Another year, another garden.
Last year the garden went in after I paid a friend to dig it for me in April because my job was keeping me so busy I was
working 7 days a week. Nominal success, we had a crop of tomatoes and peppers that were good for eating and I canned
about a case and a half of tomatoes. Peppers in the freezer are still holding out. I didn't get any onions planted. I had a
good crop of cucumbers (planted too close to the house - I won't make that mistake again!) and zucchini (I'm figuring out
how to at least slow, if not completely eliminate, the attack by the worm that bores out the stems).
The job situation is stabilized - working normal hours again, and I'm in my garden doing my own digging this spring. It's great
therapy! I have a couple of beds of potatoes in, and one more to plant this weekend. I'll be digging out the raised beds
and preparing them for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra, and much more. Last year I experimented with putting a serving
spoonful of mashed mackerel in a few holes before planting, and I found those plants had healthier and more robust foliage.
They bloomed and fruited a little later than some of the other plants, but they bloomed longer and more consistently
through the season, so I am planning to do the mackerel trick in the entire garden. So far I've found that a can of mackerel
at Dollar General is the most reasonably priced (about $1.65 per can).
Beneficial nematodes were watered in last weekend after a good rain. I have a bag of corn gluten meal to use with a
flour sifter after I prepare my beds and have my bedding plants in. The plan is to sift the corn gluten meal over the bare
soil to slow the germination of weed seeds, then put hardwood mulch over the top so my garden isn't bright yellow. I have
a "stirrup" shaped hoe to use to take out the weeds when they're small before they become established and huge (happens
every year, once the crops are big enough the grass tends to fill in underneath). I always vow to keep the grass and weeds
out of the garden, but it is a never-ending battle.
Every year I try out new sprinklers, soaker hoses, and timers. I suspect some gardeners have large collections of sprinklers
by shape, size, material, and yet always go back to a few old favorites. I don't have a sprinkler system, I lay out hoses and
soaker hoses and water by zones from a brass 4-way connection on my front faucet, depending on where the gardening
activity is each year. Several years ago I moved my vegetable gardening into the front yard and every year since then I've
enlarged those beds. This spring I planted onions all over the front yard in existing beds, and I put in a row of asparagus in
front of the stone wall at the front of my house.
I'll continue to post photos of new challenges, insects, and successes in my garden in this thread. It is easier to find if I put
it all in one place rather than spread them out over the forums, though I do post photos in individual questions when I have
or can find photos that are helpful.