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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