Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer

Already the end of June, a rainy, cloudy month here in the mountains. I need to report that the lasagna garden is doing okay for cabbages, broccoli and bok choi, but not so well for lettuce, carrots, radishes and peas. :0( It could be a function of the weather and not necessarily the lasagna garden. But I'm loving the lasagna - no till- gardening idea.

I first put down worms (I happen to have a lot of those), then cardboard from left over history day projects at school, (You can also use 6-8 pages of newspaper.) Then I scattered our humanure over the top----we didn't have nearly enough, by the way. Then a layer of fresh grass clippings (no seeds or fertilized grass), then a layer of peat moss, then crushed leaves, then peat moss, then rotten wood chips from the woods. Finally I made small trenches to put organic dirt in and plopped in the seeds.

Hmmmm. I also started the broccoli, cabbage, and bokchoi and peas indoors. So that also might be a function of what's going on. The peas, however, are not doing well. Oh yeah, the beans are also doing terribly and I started them indoors. So. . . .no idea why some things are doing well and others aren't.

In the solarium we release 2 packages of ladybugs to combat the aphids. This time we sprayed the leaves with water first and that kept them from flying to the ceiling the next morning. So, right now, the aphids are tolerable.

I planted 2 tomato plants in the topsy turvy planters in the solarium this year----they didn't work outside last year. One I put a bean plant out of the top and the other no bean plant. The one with the bean plant is fixing nitrogen for the tomato and the I have at least double the amount of tomatoes and blossoms on the tomato plant. I'm also watering them both with pond water, not cistern water. I think that helps. I didn't do that last year.

My begonias are blooming non-stop. I'm blaming that on the worm castings. They LOVE that. But worm castings didn't help the strawberry plant. So I've been pouring coffee on it, Curt's been giving it urine. We don't know why it's not blooming. No blooms, no strawberries. Not good. :-(

My northern pitcher plant ate the wasp---maybe two of them---that I invited in to eat the aphids. I saw a slug in the mouth of the other "bloom" so I think that plant is full for the moment. I'm still trying to find the best plants to put around the pond. I moved the rosemary bush and now I moved the Lady's Mantel---they were just being drown. So now I have a mini-cattail plant there. I hope that works. The slugs are eating the bulbs of the irises, so I'll have to keep those in plants and hope the slugs don't go there. OR, get a frog! :-)

The koi have been voracious eaters this spring and summer. We can't keep enough duck weed in the pond. They've nibbled at all of the lilly pads, ate the Faerie Moss, ate the snails. I put 12 shrimp in the pond and when I cleaned it out this spring, I still had 3. So they WERE hiding well enough. The only thing that's still alive is the Hornwort and it's missing branches. The Frog's Bit is doing okay too. So. . . .I'm wondering if the fish need a different kind of food. Luckily the ammonia level is not too high in the pond and I can still watch them eat their koi sticks. One bad thing: Casper got eaten by the water pump. It prompted screen around the pump.

I have to say, I really like the trial and error, the pursuit of the balance, the problem-solving it all takes. It's fun.
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