Well, most of you know that I love to try a number of different things in the garden, and I have had alot of success with my no-till, dry land planting spacing and with my mulching..
Having said that, this year has been a real challange in regard to the water, the garden and I have been watching and tracking things on why some things are doing better or in some cases amazingly better then others..
So I am going to run though some of the different things that I have on the go this year and how they are working..
Square foot bed- at this point, I have given up and pulled it and mulched it, I can’t keep it watered enough for the plants to be worth the time.. (I am sure if I was willing to water, this would work, if fact, I am planning on doing a small shade greens 4 by 4 box that I will water so I can have softer greens to mix in the salads, the horseradish greens are so hot, the nettles are so stinging, the wild greens are very strong in this heat, some that I can normally eat as is or with one blanch, can take me two or even three light blanches to get them to the point of being good..
Horse Trough Bed, – we got our greens crops out, my radishes went to seed, and I got about half the crop, turns out the yard sheep really like to eat the radish pods, and I have gotten a good crop of green beans out of it, however the cucumber etc is doing nothing. Its worth noting that it has composted down and lost almost two feet worth of depth in the box itself.
Shade small Hugelbeet, we got our spring green in it and it did well but its not doing well at this time, no really fault of its own, its not fenced and the chickens have cleaned it out, but its still got green onions for a while yet.
Large Full Sun Hugelbeet- Now if you remember, I placed this big one in such a way that in the spring, its a wet area, and clearly it did its job well, it sucked up the water into the wood, its the best at the moment on the farm, the melon plants are thriving and growing very well, and I have not watered them once.
Nursery garden- This is a my very sheltered garden that is ringed by tree’s- we took off our spring crop and our summer crop is struggling but holding..
Main garden- There are area’s that things are struggling in, the heavier the mulch the better, all is dry land planted in spacing, I gave the tomato’s a full four feet each this year and I am glad I did.. The difference in the garden shows up in two ways, the soon and heavier the mulch the better, but also those plants planted around last years compost pile and or those planted around a underground composting pit are the ones that are not just holding but are in fact growing and or producing..
Food Forest Garden- Again, while not thriving as I would like, they are growing, and faster then the main garden (but not as well as the hugelbeet ones) and I believes its a combo of me ripping and dropping or green mulching what is growing around the ones I want to have produce more and also that its cooler in the food forest (up to 10 degree’s cooler) but also because I have found that in the morning, there is alot of dew on the plants, (including in the pasture, which is why the sheep are now night and very early morning grazing) Given this, I spent a little time and set up little “water traps” that now collect the dew and drip it into the food hills. I will report back on if it was worth the effort but I believe it will be..
The compost pile garden-tomato plants– Now I have done a fair amount of looking, study and even a bit of digging and I think? I have a bit of the answer here..we wanted to build up that area, as it was a bit low and can be sof/wet ground, the compost when it came out of the barn was deep pack and the oldest was already six months old and half composted out, and we put it in three foot high piles, so that its kind of rolling little hills with valleys or at least dips between.. now it was wet very early this spring, so that would have soaked in and helped it compost down (I had measured it when we put it out and it has composted a full foot down on average), the plants all came up in the side of the valley or dip, none came in the flat hotter top of the pile, that means they have a bit of side shade from the hill in front, dew will drip down, rain will collect in that area and they need to grow a shorter distance before they would have passed out of the compost and gotten their roots into the soil below, and then the compost would just ask as a really like mulch.. Clever little plants!
So what different thing are you trying this year that is working and handling the heat and the dryness, are you watering? and if so how often?
I’m spot watering my raised ‘Kitchen Garden’ from my rain barrels, which are getting pretty low. And every couple of days, I fill up some saved, empty 4 litre water jugs from my tap and put straight on the plants. I also ‘backwash’ water from my pond to water the squash and potatoes for 5 minutes a day, until we have more rain to fill up my pond……..
Just trying to keep things alive until rain!
What a fabulous experiment you’ve got going. I’ve been experimenting a bit as well and I need to write it down for myself so I make NEW mistakes next year. 🙂