Gardening, indoor/outdoor #5

We had a killing frost on June 7 or 8. Even the old timers were taken by surprise. June 1st is happy planting day, so everyone had crop in and beds seeded. Wuh wuh. With the people that I know, up to half their plants were killed. That includes tomatoes, squashes (winter and summer), beans, peas, plus cannabis and hemp if grown outdoors. C’est la vie when you are partnering with Mother Nature. Easy come and easy go.

I had put in twenty-two tomato plants; 10 survived well and two are limping along. They were of the almost 70 that were homegrown (out every morning and in every evening) for neighbors and friends plus myself. Similar happened with the other veggies. Since the frost my garden veggies have limped along.

Something was wrong. Why were the remaining plants not growing? It was too much watering. So, with backing off on that, things are greening and growing. It’s a learning curve here. The sun is so intense and it dries the surface quickly. I water in the late afternoon so that roots will absorb it through the night, but I was watering every 3 days for about half an hour. For the remaining tomatoes, great, but not for everything else.

The other lesson that has become obvious is that a different companion planting needs to happen next year. Due to the sun (altitude 7800 ft.), things like broccoli, chard, kale need filtered sun more than direct or only morning sun. That means planting them behind or within the established hollyhocks or wild asters. Potatoes are doing great (first time, and used kitchen cuttings) but they are shielded from the hottest sun hours by the house. The broccoli with them and the variety of mints is doing well. Another few broccoli and the basil are in a more shaded location and not doing well. (Everything is  a learning curve for next year.)

Brussel sprouts are doing the best. Who knew?! (first time growing them). Edamame seems to not like the altitude. Every tomato plant has a north wind curtain shield. The goal is to put in appropriate wind blocking trees on the north and west side of the garden/back yard. Maybe this Autumn when the Colorado Forestry Service has its sale.

The trellis that is shielded from the west wind by the propane tank is doing much better than what was to be a feature of the garden: the walk-through trellis. The latter gets full sun all day. It might be too much. We’ll see.

But, what is so cool to me is to see Mother Nature wild and thriving in the part of the garden that was purposefully left feral and watered. As indigenous plants grow they re-establish a mycillium network under the surface of the soil. Considering that this backyard was barren for years, this is great. Plus calite (Spanish word for lambs quarters), a native spinach is one of the bounties along the passeo (path). I love calite!

It’s a three year project just to rebuild the soil, establish wind-breaks, and figure out what to plant where. Putting in the trees is an important perculture ingredient and the space needs their protection. They shelter and shade that which grows under or near them plus provide habitat for birds.

About Donna Mitchell-Moniak

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