On Saturday, my daughter and I were out in our garden, milling around, checking stuff out, they way we often do, when we saw our dog Chester over at the base of the apple tree. He was barking and acting funny. I thought maybe he treed something. Maybe the neighbor’s cat, maybe even a groundhog. For a second I was full of dread that maybe he had treed a raccoon in the middle of the day.
Upon further inspection we found that he hadn’t treed anything at all, but instead he was just alerting us to the presence of a strange visitor—some kind of carrier pigeon, taking a break from its journey from who-knows-where to who-knows-where. So of course I ran to get the camera. My daughter decided his name was Morry.
Our garden is looking pretty good these days. Raised beds, deep straw mulch, and trellises have made such a difference in the amount of work I have to do out there. In the past, this time of the year was make-or-break time. One false move, one slight hesitation, and the garden would be completely over run by weeds, crippled by under-watering, or overgrown by runaway cucumbers of squash plants. But this year, everything seems to be under control. The deep mulch takes care of the weeds; the raised beds with drip hoses and mechanical timer take care of my watering problems; and that trellis gives the cucumbers something constructive to do with their time.
We made our first jar of pickles yesterday. We’ve blanched and frozen 11 family-sized servings of beans. I planted potatoes in straw mulch which makes it really easy to just reach in a grab a few when you need them without disturbing the whole plant or digging up the soil. And the zucchinis are basically relentless. But what my family waits all year for are the tomatoes. Any day now.
The bean teepee is also a big hit at our house. It provides nice shady place to escape the summer sun. And as an added bonus, volunteer pumpkins are making their way to the top.
On second thought, I may keep my garden plans to myself a little while longer, but my general ideas are: more raised beds, a new fence, new compost bins, kohlrabi, and a custom watering system.
That’s right, a custom watering system.
I always wished they sold short lengths of drip hose that I could use instead of the 50-footer that I’ve been using. I only want to water my crops, not my footpaths. I end up wasting a lot of water.
So my idea was to have a series of short drip hoses connected with short non-drip hoses, thereby creating a custom watering system. One day at the garden store I saw that they did in fact sell these short piece of hose, but they were expensive.
This year I’m going to cut up the old hoses to the lengths I need and use those hose end repair kits—the little hose repair ends. Not sure if it’s going to work, but I’m going to try it.