Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

Two-fer Garden.

Posted on | July 17, 2015 | No Comments

Everybody loves a two-for-one deal.  Sometimes it’s uses are questionable…..

but it’s perfect for the garden chores.  With summer in full swing, the garden takes up the bulk of my outside time.  And whenever I can knock out two jobs with the effort of only one, it makes me happy.  The whole process starts with the watering hose.  The tomatoes have to be watered at the base of the plants so I dig the nozzle into the mulch by the stem of the plant and let it sit for 45 seconds to a minute before I move it to the next plant.  While the hose slowly saturates the soil a minute at a time, I spend the wait staking the plants and pruning away spare leaves.

This lets me stay on top of the pruning, leaving the base of the plants clear to the ground and the clumps of green tomatoes sheltered under upper branches.  See, two for one.

But there’s more two-fers.  Since I can only water the garden for about 30 minutes at a time without stressing the well, I always have to take a break.  So I use that break to rake leaves out of the ditch by the side of the driveway.

Those leaves only take about 6 weeks in November to block the ditch.  But it takes me an entire summer to gradually haul them to the perennial bed.  Where I use them to mulch the cheap perennials that Lowe’s and Home Depot dump for a $1 a pot because it’s way too hot to be planting root-bound, wilted perennials in the middle of summer.  Unless, like me, you have more time to water in the middle of summer than money to spend on fresh healthy perennials in spring.  By fall this bed will be filled with flowers and the ditch will be clear enough for winter rains.  Double done.

Once the well recovers, I tip all the squash plants on their sides in order to water at the base of the stalks.  This also lets me easily weed the squash and gives me time to weed the surrounding raised beds, too.

Weeding is tedious but often yields some pleasant surprises.  While pulling Johnson grass out of  the volunteer vines growing in the raised beds set aside for fall spinach, I found a swan gourd….

and the earliest pumpkins of the season.

As an added benefit, all that weeding and watering panics the squash bugs hiding in the mulch or on the undersides of the leaves into exposing themselves.  So by the time everything’s watered and weeded I can just go down the rows with a sprayer of dish detergent and kill them.  Suckers.

Which I believe actually makes that chore into a triple play.

Before I leave the garden I haul all the piles of weeds out to the pig pen.  That keeps debris out of the garden and all that forage means I don’t have to haul milk, bread, or scraps to the pigs for dinner.

I’m pretty sure that’s a garden grand slam, people.  Grand Slam.


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