Every garden undergoes change, of course. Particularly if our hand is not in it at all.
Plants want to grow. Especially weeds.
Decisions I made about new garden design four years ago may not suit my current goals. I shared, in this post, some lessons I’ve learned about the dangers of overplanting. And, in my zeal to plant a drought-tolerant xeriscape, have I missed some very desirable plants?
I swear that plants are tricksters. They like to keep me on my toes. A plant that does very well one year is the very one that nose-dives the next, even when I diligently practise crop rotation. Slugs have gained a foothold on my rooftop garden. The carrot fly has finally discovered my patch. Some bird has fixated on my tiny pea shoots. Edamame never did grow. But disappointments are often offset by pleasant surprises – finally, beets and basil have decided to grow, and OMG, would you look at that stevia and that wasabi!
Last year, the first year I had a greenhouse, I was so looking forward to growing perfect tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, eggplants, and peppers in this “perfect” environment. I would say the cucumbers and basil were successes, but I’m not sure, because they also did well in the open garden.
The tomatoes, in pots, were my biggest disappointment. At first, they had lots of green growth, and appeared to be happy.
But then there was a hornworm infestation, while I was away and couldn’t spot them myself. And all the tomatoes had blossom end rot, even though I used the soil mix my nurserywoman recommended. Obviously, somewhere along the line, I missed the need for calcium.
The purpose here was to start with a fresh base. I know that all the helpful bacteria and microorganisms that we were killing benefit the soil, but I was intent on getting rid of insect eggs, and there was no evidence that there had been any earthworms in there at all.
After thoroughly scrubbing out the greenhouse (and finally cleaning the windows and putting screens over the opening windows to keep out most flies), I replaced the tomato pots with planting beds, built from our scrap lumber pile. Some of the cedar boards were from a sling of used fencing from the former flower farm, now the Beer Farm. I hope that’s good karma for my tomatoes.
Also, cleaned out the bottom of the compost to add that black gold, which teamed with earthworms. Some lime, more Salish Soil, epsom salts, organic fertilizer, and perlite for aeration, and I think I’ve found a good balance. I sure hope so, because there is absolutely nothing as delicious as a fresh tomato off the vine. (Well, maybe a fresh raspberry!)
I’ll be planting some tomatoes in the planting box in the sun under the eaves, with a stone wall for a heat sink, for a controlled experiment, and even a couple in the rooftop garden, so we’ll see how that goes.Always learning, I’m sharing with: