June 29, 2018
I realized today that I had a huge weed patch in the garden that was about a ten foot square, so I got an old tarp and covered it. It's called occultation, and is an organic technique for weed suppression. Ideally I would have cut them down to the ground before covering them, but I've grown weary of my weedwacker already. If I would have used clear plastic it would be called solarizing and would kill the weeds, weed seeds and soil pathogens, but would also kill beneficial microbes, so it would only be done if I had a problem with my soil. I've spent years feeding the soil microbes with leaves, straw, hay, and compost so I think I've developed a ballanced ecosystem that doesn't allow pathogens to flourish..
I don't want to kill any microbes. I think weed suppression is going to have to become an ongoing gardening process for me so I'm exploring alternative methods. Torching them has crossed my mind..
June 30, 2018
Our local extension service says July 14th is a good time to plant the fall garden. They mention broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, beets, lettuce and peas. It can be difficult to find space for them with the garden being so full of summer crops. A little planning now can ensure adequate room. The first planting of beets, spinach, carrots and peas are coming out so those rows can be replanted with fall crucifers. The cabbage and cauliflower are about finished so beets, peas and lettuce can go in there. I always start my fall crops by direct seeding..
The soil is warm enough for rapid germination and I put 2"x6" boards over the rows to keep them damp. When the crucifers are about 4" tall I'll transplant them to wherever there is open space. I've not been successful using the plastic six packs to start fall veggies. I think it's because their roots don't stay cool enough. The plants pop up and then just sit there for weeks not growing until I put them in the ground at which point they start growing..
July 01, 2018
My broccoli florets are opening when they are the size of a nickel so it's time for me to pull out the plants. More room is needed in the garden for the fall crops, and picking the small florets is tedious. I'll use the stems and leaves as weed suppressing mulch, but the stalks would look ugly and take forever to decompose. I've found that the optimal garden waste mulch technique is to not try and cover a lot of ground..
Layering green on top of dried, and spreading it in thin layers, looks better than clumps of mulch or large areas of thin mulch. The July heat prohibits much mid day gardening so it's time for me to stretch out my shade cloth onto the tomato towers and move shade to where I'm working. July 24th is fall planting time for bush beans, but why wait?..