Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Little Testing in the Garden

I love a project, and I have to shortage of ideas! The garden is a wonderful avenue for testing ideas since there is an endless supply of projects to be done with new challenges every season. Living in as far south as I do, water has become a big garden issue. Time to test some projects!

After attending what was one of the most irritating classes at a garden convention, a notion kept rolling around my mind. Something seen but not focused upon in a slide show I was only half paying attention to just kept gnawing at me. In my notebook doodles of the slide were a poor representation of the idea coming to fruition. My husband was going to strangle me when he heard about this one.

Contrary to my nature, but in an attempt to compromise, I scaled down my eager plans to only a fraction of the original design. He was skeptical, but complied with my crazy- busting out the tiller and gathering supplies we got the ball rolling.

Tilled soil would be a base as soaker hoses or drip irrigation hosing would be set as a guide. Over the irrigation, wide raised rows would be pulled before being covered with black fabric. Why? When we irrigate the water often evaporates before truly hitting the roots leading to poor plant development or even fruit dropping. To circumvent this, we bury the lines deep in the root's zone all while covering to retain moisture and keep weeds out.

I believe the initial results speak for themselves. The two row test area showed stunning growth, healthy root/plant development, and is 'fruiting' well. Weeds are not present and very few pests have been seen. Watering was simple- just turning the water supply on. Proudly, I strolled my husband out through the rows to see the astounding results and hear how proud he to have yielded to my insanity. That's not quite what happened. Instead, he stood there with a strange look on his face as he reported the error of my thinking: he did all that back breaking work for this trial for me to plant the one vegetable he absolutely disdains: cabbage. Uhg- he got me there.

Needless to say, the irrigated/raised/covered row was wonderful- so much so, I decided to go a bit further. This week I planted 21 blackberry canes in the very same manner (the rows are a little lower). When I showed "Mr. No Cabbage" he was fairly pleased... dreams of blackberry cobbler must be swimming around his head!

Now- what project can I rope him into next?

1 comment:

Scott said...


I've been tilling a new area for a garden. Are you saying that you put the black plastic only under the plants or the whole area that Donnie was looking out over in the first picture? Did you add anything to the soil before covering with plastic?