Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lessons Learned

I've had a couple really good learning experiences in the garden this year.  This is honestly just a nice way of saying that I killed a lot of plants.

To start with, the community garden was fed by a drip irrigation system;  the first mistake that I made was to assume that this irrigation system was efficient enough to reach every corner of my raised bed.

It wasn't. As a result, some of the corn I planted didn't germinate because I had shoved them into the corner.

In addition to this assumption, I completely forgot to check to see where the irrigation system was actually dripping.  So, I had some plants that struggled with being over-watered and some that were under-watered.

I also assumed that the soil wouldn't have as much clay as typical Utah soil.  My thought process was that if I was constructing a bunch of raised beds I would use the Lasagna method to build up the soil with plenty of organic matter.  However, I think that the administrators of the garden simply bought some topsoil and filled the beds with it.

This assumption was a problem for me because when I planted transplants, a few of them drowned in their own soil, while water pooled around them and wouldn't diffuse into the surrounding clay.  In fact, I wasn't able to get the cantaloupe going at all, because of this issue.

These two problems of mine lead to a rather spotty and sad looking garden with only a few living plants.

If you remember, I was really excited about using an altered version of the three sisters method in my garden.  I planted peas as soon as I planted the corn and the pepper transplants.  This meant that the peas sprouted before the larger plants were established, and most of them didn't grow up their supports at all.

I guess I just got too excited.

I also used substandard seed and transplants,  which I'm sure only added to the problem, since everyone else's plants seem to be much bigger than mine.

Next year, I'll add organic matter to the bed immediately.  I'll also play more attention to the micro-environments in my little plot, and put things where they would be watered the proper amount.  I'll also do things in the right time-frame and get better starts.

In other news, I was able to get one good handful of sugar snap peas from my garden last week. I'm really happy about this.

Honestly, it was barely enough for a snack for myself but I'm still really pleased.

I grew these!
My goal for the season was to grow some of my own food, and I've officially done just that. Of course, I still have the peppers and the corn to go, so maybe I'll even get up to a single pound of food for myself and my husband.

Maybe in a few years I'll be up to a hundred pounds, or a thousand.

I'm not very good at this yet, but I like gardening, and the idea of sustainability way too much not to be good at this someday.