Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2014 > Daily Dispatch #211

August 3, 2014: Garden of Weedin’ -- Late Summer Inventory

This summer I have not been as attentive to the gardens as I ought to have been. I started really strong and then petered out. Horses ended up taking up a lot of my time. Today I resumed gardening. In my absence, under Pete’s care, most of the produce has flourished. The one exception is the upper quadrant garden, commonly referred to as the greens or kitchen garden. This was my primary responsibility, and I was not attentive enough to this area. It’s weedy. The greens are somewhat thin, not lush as they should be. The rhubarb, as always, in appearance makes up for this.

The middle quadrant garden has fared much better than the upper quadrant garden. The produce in the hoop house is really, a sight to be seen. This is because Pete’s kept up with the watering and the weeding. The spaghetti squash, basil, and celery are doing really well, as is our three sunflowers, one of which has a head on it. The beans are doing okay; the garlic is doing so-so. To the left of the hoop house is our berry garden. Too early to tell what the currents are going to do. I ate some raspberries and strawberries today – looks like it’s going to be a good berry year. We didn’t expand upon the strawberry patch area, so it’s weedy. Couldn’t do it all. To the left of the hoop house is the potato bed/pea area. Peas subpar, but the potato bed is looking really good, I think because early on, I was aggressive about weeding.

The lower quadrant garden consists of our small greenhouse and root crop garden. We remodeled the greenhouse – I gutted it, removed the benches and
board and batten – and Pete put in concrete walls about two feet in height, making for two large raised beds, in which he planted tomatoes that Jim, our neighbor gave us. The tomatoes, which are held in place by baling twine, are tall and leafy. We have some small green tomatoes – if we get an onrush of warm weather we’ll have fruit. It was my idea to put the basil on the topmost greenhouse shelf. This is because basil needs warmth, and heat rises. This worked – the greenhouse basil is almost as tall as the hoop house basil.

As for the root crops – carrots and beets look good. Broccoli and cabbage failed to mature. Potatoes, which we put in a new raised bed, look promising. A nice touch, lots of orange poppies in front of the greenhouse.

Back to the upper quadrant. It is a micro farm of sorts. The goats and the chickens (who live in the combination coop/shed) provide us with manure and soiled hay, which go into the compost station adjacent to the house. I divvy up the house scraps between the chicken and the compost station – the goats get the banana peels. I also give the chickens the garden greens that have gone to seed. In return, Freebird and Chickaroo provide us with eggs. Weeds from the garden and the yard also go into the compost.

If we had a female goat, we’d have milk and cheese on hand. Just have not had one yet come our way. The compost station is to the right of the porch and the red wiggler worm farm is to the left of the porch. I house the wigglers in five gallon buckets with holes in the bottom. The buckets are in buckets. This way, the water drains out of the buckets. I drain these buckets and pour the water onto the compost.

The water for the goats and chickens, the garden, the compost, and the worms comes from the sky. That is to say, collect it in muck buckets, which I situate under the gutters. We do have a 350 gallon water storage tank at the rear of the house. We mainly use this water in watering the middle quadrant garden, though at times we also use it to water the upper quadrant garden.

The upper quadrant area is actually quite small. Nevertheless, it shows that you don’t need a lot of space in order to have an active and sustainable ecosystem. I didn’t go into it, but we also have our solar panels and wind turbine in this area – they are located on top of the black hole. I hope to someday to write exclusively about this area. Right now, I’m too busy tending to it to do this.

212. 8/4/14: The Writing Life: Re-Vision, Part I