Sunday, May 8, 2016

Garden 2016

I like gardening. Let me rephrase that: I like getting a garden started. Every year I plan, plow, fertilize, till, prepare rows/hills, plant seeds or plants, water, and cage what needs to be caged. But then June comes, and I'm away for a couple of weeks (to go camping and/or on vacation and/or I speak somewhere and/or go on a mission trip). It never fails. During that time away from home, the weeds take over. So much so that it would take an unreal amount of work to beat them back. And that's when the heat of summer has set in.

Let me go ahead and say it: I hate weeding in the heat of summer.

So this year I am taking extra pains (during the cool of spring) to prevent weeds. I'm laying down recycled, brown, craft paper and mulching on top of it. I'm hoping this will keep most of the weeds from growing at all, and the most persistent will be sparse enough to be dealt with relatively easily.

I've spent more money this year than ever. The paper has cost about $21 (the big roll of brown recycled type that painters and contractors use from Lowe's is the cheapest), and two yards of mulch cost $44. I also bought a couple of cheap bales of wheat straw for the watermelon and pumpkin area. Other than that I think I've only invested the cost of plants, seeds, and a bag of fertilizer.

I've learned over time what grows well in our garden, and perhaps more importantly, what we will and will not eat. And some stuff is simply cheaper and better from the store and produce stands like corn, okra, bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and carrots (in my opinion). I've grown all of those before, but it's just much easier/cheaper/better to let someone else grow them.

I've got poor, clay soil that doesn't drain well. Three or four years ago I brought in a big load of topsoil. I probably need to have a 4H agent or UT Ag come out and test the soil. I'll probably need to mix in some lime and organic compost, and perhaps some sand. The little fence is to keep the rabbits out! They almost wiped out my sweet potatoes two years ago, and I had to replant. Wascally wabbits!

Here's a video of the garden. Forgive the poor quality.

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