Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The squash and beans patch, + corn update

Squash and Beans

Last time I was at dad's, I finished digging an 8x30 foot bed, and at the end of the day at wine:thirty we pulled a couple of chairs over and sat drinking our wine and looking proudly over our bare patch of dirt like we do at every day's good work.

I planted it this weekend. The organic matter content in the soil is abysmal, or so it looks. I'm going with it. It is an experiment in minimalism. I'm calling it "farming" rather than "gardening" because farming - generally a much more extensive activity, while gardening is intensive - often doesn't allow for the luxury of trucking in a half ton of compost per 100 sq. feet, as I tend to do when starting a new garden.

So I limed it, put a little bit of compost at the bottom of the trenches and some hot chicken poop/wood chips compost a little deeper under a couple of the trenches. I made these trenches a bit less than 5 feet apart down the length of the center of the bed, and planted three squash seeds about 6"apart in each. I will thin to one plant, so each plant will have a 5x8 foot patch of its own. This is less than Carol Deppe's 7x8 feet, but not by much. I planted in trenches about 4" deep so the seeds will stay moist, walking barefoot in the trench to restore soil capillarity (its ability to wick moisture up from below) before putting in the seed, then put 1-3 inches of looser soil on top of it, which I just firmed a bit by prodding with the back of the hoe.

The beans I planted about 2" apart in long trenches of their own down the middle of the bed, with squash "hills" on both sides. This means that there are two 8 foot rows about 20" apart dividing the length of the bed in half. A "hill" by the way, is just a way of saying "some seeds planted together." In this case, my hills are actually the trenches described above. I figured this out only after I planted my other squash plants in Wojtek and Davi's garden in actual hills. So far, they're fine - the seedlings there have their first couple of true leaves.


My corn has come up! Some are just peeking above, most are an inch or two high, and some are 3 or 4 inches. I have left the remay on so the birds don't pull them up, but I don't like doing it. As lightweight as it is, the plants are bending as they push against it anyway. I'd like to free them up. I will take it off when I get back in a few days and hopefully the plants will be big enough to be left alone. I'll be able to check on them regularly throughout the day at that point to catch evil birds in the act.


I started Basil seeds indoors early last week, and they went leggy on me just after sprouting because the light was not turned on the day most of them decided to sprout. I have put them in the intensive care unit for the next four days: indoors, an inch under the lights which will stay on 24 hours a day to pump them up.

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