A beautiful cool morning was awaiting at 6 am with a cup of reheated coffee Skunkpuppy and I went to the river side porch. Everything seemed to be in order, after the survey and polishing off the coffee we headed to the garden. Camera in hand not a creature was stirring, not even the dead mouse the trap snapped in the garage.
Seeds are arriving in a trickle, Cucumbers on Saturday, Chrenshaw melons yesterday, and Zucchini today. Our mail goes to the Island Post Office, we don’t collect it every day often staying there for a week rarely longer. But on this day the goal was to get a few nature snaps then work with the compost and plant the melons. As I said no critters have been out all day in the 100° F (37.77°+ C.) day. A few Starlings, Ravens, and a Blue Heron were out and about early however by 10 am there was no trace of movement.
My first order of business was a visit to the compost box a grandson
and I built several years ago. Compostors are easy to ignore, especially cold compostors ignored by everyone until they decide to use it as a trash can. After clearing the stuff from the top of the heap was among the best organic potting soil I have seen in a long time. I shoveled 3 cubic feet into a large bin that was used as a Worm Colony up until 2 years ago. Stopping by the Casting 45 gallon trash can I filled a 5 gallon bucket then continued to the box designated for the Chrenshaws.
I am a convert to crowded planting especially when vines are planted, several years ago I planted about 100 Acorn Squash seeds in the 10 foot x 2 foot raised bed box. The results were fantastic supplying them for the entire Winter. Repeating the following year with Tomatoes was not as impressive, I did not stake them up deciding instead to grow them as if they were in a farmer field. It works fine for them but on the small scall such as my garden it was far less than spectacular. This year all of the Tomatoes are supported either by a cage or a handmade structure.
I made up the soil with the wood chips that I asked a tree trimming crew to dump in the garden, once they are soaked with water they remain wet for a very long time. The water also speeds up the composting, the chips will be completely composted by the end of August. In the chips I dig a fairly deep hole 9 inches diameter x 6 inches deep then fill it with compost after placing a few scoops of castings at the bottom. After filling the hole 2 inches below the surface of the chips I place more castings on top 1 inch thick then plant the seeds in a dimple in the center.
Besides the lack of photo material my second largest challenge is keeping the raised beds moist, I have learned over the years to use a lot of organic material on the top of the bare soil. Wood Chips, Leaves, and Straw are among the materials I have used extensively. I have also used Newspaper and Cardboard to a lesser degree, but it works nicely as well. The Earthworms in the boxes need attention from time to time, albeit less than the colonies. The boxes emulate their natural habitat perfectly commanding little maintenance other than feeding them in the event there is too much organic waste for the indoor Worm Farm.
It’s 105°F (40.55° C), true to form our Air Conditioner crapped out as it does during the first hot day each year. It’s a low concern for me, Mrs. Lebec is more sensitive to hot weather than I. It took me a long time to get used to it being from Minnesota, but I did. The hottest I have worked in was 126° F (52.22° C) in the California Desert South of Palm Springs and just North of the Salton Sea. Incidentally that was the same day we decided to leave.
Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance