Summer Solstice Garden


How My Garden Grows

With all this wonderful mix of sunshine and rain our gardens are doing great. I realize that many of you have gardens that are much further along, tomatoes that are taller (I think of my father here in particular) but we’re north, high altitude (for Vermont) and east facing so we’re always a little late.

The above garden is just how I like it – essentially weed free. That is about 100 cubic-yards of material that was primarily from the big compost pile of last year. It’s well melded now and the plants are loving it. Even our corn is doing great – something I struggle with and rarely get right.

The secret to this weed free garden is that the compost kills the seeds. A few blow in or were not deep enough to get the full heat but then after spreading the pile I let the chickens pick it over, scratch it down and remove any sprouts before I planted. They enjoy the work and it saves me a lot of time.

Speaking of chickens, I have found it is best to buy new chicks in February, preferably early February. If I get them later they can still scoot through the poultry netting when I want to be planting gardens. This year we got about 100 chicks in the end of March and they were still too small to be kept out of the garden in May. Had we gotten them a month earlier they would have been big enough. Two months earlier and certainly big enough. It is a balance against the cold winter and brooding chicks in the more temperate weather.

In with the tomatoes are dill, parsley and other herbs. Between the rows are a smattering of radishes, lettuce, spinach and carrots that will provide ground cover. Companion plantings that use the space better as well. I seed a little more lettuce and such each week.

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The soaker hoses are just for religious purposes. I put them out and the storm clouds see them and rains on the hoses. Turning the hoses on is not actually necessary. You think I’m silly but it works!

I have a couple dozen tomato cages that I bought 18 years ago or so when Will was born. They have held up well and I’m still using them. Interestingly those were $3.99 almost 20 years ago. Holly saw them on sale for $1.99 (marked down from $6.97) and bought me another couple dozen for my birthday this year. There are certain benefits of having a late garden.

Outdoors: 77°F/52°F Mostly Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 70°F/67°F

Daily Spark: The difference between theory and practice is that, in theory, there is no difference. -Anonymous

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor…

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