous Year in the Garden

It has been a nasty year in the garden.

first, planting was delayed due to getting started late… 🙂 – or to put it another way, we had things that HAD to be done, that didn’t get done until late in the Spring, that delayed planting.

second – one of those things was the rabbit fence – which turned out to be a fence to keep a rabbit IN rather than out – which cost me most of my produce.

third – was the weather – the freakishly hot days and nights that hit production HARD. We are now getting tomatoes, and the chicken pullets are getting the tomato horn worms I’m catching for them.

fourth – two words, “wheat” and “rye”, combined with four more words, “no machinery” and “no help”. Of course – we can also add in the word “ignorant” because I had absolutely NO idea what I was doing, so there was a lot of fumbling around and inefficiency.

fifth – life (wheat and rye) intervened and I couldn’t spend as much time in the veggie part of the garden as I should have, and it seemed like one day the weeds were under control, the rows clean, and the next day the veggies were disappearing under waves of joint grass.

And that about covers it.

BUT – all is not lost… yet.

Today, the first non-rainy day in a while, I’m out there raking weeds and detritus into piles of “stuff to be mulched/composted.” The weeds got me this year – the microbes will get them next year.

I’m also scraping the dirt clean so I can plant some fall veggies. This involves looking at the “days to maturity” listings on the seed packets, finding out what your “average first frost date” is, and deciding what you can maybe get away with planting and harvesting before the frost hits it and turns it into more next year’s mulch/compost.

So… why am I not just rototilling the ground? Because the vegetable detritus on the surface would then go below the surface, and begin the process of composting itself – turning the veggie matter into nitrogen & etc. what’s wrong with that, you ask? EXCELLENT question!

what’s wrong with that is that while the process is going on, it ties up (makes unavailable) the nitrogen that is already IN the ground – so new plants (remember the newly planted seeds of the fall garden?) will not have access to the nitrogen already there – much less the new nitrogen being composted out.

So trying to start a fall garden with new compost in the ground is a bad idea.

So – now I have to go out and work – it was supposed to be nice tomorrow – but the forecast just changed to 75% chance of rain. 😦

More later.

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