Crappy Job

Just finished a really crappy job. Literally. A few months back George and I each picked up a load of cow manure, unprocessed by anything but the cows. The loads were roughly 20 CF each. I was judicially using mine every now and again as a layer on the compost pile and keeping it otherwise covered. George was going to do some container gardening but never got around to it and had never bothered to cover his. The other day he decided that he was never going to get the patio garden going and asked if I could use his stash. It was full of water and took us and his golf cart to drag the container down to the garden where I could use it. It must have weighed several hundred pounds. I dumped it out adjacent to the compost pile and proceeded to move it, a shovel full at a time, to the garden. What a job. I mostly put a shovel full at the base of every plant in the garden and went back the next day to chop each pile up so it would be easily absorbed into the ground. Going to be interesting to see how things progress from this point. I will say that all the plants look great, robust and healthy, prior to adding the cow droppings so it will be hard to give it credit if it stays on the same path. If I over did it………

Generally speaking I’m approaching the whole garden differently this year. I’m planting fewer items and giving each more space and being much more diligent about keeping weeds picked. I’m also scanning each plant daily and removing any leaves that look “off”, removing any critters that don’t belong, and carefully staking and tying off wandering branches rather than let nature take it’s course as I have in the past. It’s too soon to say that all this effort, at least an hour a day, will make any difference but it sure looks good.

People frequently ask me how big the garden is and when I tell them it’s roughly 1200 SF they say they just don’t have that much space. The picture below may help with that perception. It shows about 20% of the garden, a 12’ x 20’ patch. In it I’ve planted 8 tomato plants, 8 green peppers, 6 cucumbers, 4 eggplants and a basil plant. The row you see that looks empty is where the eggplants are planted. That was a late planting and they’re still quite small but trust me, they’ll fill in that row by next month. If I didn’t have any space other than this, I’d cut back to 4 tomatoes and 4 pepper plants but add some zucchini squash and bush beans. That would be a well balanced summer garden for our tastes and provide most, if not all, of our fresh produce needs. Depending on where you live, you could turn this space over for two different crops. I did that consistently in Utah where I planted cool weather plants in March or April and then summer/fall plants in late May and June. In Florida I run it continuously 12 months a year with deference to particular seasonal crops.

Garden section with basics
Garden section with basics

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