Thursday, October 8, 2009

Garden Spot 2009 Review: Improvements Made

Over the next few days I am posting a series of evaluations of the Garden Spot’s 2009 growing season. There were several improvements made to the Garden Spot in effort to increase variety and yields in the 2009 growing season. They all worked really well:

Adding Three 4x4 Square Foot Gardens: This was my first year trying the SFG method and I am very impressed with the success. Mel’s Mix was so easy to plant in even when we were experiencing excess rain and moisture. Most everything grown in the SFGs did well. I am so pleased with the Square Foot Gardening method that I will be adding three more for next year!

Fencing: a simple three-foot fence was erected out of reused field fencing material both to keep Bradie, our dog and the deer out of the garden spot. It worked for the most part. However later in the season, the deer either reached over the fence or maybe even easily jumped into the garden and munched on the bush beans and a few tops of my peppers. I didn’t mind sharing, but additional fencing methods may need to be explored in the future if the deer are more persistent.

Plastic Solar Mulch in the Traditional Garden: Huge improvement! In the past it has been a battle with weeds and grass taking over the traditional garden that added competition for nutrients and water. The plastic solar mulch used this year eliminated this problem entirely. I will definitely use plastic mulch again as it also helped to warm the beds in the early spring/summer for the heat loving plants such as melons, peppers and tomatoes.

Other Mulching: The plastic solar mulch in the traditional garden served as a great mulch in between the rows and plants to prevent grass and weeds. In addition, individual plants were mulched with good quality compost which both suppressed weeds and added nutrients. The rows in between the beans that were not protected by plastic solar mulch were mulched with pine straw that was sourced from another part of the yard. All were great options and quite useful in the garden spot.

Soaker Hoses: When planning the 2009 garden, I thought that hand watering would be enough. It wasn’t and I added soaker hoses after the garden was planted. I really didn’t have much of a watering need with the record breaking rain that we had early in the season. But there were a few dry spalls when additional watering was needed. It was so easy to hook up the hose to one of the three soaker hoses and water 1/3 of the garden at one time then swap to the next section. Next year they will be laid out first under the solar mulch and buried the soil in the SFGs so they are more efficient.

Vertical Structures: We added two trellises with nylon netting in the traditional garden to grow the pole beans. I planted a row on each side of the trellis and the yield was twice as much as last year when we used a smaller trellis. We also had two trellis structures on two of the SFGs that the tomatoes grew on. Before the Late Blight, the tomatoes spanned the entire trellis space and climbed 3/4 of the way up. There also was an archway trellis in between the two traditional garden that cucumbers grew on this year. One side had pickling cukes, the other straight eight that turned into mutant cukes. They had a slow start due to the weather, but produced quite well when the weather finally was somewhat normal.

1 comment:

  1. Those are all really good improvements. You made huge progress this year with your garden.