Thursday, July 27, 2017

"Don't step on the mome raths"

'Ah, Mr. Bond, we've been expecting you..."

It's been decided that we begin our first official blog, following our introduction, with our lovely garden. Our garden is not something common, though it looks like it at first glance. There is something special about our garden that you might not imagine. 

Our garden is much like a raised garden bed, however, there's something hiding beneath the soil that helps our garden flourish...

Hugelkultur is a no-dig raised beds with a difference. They hold moisture, build fertility, maximize surface volume and are great spaces for growing fruit, vegetables and herbs.

Hugelkultur, pronounced Hoo-gul-culture, means hill culture or hill mound.

Basically what we did was outline our garden, in whatever shape we wanted, with straw bales. Inside the shape, we added logs, branches, grass clippings, leaves, paper products, chicken coop cleanings, any organic material. 

The gradual decay of wood is a consistent source of long-term nutrients for the plants. The composting wood also generates heat which should extend the growing season. The logs and branches act like a sponge. Rainwater is stored and then released during drier times. 

In our situation, straw bale gardens, it requires less soil, less water and will hold heat. As the straw breaks down nutrients, it will feed the plants.

Once all of the logs and such were in place, we watered all of the logs then added a layer of grass clippings from the pasture and then compost soil to the top to make a level bed. 

We had a pile of compost from the previous owners of horse and donkey waste.
Backing the quad off the trailer was a lot easier than shoveling by hand 

Our cucumber trellis from a cattle panel

Once all of the soil was in, we watered the soil and began planting seeds or plants we started in the house! ( On a side note filling the bed and letting it settle while watering regularly a month or so before planting would have been better. we occasionally have to fill holes where the dirt has worked into the cracks.)

The list of our plants this year:
**Broccoli and Cauliflower too!**

While all of this grows in the garden, we maintain picking weeds and providing water in a good soaking from the sprinkler every few days during the dry spells. Though the watering is not necessarily needed every day, we do have some plants that are still rather small and the roots are closer to the surface that we water with the hose regularly. 

As you can see, it didn't take long for these plants to take off once planted!!
We started out using a regular sprinkler to give some extra moisture to the top soil. 
Now, we use a soaker hose that zig-zags through the plants delivering water close to the stem of each plant!

Cucumbers on the right and zucchini on the left

Some of the cucumber vines reach the trellis but these plants are still young! The brussel sprouts can be seen on the far left beyond the trellis as small little plants. There is the sweet seedless tomato plant just beyond the zucchini plants. Our beans and peas are mixed together growing up cattle panel chunks for stability going directly behind the zucchini and cucumbers.
Shortly after, small zucchini's start to appear!

There is something I would like Matthew to elaborate on for me regarding the zucchini plants before I add the current garden pictures...

I get a lot of info from the MIgardener channel on Youtube. He has a ton of great info on backyard gardening and he is in the same zone as us. Pumpkins, Squash, Melons, Cucumbers all have a terrible fight with powdery mildew (especially when planted close together.) Don't worry! This can be easily combated without harsh  Anti fungal chemicals. You just need to prune the plants, they grow ferociously and get intertwined. Prune all the leaves that reach into another plants space. That might seem extreme but I assure you that it's not hurting but actually helping your plant. Your plants need the airflow and it helps the little miracle workers find the flowers easier to pollinate!

**Little girl squeal**

Ain't she purdy?!

She's finally producing some food! I've been picking off sweet cherry tomatoes for a few weeks now as well as some green beans, a few cucumbers and zucchini!
Roma Tomatoes, OH MY!
From L to R, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Beets

Broccoli in front and Cauliflower in back. Let us discuss the white dust... it's called Diatomaceous Earth. It is an organic alternative to pesticides and the like. Again, I will let Matthew take the reins on this one...
Diatomaceous Earth is basically ground up sea shells to a fine powder that scratches the exoskeleton of those pesky plant eating bugs and dries them out so they die!

Brussel Sprouts

Beans and Peas

Cucumber on left, Zucchini on Right...
And NO, that is not a dog in the garden.

Roma tomato plant is larger than our Sargento Cheese!
Again, no dog in the garden here...

AND finally,

Here is what I gathered in two days. It's not much yet but as we keep picking more and not finding something to do with these guys... it get's crazy up in here if I don't find something to do with these! (That's for another post though!) 

On the cutting board, I did gather some berries from around our property yesterday. Just recently, I have found a red raspberry patch nestled in with the black raspberries. The black raspberries are just about finished while our blackberries are just beginning. Ah the sweet fruits of nature!! ❤

Until next time folks... 

❤ Matthew & Melissa

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Additional information and a poem post: 

Red Text: Hugelkultur
Image above:

We have also decided to add a recipe each post. Something we both love!! Enjoy!!

Marinated Zucchini with Garlic and Fresh Herbs
  • 2 medium zucchini, rinsed, ends trimmed off
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

  • For the marinade:
  • 100 ml (1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp) good quality olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ⅓ tsp red pepper flakes (plus more to taste for more heat)
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp each fresh chopped basil, parsley, dill and coriander
  1. Slice the zucchini thin. Sprinkle with kosher salt and set aside for 15-30 minutes. Drain the liquid and dry on paper towels.
  2. Mix together the sliced zucchini with the rest of the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Take out from the refrigerator. Remove the crushed garlic clove. Add the chopped herbs and toss together. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve.
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1 comment:

  1. So sweet.. you two are doing and gonna try the NEW recipe out. Thanks