By Cynthia Brownell
Spring has finally arrived. No, I am not talking about mud season; the time after the last snow and before pollen. I am talking real spring. Warm weather, blue skies, and song birds. Running around finishing school work, homeschool co-op, performances, and testing. Ah spring!
Staying busy has made planning for the summer months difficult. Next thing I know May is over and June is on the calendar. Garden…what garden? This past two weeks in between rain storms and cold nights we have finally planted the garden.
We were lucky enough to plant the garden right before a week of constant rain. After last year’s drought and our first hot day, I started to think about our water situation.
We do have a storage container that we have converted to a rain bucket, but I noticed one thing that I didn’t take into consideration. Evaporation! We did collect about a foot of water when it was raining, yet by the time I needed to water the garden about half of it had evaporated.
What to do? I am going to try to cover the storage bin. I know that sounds simple…but when we built the rain collection unit I cut a hole in the top of the lid, and added a screen to keep the bug and debris out. When it isn’t raining I will take a lid from another storage bin and cover it. I am going to do a quick experiment to see if this helps with evaporation.
The other solution is to create a few more rain collection units. When we roofed our cabin, we used asphalt shingles. I have read that the chemical that seeps into the rain water from the asphalt shingles are not appropriate for food gardens. We have started our outdoor kitchen/storage shed and plan on using metal roofing. With that in mind I am hoping to add at least two more water retention buckets.
Let the experiment begin!
As my husband and I were planting our garden a few fun facts came up. Are they truths or myths? What do you think?
- Before planting bell pepper starts, dig a six inch hole, place a book of matches in the hole. Cover lightly with an inch of dirt. Then plant the pepper start on top of the layer of dirt. Apparently, it adds phosphorus to the soil.
- Add egg shells to each hole before you plant your tomato starts. I was told this will help with blight.
- Plant marigolds with and around your tomato plants. This will help with bug and pest control.
- Add egg shells around your tomato plants. The egg shells stops cut worms from getting to the plant.
- What about the problem with worms in cabbages? An older woman told me to use a fine mesh sifter and sift all-purpose flour on top of the cabbage that is beginning to show signs of worms. I am not sure what the flour does to the worms, but I know they don’t like it.
Any garden suggestions? I would love to hear them.