Micro-Gardening is great for your morale

DSC01940 It has been 37 days since my last micro-garden update and things seem to be going well. In our part of Floyd, VA, the weather has been mostly cool and rainy with a few days of bright sunshine in the past few weeks.

One end of the deck has been devoted to the micro garden and it is a green oasis of peace and quiet where we can putter around with our morning cup of coffee and the cats find it to be a cool refuge in the heat of the day.

Most of our vegetables are thriving and none were damaged by the heavy rains of the past few weeks. The potting soil recipe I borrowed from the Square Foot Gardening people has worked beautifully and we have had few weeds and almost no insect damage.

DSC01952 The plants have grown so much that it has been necessary to separate the containers by a foot or more to avoid crowding. As you can see, the sunflower and the sugar peas are taller than I am. We now have some home-grown vegetables on the table every day.

DSC01950 We have enjoyed lettuce and onion greens (in salad) for several weeks. One of our tomato plants produces a few sweet yellow grape tomatoes which are so good they never make it into the kitchen. The big tomatoes are finally ripening and we should be eating them later this week.

DSC01942 We have been eating the sugar peas, but they will be even better in a few days.

We planted several different kinds of beans and the first crop is almost ready for the cooking pot.

We have weeks to go before the carrots are ready and I have no idea how long it will take for the parsnips and the squash to mature, but we are enjoying the bounty of our garden and it takes very little work.
DSC01946 The results are not in yet for our upside-down tomatoes although Gretchen says they are beginning to put on a growth spurt and may produce tomatoes this season.

The squash are still small, but they look healthy and I have great hopes for them. We will just have to wait and see.

I plan on doubling the number of containers next year and planting some early Spring vegetables as well.
DSC01947  

I don't think we are saving any money this year, but we are taking control of some of our food production, learning a lot of new skills, and are enjoying it immensely.

Our small garden gives us a greater appreciation of the problems that our neighboring farmers have to deal with.

If the economy continues on its downward trend, we'll need to sharpen our gardening skills further and be ready to grow as much food as possible.

That will entail getting a roto-tiller and stringing more electric fencing. Next years project…

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0 Responses to Micro-Gardening is great for your morale

  1. Tom King says:

    Bravo!

  2. Zack St Lawrence says:

    Nice looking garden. Hope your deck can support all that earth, or are you looking to do a normal garden next year?

    I find gardens take a lot of work. enriching the soil, learning which plants like the minerals and your climate, etc. You also need to be out almost every day to check for weeds and pests. But I don’t doubt you can grow more than you can eat and you have a friendlier climate down there.

    Keep growing!

  3. Zack,

    I had the same concern about weight which is why I use a potting soil formula instead of amended topsoil. My potting mix weighs a third as much as a similar volume of topsoil. These relatively fragile plastic file holders lined with landscape cloth weigh about 25 pounds with potting soil. In the past I used topsoil and could not lift the containers when filled.

    I plan to double the deck garden next year and to till and plant a garden down below also. The ground level garden requires use of a roto-tiller, a truckload of topsoil and compost, and an electric fence to keep out varmints.

    The deck garden was much more affordable and that was an important factor this year.

    Even down here we are having a much colder summer than usual. Our local farmers are having a tough time to get anything except hay to grow this year.

    I actually wish global warming was fact instead of a political fiction because I have read credible reports that this cooling trend may continue until 2030.

    We should know more by next year.

  4. Beth W. says:

    I’m envious of your beautiful garden. Between arthritis and the ravenous bunnies and deer, I’ve about given up on gardening. Thank goodness for my gardening friends and some good local farmer sources.

    We’ve had a much cooler summer, too. In our case, here in panhandle Florida, where late July is usually miserable, that’s climate change we can believe in! 🙂

  5. Jack Russell says:

    Hey David,
    If you are thinking about a garden plot for next spring, let’s till one up in August and get it planted in a good fall cover crop. I’ve got the tiller, Seven Springs has the cover seed (I favor a mix of hairy vetch and cereal rye). You will get a jump start on that spring garden, the cover crop can add enormous amounts of organic matter and nitrogen, and it might minimize the need for trucking in topsoil. Maybe while we prep the fall garden, a falconer we know might address the squirrel problem too!

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