Monday, January 14, 2008

Planting a Three Sisters Garden...

Here is a good example of a well working vegetable mound featuring corn, beans and squash - enjoy :-)

Planting a Three Sisters Garden

Simple Living at Joshuah's House

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Harvest Time

The vegetables on your individual mounds will most probably be harvested at different times. Produce that is picked early, like spinach or salad, can be sown several times in one season. Sowing radishes and carrots together, close to the salad preferrably, would be a good example of how to use the space that you have available well: The radishes are harvested at a time when the carrots have not yet begun to produce fruit, and once picked, the radishes make room for the carrots to grow properly.

If you want to save seed for next year, make sure to buy only heirloom seed, and to let some of your vegetables go to seed. Save seed from healthy plants and fruit only.
Just like fruits and vegetables demand a little work to make them last through the winter, so seed requires a little bit of attention in order to yield fruit the following season. Seed can best be stored in labelled envelopes in a dry yet airy place.

For legumes like pole beans or peas, leave pods on the plant until they are leathery, and don't pick them all as green peas or green beans.
Tomato, pepper, eggplant, zucchini and other plants that carry their seed in the fruit should be picked when ripe, and their seed dried before stored away.
Other plants like salad, radishes or spinach carry their seed in seed pods that only appear after blossoming, so some of your crop you should not pic before it goes to seed. Carrots only go to seed in the second year, so it is a good idea to leave a few carrots in the ground and wait for next year's seeds.

After the harvest, make sure to deep spade your mound again and to measure the pH level of your soil again, so that you can prepare your soil well for the next season before the winter rest.

Simple Living at Joshuah's House

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Taking care of a mound

Mounds need to be watered like every other garden bed. By starting to water at the top, you will not waste water. Do not water hastily, that is, with too much water pressure, to avoid erosion or seeds being washed away. Planting on terrasses and mounding the soil around the stem of your growing plants will ensure that the water you add to the soil will reach the roots of your plants.

Adding organic material to the soil, pulling weeds and loosening up the soil periodically will help your plants to grow well too, of course. Once your top plant grows high enough, make sure to stake it well.

Despite well planned companion planting, you might still encounter bugs and critter problems along the way. If the summer is a wet summer, you might have to deal with slugs, for example. An easy and organic way of dealing with slugs is to edge your mound with crushed eggshell. Slugs cannot crawl over the sharp edges of crushed eggshell without hurting themselves, so they stay away from your mound. In contrast to an ordinary garden bed though, you have a much easier time with the eggshell since, if you protect the outer circle well, slugs will leave your whole mound in peace. Besides, the white rim around the mound adds beauty to your mound. Just make sure that you have enough crushed eggshell to renew the layer frequently, that is, at the latest after every rain.

Simple Living at Joshuah's House

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Friday, December 21, 2007

What to plant

The general idea is to plant the lowest growing variety at the bottom and the highest at the top of the mound. The outer circle of a mound might very well consist of a vining variety like cucumber or cantaloupe, followed by a low growing kind of marigolds in the next circle. The following circle could be a medium hight vegetable like peppers or eggplant, with the top of the mound being reserved for pole beans or tomatoes, for example. Make sure to use a companion planting chart to decide which vegetable should go where, so that your plants don't stunt each other's growth, and so that you can fight bugs and critters best.

Make sure to leave enough space between your plants, like you would in any other garden bed, so that your plants have enough room to grow and bear fruit. If you plant early varieties like spinach, leave enough seed for a second crop after the first is harvested. This way, your edible landscape will be provide you with fresh produce for a long time.

Simple Living at Joshuah's House

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Soil Quality

If you are unsure about the quality of your soil, use a soil tester kit to test the pH level and take proper steps if your soil is too acidic or too alcaline. Once you have done that and deep spaded one more time, make sure that you do not step on the soil anymore, or, if you have dug a big mound, that you only step on the stepping stones or areas. Compacted soil stunts growth and is easy to avoid.

If you want to keep your soil nourishing to your plants, add organic material to your mound as you go just like you would do to any other vegetable bed. Grass clippings, for example, keep the soil from drying out and prevent excessive weed growth.

It is also a good idea to pull weeds as they appear, as they compete with your vegetable for the nutrients in the soil. A good rule of the thumb is to pull weeds after every rain, as they are easy to pull from the wet soil and won't take the fresh nourishment from your vegetables.

Simple Living at Joshuah's House

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mound Size

When you start digging your mounds, keep in mind that you need to be able to reach the middle conveniently and from all sides. If you want to build large mounds, plan in space to walk on, probably even place a few stepping stones. Otherwise, restrict the size of your mound to a radius of 2 feet.

After deep spading the soil, pile it up in the middle and create small terrasses of soil to indicate where you will plant your seed or seedlings. If you feel the need to stabelize your terrasses, rows of stones will do the job nicely.

Simple Living at Joshuah's House

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Welcome to my Mound Gardening blog

Welcome to my Mound Gardening Blog. What I will explain here is the concept of an edible landscape, using the example of mounds as both beautiful landscaping ideas and convenient, easily workable vegetable beds.

What is mound gardening? Basically, the idea of mound gardening is that, instead of a longish, flat vegetable bed, you dig up round beds that are raised in the middle. Your vegetables you plant in circles around the middle, with tall, staked varieties in the middle and lower varienties around them. The benefits of mound gardening are manifold:
* You can use to your advantage all the good effects of companion planting as plants are close enough together to be within root reach from each other.
* You can turn your vegetable beds into beautiful additions to your yard, instead of "hiding" your vegetable patch from view in the far back of your yard.
* You can plant a lot in a small space.
* You can place mounds all over the yard and alongside the house as well.
* You can pick shady or sunny spots according to what you plan on growing.

This blog will focus on the things that are essential when considering to grow your own food on mounds.

1. Mound Size
2. Soil Quality
3. What to plant
4. Taking care of a mound
5. Harvest Time

Simple Living at Joshuah's House

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