Gardening

Ever since I interviewed at the organic garden (I didn’t get the job); I’ve been researching bio-intensive (also known as French Intensive or permaculture) gardening.  I’ve always maintained an organic garden, but my planting has always been willy-nilly.  The garden has always done well, probably because of the tons of rabbit manure that I put on it or possibly because I’ve always planted my tomato plants too close.  Planting a lot of vegetables in a small area is part of the bio-intensive method as it creates a form of living mulch which keeps weeds down.

I’ve always felt it could do better with my garden.  Every year has been an improvement and this year is going to represent the largest improvements yet.

Last Saturday, we visited an organic farmer in Catawba who was willing to share both his time and knowledge.  His gardening methods were not as advanced as the organic garden where I interviewed, but he was doing well enough to begin selling CSA shares.  My biggest questions were what types of heirloom vegetables grew well in this area.  Not only did I get that information, but I also got some seeds and vegetables to take home. I was formerly not a fan of zucchini, but now that I’ve tried Cocozelle zucchini (an heirloom variety) I’m in love with zucchini. I saved some seeds and plan to use them this summer.

On Sunday, before Rosemoon and company arrived, I got Wally to double-dig a bed for me.  I feel sure he was cursing me the whole time, wondering why I couldn’t just put the damned vegetables in a tilled garden like everyone else.  The process of double-digging a garden is a tremendous amount of work, but it is a more productive means of gardening.  Originally, double-dug beds were developed for use in narrow back yards in France.  Once the beds are dug, they require little annual upkeep and now power tools to continue in production.

The process is extremely strenuous because you need to dig down two feet, pull that dirt up into trenches, add compost, mix in the soil and break up the clods.

I’ve been working on this post since last Sunday morning and am finally getting around to finishing it.  We’ve got one bed dug and ready to go and another one half-way dug.  We need to go over to the horse farm where Al Bin came from and get another load of manure compost.  There’s a huge pile of it over there and it’s really old manure mixed with sawdust; it’s really quite perfect.  Over the past few days I’ve been working on the garden beside the house and soon that space will sport two-12-foot long beds.  On his way home from work, Wally is picking up the lumber necessary to frame in the beds.  I’ll attach hoops to each bed so I can use them with either chicken wire (or netting) to keep the chickens out, shade cloth or plastic.

I’m quite excited about this endeavor and hope that it will be fruitful.  By this time next year, we’ll have our own compost to use instead of having to import it as we have been doing.  We’ve got Marcus scheduled to come over with his bobcat to remove the accumulated straw and manure from the goat shelter.  We’ll put it in a pile in the middle of the goat pasture and continue to add to it over the year.

Update on the lap top problems: it seems to be running fine.  I was able to get past Windows’ activation process and I re-installed most of the software that was on the hard drive.  So far, so good.  The damned technician keeps calling asking if I was able to fix the screen issue.  I haven’t taken his calls and do not plan to.  I’m afraid of what I might say to him.

It’s hot as heck here now.  The humidity is high making the heat even more miserable.

I need to go and get supper going.  Until later …