It’s getting damn hot lately so it’s a lot easier to write about the garden than actually, you know, garden. So while it’s not technically summer yet, here’s a little taste of what’s been going in The Experiment’s home garden.
For the first time, I’m tracking yields as a way to objectively compare changes and tinkerings in my system. It’s been a fun exercise and on average, we’ve harvested something every other day in June. I started tracking yields on spring and summer veggies as they are more amenable to the exercise. Yields on cabbage tend to be three when you plant three plants. That’s not terribly exciting. So far, since May 22nd, we have harvested 2.28 pounds of zucchini (and since the plant is now dead, that’s all we’ll get), 9.32 pounds of slicing cucumbers, .28 pounds of pickling cucumbers, 1 ounce of serrano peppers, 3.25 ounces of banana peppers, 4.75 ounces of jalapenos and 3.75 ounces of yellow tomatoes.
Growing cucumbers on a trellis (see pictures below) makes all the difference. You can plant more in less space and if you harvest regularly, they just keep coming. The pickling ones haven’t really taken off yet but I’m hoping to get at least two bunches out of it before it gets too much hotter. The tomatoes have been slow to ripen though the plants are loaded with fruit. I planted too many plants too close together so I think I’m fighting against heat and disease to at least harvest some before something goes terribly wrong. The yellow pear tomato plant is going insane and must have 100 tomatoes on it, only one bunch of which has ripened yet.
We’re going to have a good crop of corn assuming I can keep it bug free for the next 3 weeks or so. Also, the eggplant is starting to fruit and the cultivar we planted is a Japanese variety with striking fruit.
I upgraded my watering system last weekend. The soaker hoses weren’t doing what I wanted them to do. Because the soil is very loose loam, water tended to go straight down from the soaker hoses, hit the clay underneath and run out the bottom of the bed. Also, I couldn’t get enough pressure built up to run the last two or three hoses and those were critical since that’s the cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. So, as the pictures below show, I upgraded in several places to micro sprinklers run off of 1/4 inch lines that run off 1/2 inch main lines tied directly to the PVC mains. They are fantastic. I can put two micro sprinklers between rows and have both rows sufficiently watered in 20 minutes. I removed the filter from my timer and that increased the pressure enough to run all the sprinklers plus the remaining 4 or 5 soaker hoses.
I also ran a long hose to my squash with a single sprinkler. That was much more efficient than running a soaker hose out of the bed since most of the water wouldn’t ever hit the squash. All the supplies are DIG brand from Home Depot and since they have the attachments to run them off of PVC and risers, I didn’t have to modify any of the main lines. It’s made a significant difference in the cucumbers for sure. The pictures below don’t show it but there are two sprinklers between the two rows of cucumbers.
The blackberries are almost ripe though I have the feeling we will lose most of them to birds unless we pick them at 6 AM. I’ll probably start planting tomatoes and peppers next weekend for a fall garden. I have room for about 2 rows of peppers and 4 tomato plants. That should be enough for eating, canning and making of yummy sauce.