Thursday, July 26, 2012

Grazy Days

The summer rains are filling in the greens for the cattle and any other grazing critter that gets to come out and about. We've let Gucci, Karma and Baby Cow (the steer) wander for a couple of days now all over the property. They're enjoying all the free salad they can nip off, a neverending supply of mesquite bean pods, and when they head back to their corral, they still get some alfalfa hay--though they don't seem all that interested in the hay now.

The wild amaranth is coming in, along with a variety of grasses, purslane and the alfalfa in the pasture area, which they have access to. I love to see the property greening up, but it'll be nice when the weather starts cooling down again.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

More Pumpkins...and a Facelift

The garden is getting a facelift. This year, we have been dissappointed with its production. Last year at this time, we had buckets of tomatoes coming in, zucchini and even eggplants galore. Not so now. I am harvesting only a few tomatoes every couple days. They're delicious, but there are not enough.

Looking back, I noticed that when I started the garden last year, I mulched the heck out of it with straw. I did that because the ground had very little organic matter in it. The garden has loads of organic matter in it now. It also grows the occasional mushrooms and a healthy crop of roly-polies which shows me that the soil is changing and holding in moisture much better than before. We have had a very healthy crop of weed grasses. So I have started again with the straw mulch, weeding and mulching as I go. It didn't help that I was ill with pneumonia and not out there pulling weeds on a daily basis for a few weeks. They've gotten out of hand but hopefully will be removed before long.

Another thing I did differently last year was that I started with six packs of plants that were already six inches high or more. This year I did mainly seeds or small seedlings I'd started in the greenhouse. The plants we have from those starts are still small and not yet producing.

Watering in the Gigantic Garden has always been with an oscillating sprinkler. Last year, we had the test garden which was always hand watered and always looked more lush. Hand watering or more specific watering would likely help the Gigantic Garden get along better.

In the rows I've weeded and mulched the started tomatoes I planted are no longer sagging, a huge difference already. My guess is that the mulch is key and will need to be renewed yearly.

Nevertheless, we continue to get zucchinis and excellent pie pumpkins...