Monday, July 16, 2012
Myth-Busting in the Garden
I grew up in an area up north with higher fertility than the one I presently live in. Half an hour to the west of us, things grow much more readily too, but right here it takes a bit more doing. This is taking a bit of getting used to.
I'm still very much a novice gardener, so there's definitely a clueless factor as well. I'm learning as I go, and gardening isn't my #1 priority. It's up there, but it's not #1. Climbing the ranks, mind you.
And then there is the Pioneer Gardening Myth. You know this one? The myth of the woman who had no time to tend her garden much, but just threw seeds at the ground, stepped into the soddie, had triplets unassisted, and when she stepped back out in late August the garden had laughed up a glorious crop. Or something along those lines. She then tied the babies to the legs of the table and rolled up her sleeves to can.
This was in the back of my mind somewhere. It got uprooted when we took a visit to the local Ukrainian Pioneer Village and saw such a garden. Brothers and sisters, those pioneers weren't living on fresh vegetables. There's a reason everyone was wearing flour-sack clothing and eating perogies. Such gardens don't usually produce much.
So, re-adjust. Keep reading.
Plants need food.
Plants need water.
Lots of both.
And in these parts, it's best to start your seedlings indoors. You see those lovely tomato and lettuce plants on the front right? Those came from seedlings started by a friend who spends 6 hours a day gardening, and begins her seedlings in greenhouses. She does amazing cauliflower and broccoli too, and has it timed so her plants are fruiting (vegetabling?) before the cabbage moths can set in to ravage.
This year Chive put our compost heap in the middle of the garden. I'm still not entirely convinced this is the best spot for it. Off to the left is a stand of willow, and their roots invade the garden. The middle is one of the more-or-less fertile areas, so I'm loathe to use it for processing compost. I'd prefer to have the heap over to the left (west). Maybe next year.
I'm also lining up containers for next year. We have a little deck off the front of the house, facing south. The front door is blocked off, and the deck itself is too uneven and hot for people-time, but I figure it would be great for tomatoes and such.
Food. Water. Good soil.
Bees are nice too. I'm advertising for someone to set up bee-boxes on our land so I can watch it happening and hopefully undertake my own hives some year. Fingers crossed!