It is the end of July...
Really not sure how we got here so fast. I mean I know I say this every year, but dang.
My birthday is actually in a couple days and I always remember feeling like my birthday marked the end of summer. I mean we literally have an entire month left, but still in my brain my birthday was the end.
Dun dun dunnnnnnnnn.
Anywho, want to hear all about how we royally screwed up two of our garden beds?
So, we did a bunch of research this winter into different gardening techniques. One of the techniques for starting new garden beds, that was consistently repeated in the no till garden world, was laying down a layer of cardboard over your mowed grassy area, adding 8 plus inches of well aged compost, and just planting in that. The cardboard acts as a weed barrier so you don't have to worry about yanking up any of that grass/weedy area. Cool, right?
So many people we follow used this technique with great results, so why wouldn't it work for us RIGHT?
So, I'm not entirely sure what we did wrong, but what ended up happening was that the two beds that we made using this method just ended up holding entirely too much water. The water sat on the cardboard layer and just completely tormented our plants. Luckily we only planted THE MOST IMPORTANT PLANTS WE COULD in these beds, in my opinion anyway.
Razzle frazzle razzle frazzle...growl.....sob.....you know the deal...just super.
Yup, our cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, AND summer squash were all planted in these delinquent beds. Now I love our onions, garlic, herbs, flowers....etc but DANG do I Iook forward to fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. I mean no tomato sandwiches?! REALLY? Yeaaa I can go get some tomatoes at the farmer's market, and I will, but BOY did that make me feel like an epic failure.
Like, "Hi I'm Kelsey, and my husband and I are working towards starting a market garden. I know you all like to ask us for tips and such, but uhhhh, WE ARE FRAUDS."
I know, I know...we aren't really frauds, but that totally pooped my party.
We do believe that the issue is that the land where our garden is is mostly fill, so it's pretty crummy and definitely hard packed. This is especially true next to the house, which is where these two new beds are. Our theory is that an initial till would have been a game changer in this situation. The soil right there is just entirely too compact for any good drainage. Interestingly enough, the ends of the beds actually did pretty well. We have snap dragons, tulsi basil, and pumpkins growing pretty well down there, but that area is further from the house and therefore less compacted.
A small kick in the face, but also a great silver lining, is that I stopped by my girlfriend's garden the other day and saw some of the seedlings she bought off us...annnnnnnddd
Everything is doing great! Her tomatoes looked amazing and they were HUGE! So I mean that really does point towards it being the beds that screwed up our produce. The seedlings we grew were clearly healthy and all of our other beds are doing amazing. It's a painful learning experience, but one that I am definitely happy we had BEFORE starting our actual market garden.
I mean let's be real here, we will screw up plenty of things when that time comes too. That's how you learn!
It's all part of the process.
Check out these sad beds. Everything in here should be about triple the size it is now. Those pathetic little blades sticking out in front of the cucumbers are onions! Our onions in our established beds are just about ready to harvest! Womp womp to these beds. Whaaaaddayado.
Hope you all are having a wonderful summer!
Jon & Kelsey