Last winter I built a greenhouse out back. By the time it was finished it was too late to be starting seeds for the summer garden because it was already getting warm outside.
A few days ago I whitewashed the greenhouse using some hydrated lime mixed with water and applied with a broom. This provides some shade so that it doesn’t get too hot in there. Each rainstorm will wash away a little bit of that whitewash and so as weather cools, the ‘greenhouse effect’ will be stronger.
Inside I prepared some beds and planted kale, spinach, mache, lettuce, arugula, beets, kohlrabi and radishes. I moved in a few kale transplants that we started outside a month ago, too. This way we have a succession planting of kale. As we plan better in future years we will do more of this.
According to some of the Eliot Coleman books we’ve read, we are a little late in doing this planting. Better late than never! I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Posted in Gardening
Tagged beets, Eliot Coleman, fall garden, garden, Greenhouse, hail proof, hydrated lime, kale, polycarbonate, spinach, transplant, whitewash
Growing cucumbers has never been easy for us. This is only our second year, though, but a second discouraging year.
Last year we read in John Seymour’s “The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live it” that you should make mounds for your cucumbers just as you would for squash and zucchini. Under those mounds, you should put about a coffee can’s worth of compost. We did just that. The plants came up and vined all over the place. We were very happy. Several two inch long cucumbers began to form. And then everything died. We couldn’t figure out why. The watering was consistent. No obvious bug or disease. Everything just turned brown and shriveled up and died.
This year we were going to take it a step farther. Our container garden employing the 55 gal poly drums was based on two year old rotted dairy manure from a friend. It appears as though there was too much acidity, though. Most of the plants grew to six inches high and then began dying.
We began researching and found that they like the soil to be limed, which seemed counter intuitive to me, the beginner. Anyways, I sprinkled some hydrated lime around each plant just as I did with the beans a week earlier. The plants that survived seem much better now.
By the way – the staff at our local Ace Hardware is incredibly helpful. They told me that I could find the lime I’m looking for in the garden section. However, the same exact thing is sold in the livestock section under a different label and is much cheaper. It is used for putting down in horse stalls, etc between cleanings and before new bedding is laid down.
Wanted to talk a little about our container garden that is thriving in the back yard. Today we staked the tomatoes and made a few changes to the bean beds.
Notice that the plants in the barrels are mulched with grass clippings. We started that last year and noticed that it helped a lot with water retention as well as weed prevention. It will also help when tilled under for adding organic matter to the soil. As I keep mowing the grass in the yard, I’ll have more clippings for the beans and potatoes.
The beans were planted right into the same rich compost. They got to six or eight inches tall and then started dying. In the picture above, we had beans planted every three inches along all four edges and now you can see the gaps pretty clearly. I guess the soil was too acidic so I got some hydrated lime at the hardware store and will incorporate into the soil and then plant some more beans. Its not too late for beans, they grow pretty quickly and our forced succession planting will provide a longer period of harvest.
Potato plants are in the two center rows, with the yukons looking bushier than the russets. The last picture below shows one of our two pots that contain tomatillos and onions. They are both easy going.