July 21, 2009

Garden Lessons

Our garden is producing like mad and our berry patch has more berries then we (and our friends) can deal with. The orchard trees are loving the sun-rain mix, and only one apple and one cherry have been grazed by the deer. There was a pretty intense infestation of aphids in early summer, and the Japanese beetles are starting to come out and devour leaves, but so far that is not too bad. The rains have produced a bumper crop of slugs and snails, but our garden is growing fast enough to keep one step ahead.

Things we did this season that seem to be paying off include:

- Sending a soil sample off to a lab to be tested, and then following the recommendations to
make the pH and nutrients right (pelletized limestone mostly).
- Rebuilding the fence and burying it 6-8 inches in the ground. So far it has kept out most of the
critters adequately.
- Cutting down the big white pine which gives the garden an hour or two more sun.
- Doing companion planting, putting things that help each other grow next to each other (tomato and basil, peas and potatoes) .
- Using black mesh stuff and lawn trimmings to keep weeds down. (Using straw proved to be
stupid, as there are still seeds in it...)
Some things to remember for next year include:

- Only prune the trees in early spring (not in the late fall like some books say)
- Prune raspberry plants to shoulder height in early spring for a good yield.
- Use apple as groundhog bait.
- Liquid Fence (that stinky stuff you can spray on trees) works pretty well at deterring deer.
- Peach trees take the longest to accept spring and don't start leafing out till late June
- Squash don't start growing till mid-July if transplanted
- Chicken wire is better than string for climbing pea vines
- If fruit trees (pears in this case) start turning black at the end of the branches, prune that off. It
will keep the tree healthy and encourage better growth.

Groundhog #6, captured on July 20 outside the berry patch - transported to Peacock Beach with the rest of 'em.


Benjamin said...

I bet they are tasty, and yet you let all the groundhogs go. No wonder little Alden is cranky. I'd be angry too if you took my dinner to the beach.

Elizabeth Hobson said...

They'd probably make pretty nice winter hats too. I'm thinking coonskin cap style, with the tail hanging down the back and the ear flaps....