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My Garden Is CLEAN! (and other updates)

With J’s help, I’ve finally finished cleaning up my garden. Whatever weeds are left have been left on purpose; I believe it’s important to have a few wild places in a garden to harbor the beneficial critters. It also provides visual diversity.

Where the ground is covered with carpet, it is either a path or a place where I plan to grow things using the Kratky method. Where it’s covered with cardboard, I think that maybe I’m going to eventually use the space for in-ground growing.

Here’s the area around the keyhole bed, which had lately had weeds come up around it:

This is the area next to the keyhole bed, which used to be covered in weeds (the bushes in the background at the left are blueberries):

The area in the following photo used to be a strawberry patch. No more!

This is the view of the same area, looking toward the asparagus.

Orchard cleaning

Check out the next two photos. The first shows what the second used to look like, right next to the orchard wall, inside and out. The second shows what the first will eventually look like:

J is doing this project, because the grass growing along the edge of the orchard has become so well-rooted that it requires the hand tiller to get it up. Not that I can’t use a hand tiller, but my lower back doesn’t like me to.

He is also the one who has traveled an hour to fill up the car with old carpet (the only dumpster diving we do) and cut all the carpet pieces. Yay, husband!

Other garden updates

I don’t remember planting more than six sweet potatoes in this area, but you wouldn’t know it by the vines!

You have to understand that I’ve trimmed off some of the vines, and others have flipped backward to keep them in that garden bed. But still, they creep onward.

Check out how tall the broccoli plants are:

Still no florets, but like I said earlier, the leaves are more nutritious. Why do the stalks look so naked, you ask? The lower leaves we’ve either gradually eaten, or I’ve had to remove due to worm or aphid infestation.

Three plants have died thanks to harlequin beetles, which I didn’t realize were dangerous pests (they kill plants!) until it was too late for those three. Live and learn. We still have plenty of leaves for eating.

The next photo shows B’s favorite part of the garden:

I like it, too – a burst of color from the zinnias with a wall of green (mostly red malabar spinach, with some kiwi vine) in the background. Next year, I will not let zinnias grow in this area, nor will I let nearly as many malabar spinach plants get big. Believe it or not, I pulled out probably at least dozen of each zinnias and malabar spinach early on – and still I ended up with a crazy amount!

Did I tell you that I haven’t planted either one since our first year here in 2014?

And now, the Kratky tomato:

I recently had to refill the bucket with nutrient solution. And the tomato protested so much I thought it was going to die! The next couple of days, it wilted something awful, and I thought I had failed. I even began to plan how I was going to grow things if not via the Kratky method.

But as you can see, it recovered. Apparently the roots just experienced some stress when I lifted the bucket lid to pour the water in. However, the plant now has some yellowing leaves:

Whether due to the refilling, or for some other reason, I don’t know. But the plant is now growing several bunches of tomatoes and is replete with blossoms, so I’m hoping my experiment will start paying off pretty soon.

Here’s something crazy. When I severely pruned the grape plants around two months ago because the plants had developed black rot, a few weeks later one of the plants decided to grow more fruit:

Who knows if they’ll ripen, or if they’ll ripen before our first freeze. And, who cares? Not me! What are there, maybe seven or eight grapes in that bunch? Not worth fussing over.

One more note of interest before I go: the two (of three) goji bushes that have produced berries, are now on their third wave of production! (Sorry the photos are blurry.) This photo shows a flower and some green berries. The next one, two ripe berries.

I have no idea if this is normal, or if it’s just due to the mild winter that got them started early and the mostly cool (below 100 degrees, LOL) temps we’ve had this summer.

Pretty soon I need to take some photos of my indoor garden. Until then! 🙂

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  • Chris Guess September 9, 2017, 5:23 pm

    growing strawberries in pvc pipe will not allow any chemicals to enter the plants and/or fruit. Whether it be well water or city, you drink water from pvc pipe every day unless you draw water in a dug well with a bucket. PVC is used because there’s absolutely ZERO chance of leeching to occur. Myself, I have a few wooden pyramids and a few pvc pipe towers with strawberry plants in them. Both work well but the pipe towers are much easier to water; even with a soaker hose inside my pyramids, don’t require as much media, and take up less space.

    • Emily September 10, 2017, 11:14 am

      I used to be a purist and turned my nose up at anybody who used plastic for growing food. But now, I am leaning toward building either an ebb and flow or aeroponics system for growing strawberries (and perhaps everything else; the Kratky method is turning out to be too hit-and-miss for me)…yes, using PVC. I know that certain plastic chemicals, like BPA, cannot even be absorbed by plant roots b/c the molecules are too big. This is probably true of many of the other chemicals found in plastic.
      I also know that if you protect the container somehow from sunlight and heat, the plastic won’t degrade. Ergo, no chemicals to leech, anyway. PVC seems too thick to degrade very easily, so won’t bother trying to cover.
      Finally, I know that my blood is already a toxic chemical soup thanks to all the man-made chemicals that have been thrown into the environment during the past 100 years. Whatever chemicals that growing in plastic would add to the soup would be negligible compared to what’s already in my body. And all the nutrition in fresh fruits and veggies more than offset any potential problems.

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