Friday, June 4, 2010

Re-evaluating the garden

I'm not one to back away from a challenging situation.  (I think that's one of the things I bring to the table at my workplace.) 

I'm a problem solver.  I enjoy evaluating situations and diagnosing potential pitfalls.  I'm also usually pretty good at coming up with beneficial solutions to those issues.

When SM and I decided to invest in a vegetable garden, we decided we were in it for the long haul.  We plan on staying where we are for the foreseeable future.

We wanted the opportunity to grow our own fruit and vegetables in our own yard.  We understand that we will benefit from the healthy eating and cost savings that a garden will provide over time.  We acknowledge that there will be successes and failures every year.

This year (our first) has been our investment year.  We had to start somewhere and knowing our challenges with poor soil we invested in the good stuff.  Mel's Mix. (I believe that decision was a winner.)

Our typical summers here are hot and dry.  I think that's one of the things we assumed would be a constant issue that we would have to deal with.  We even discussed having a well drilled, or rain barrels installed...we've discussed it all.  Having enough water has always been an issue here in the drought ridden southeast.  And water from the tap is expensive.

Ha!  Not this year.

Our existing beds are an interesting mix.  Only a few feet separate them and yet, as you can see, one bed is draining well.  And the other is not.

I pulled up the successful (but finished) sugar peas.  Great year with them!  I then put my rake into the soil to turn it over and evaluate it.  It's been maybe 2 days without rain and as you can see, I have issues.

I think the solution for this is to build up the bed.  I plan on having SM create a wood frame to enclose the bed and back fill it with more compost/topsoil(?) and create a really deep bed that can keep the roots above any ground water but also allow them access to water as needed.  (I'm wanting to plant carrots this fall so I'll need a deeper bed anyway.)

SM suggested sand to help with drainage.  I've read that the combination of sand and our hot (sometimes blazingly hot) summers would turn the bed into an oven and cook our vegetable roots to death. 

The squash and cucs don't seem to mind the soaked conditions.  Here they are aggressively blooming.

The peppers are hanging in there for now.

But the tomatoes... sorry guys...I know you're unhappy and I feel your pain. 

I can't really do anything to help these poor buggers out.  If (when?) they die back, I'll likely use the above technique to raise this bed as well.

Until then, I'm assuming that these plants are likely doomed and I will use the new raised bed (that SM and I will create this weekend) to plant some
more "store-bought" tomatoes. 

I don't like the idea of not having any tomatoes.  It's still early in the season.  I thought about starting some more from seed but I think that's pushing the window a bit.  I'll just suck it up and purchase them to guarantee that I'll get some fresh product.

Stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment