Gardening: indoor/outdoor #4

What began indoors (baby plants) will slowly make their way outdoors to garden beds. In the meantime,

  • young tomato plants of nine varieties, all organic and several heirloom,
  • pumpkin (3 varieties: one is a native blue),
  • winter squashes including including Gila Cliff Dweller (native),
  • zucchini, brussel sprout, cauliflower,
  • mints and low marigolds are going in and out every day. A neighbor kindly donated a folding table to the garden project. That generosity will come back to them in nourishment through the season. Boy am I glad for this table! We can’t plant until late May/early June here. 7800 ft altitude brings the possibility of killing frost until late in Spring and as early as mid-September in late summer.

The 150 ft. bed along a fence line required the laying of soaker hose three times with two different types of hose. Finally, the right choices and it works the entire length. The key was the diameter of the hose, of course, plus serpentine or river-like laying of the hose. I highly recommend this 3/4″ diameter soaker hose for any location: One Stop Gardens FBA_97193 3/4 in. x 50 ft. Flat Seeper Soaker Hose. Six 50 ft. lengths were required for 150 ft. of garden bed, but with the goal of flowers, tomatoes, beans, and peas growing up together with pumpkins, winter squashes, and cucumbers growing along the ground and out, soaker is the way to go. Pumpkin’s leaves will mold with top watering (that happened last year in a neighbor’s bed). 

And, tah dah, the two raised beds and trellis are placed. The trellis is very simple construction: one cattle panel (steel wire fencing) plus four steel posts and bailing wire. Less than $50 for it all, and it will probably outlive me. Climbing morning glories and nasturtiums will blend with mexican cukamelons (if the seeds arrive), yellow round cucumbers, plus English cukes. We will add a second cattle panel next week onto the first for an 8 ft. long trellis. It will be planted on both sides (outside) with the items mentioned. *The raised beds are lined with empty dry dog food bags. There is 10″ of rough chipped tree matter like branches. It’s not thick like bark mulch or wood chips properly chipped. It will help the box breathe from below. (Yes, they are screened on the bottom to prevent voles, rabbits, and such from entering.) Then, the fill is good soil plus coconut coir. Friends, remember that peat is not a sustainable product. Peat takes hundreds of years to accumulate. Coconut coir is made from the husks of coconuts harvested for all coconut products.

The two baby hazel nut trees, two gogi berry plants, and two thornless blackberry plants are slowly putting out new leaves. I bought babies. I’m not sure that was smart, but I could not afford to replace more mature, more costly trees/bushes if the first ones didn’t make it. The west wind here is harsh and nights are just now sustaining above 32° with consistency. The baby mulberry tree is a trooper, still alive, but not leafing yet.

One more thing, bringing water to the roots of trees. When planting these trees, I used a 3 ft. length of 2″ PVC pipe to act as a water well shaft down to the roots. It will stay in place the life of the tree. The method:

  • Dig the hole for the root ball of the tree.
  • Determine the easiest accessibility to the pipe for watering.
  • Make a bed of small stones for the pipe. Set it on top. Then with slightly larger stone, wedge it in. Using a 3 ft. pipe, about 2 ft. should be above ground. Half fill with water and observe. The stones under the pipe’s opening should prevent mud from filling the opening.
  • Now put in your baby tree and back fill according to the nursery’s instructions for the tree to breathe.
  • Fill the pipe.
  • This method of deep watering ensures that the roots of the tree always are nourished. In a dry climate where water evaporates from surfaces quickly, this is imperative.

The back yard used to look like this. Slowly but surely, working with the nature spirits, and observing the sun and wind, it’s coming together.


About Donna Mitchell-Moniak

Visit for additional meditations and blog posts.
This entry was posted in gardening. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Gardening: indoor/outdoor #4

  1. Pam Shy says:

    Lovely and thanks for posting the progress of your “farm”!

Leave a Reply