As I sit at the kitchen table dishing out strawberries to my kiddo, the rain is falling gently on the garden. I breath a sigh of relief as this means first nap-time can be used for something other than watering the garden! I have read and been told that gardens, especially tomatoes should not be “sprinkled”. The leaves get wet and this can cause problems. However….that is how God is watering the garden right now…seems like He probably knows best. For me, a sprinkler is definitely easier, at least of the vegetable garden. My hope in the future is to have to water less by using the stream in our backyard to form some kind of irrigation system. Any ideas on that? I also need to get some more mulch on the garden to reduce evaporation.
Hope all the other garden are doing well! I think Washington is taking a pause on summer the next few days, highs only in the low 60’s. Hopefully my tomatoes do ok, they are so sensitive to the cold.
I’ve been reading Practical Permaculture by Jessi Bloom and David Boehnlein and it has given me some much needed direction. I was feeling overwhelmed with our backyard situation, and was comforted by reviewing the 12 permaculture principles. If you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or simply don’t know where to start, ponder these concepts.
Comment below and lets work them out together!
Also, I’m thinking about taking an online Permaculture Design class offered through Oregon State University this fall! I’m super excited about it, but keeping my fingers crossed that my VA benefits will cover the cost of tuition.
Ok. So I really thought I would be better about blogging, but life got in the way! Mark and I were both also out of town for a couple weeks, but now we are back and summer is upon us! During out time away, the garden did alright. I thought I lost all my squash, but then just yesterday I saw a flower! The tomatoes look sad, but almost all have buds, so that is a good sigh. I have one regret so far; the straw mulch. I think it caused grass seed to totally invade my garden! I have been trying to pull it out, but haven’t gotten very far. My preferred mulch is finally ready! Wood Chips! I need to mix in some compost too. Mark spent lots of hours last weekend chipping up four of the 50ish huge trees lining our back yard.
Projects for this weekend:
- Fertilize the Garden
- Attach pole beans to trellis (the peas are looking awesome!)
- Chip up a few more trees
- Possibly take down part of fence in backyard
We are finding it a challenge to decide what we really want our backyard to be like. It has so much potential…but the amount of work seems overwhelming. One day at a time. I’ll post a pictures and let me know if you have any ideas!
Spot where we removed some trees
Where previous trees were located. Its a huge drainage ditch at the back of our property.
Fence partially removed and used for garden boxes
Mulching my garden is something that I have never really thought about. However, I am realizing it is of upmost importance. When you think about a healthy forest, what do you see on the ground? Lots and lots of mulch. No bare ground. I think nature knows best so our gardens should try to resemble what happens in nature.
What is mulch?
Mulch: a protective covering (as of sawdust, compost, or paper) spread or left on the ground to reduce evaporation, maintain even soil temperature, prevent erosion, control weeds, enrich the soil, or keep fruit (such as strawberries) clean. Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Why wouldn’t we mulch? These benefits can make or break it for a garden. Our plan is to use mostly wood chips as mulch, with compost mixed in to add nitrogen. I bought a used wood chipper at a local garage sale for $120, and with the help of a few strong men, loaded it into the backseat with my baby! They thought it was a very interesting purchase 🙂 It needs a little tuneup before we can use it so I used chopped hay in the meantime. I spread a pretty thin layer around as many of my plants are still seedlings. Once everything is a little more established we’ll add lots of wood chips with compost, and just keep adding as natural breakdown occurs.
Yesterday it was HOT in Kitsap! Recorded high was 75, but my front yard was probably a few degrees warmer because of the western exposure. I watered my garden in the morning, spread my mulch, and in the heat of the afternoon, everything was still perky and the soil moist! YAY!
Mulched bed 1
Daddy and boy in the garden
Oh Lord let my garden grow! I can’t tell you how exciting and nerve-racking it is that my plants are finally in the ground! We have been working toward this day for about 8 weeks. I started most everything from seed in my basement at the beginning of March, and yesterday we got everything planted! Mark built three large (and do I mean large, 6feetX12feet to be exact) raised beds and we filled them with 9 cubic yards of soil. I spent a good about of time planning my crop layout as I want it to look aesthetically pleasing and produce a good crop free of diseases and pests. I did companion planting and also we spread lots of marigold seed! Marigold is a natural pesticide. The boxes are right in front of our house and pretty much take up the entire front third of the yard. Less grass to mow! We sheet mulched the bottoms with cardboard and grass clippings, filled with good garden soil, and now I just need to do mulch on top. I’ll head to the feed store this afternoon when the baby wakes up from his nap to get some straw. I’m thinking I will also mix some of our own compost with the straw. We started a small container of compost last year and I think it is ready! They look pretty plain now, but keep checking back to see their progress!
Everything is looking so promising, I just need to not forget to water! I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have a green thumb, but I believe we are called to work the land.
“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2:15
Mark and I feel there is something biblical about tending the garden. After all, we are all just trying to get back to Eden…
They look pretty plain right now, but keep checking back to see the progress! The middle bed is all still seed (peas, beans, and many different lettuces and kale). The top box is tomatoes, squash, zucchini, brussel sprouts, cucumbers, carrots, and herbs. Bottom box is tomatoes and tomatillos, sweet peppers, hot peppers, onions, cabbage, and more herbs. Whew, I know, it’s a lot 🙂