Helping thirsty plants

IMG_20140521_141211212_HDRIn this photo I am pouring water onto a very dry bed of broccoli plants on Wednesday at my community garden plot at Amethyst Brook Conservation Area. The veil over the bed is to keep out flea beetles while letting in sun and rain, which there hasn’t been much of the last few days. It’s a constant struggle to keep the sandy soil of this garden wet enough, especially in this season when seeds are trying to sprout and seedlings want to grow.

You can also see in the photo the cardboard that I have put on the paths of this garden to suppress weeds. It’s amazing to see how some weeds will grow sideways, under the cardboard, seeking the light, to emerge beside the beds. Today I’ll begin the process of putting wood chips over the cardboard to weigh it down and make it look neater.

Today I will also plant butternut squash seeds at the community garden. It’s a good day to plant seeds because rain is forecast for the next two days. I have sifted a bucket of compost to add to the four or five mounds I will create in the squash bed in the middle of the garden. The compost will add fertility to the soil and increase its ability to retain water.

I’ll plant about four seeds to a hill, will water them a lot next week and, after they come up, will thin them to two plants per hill. If everything works out, the vines will spread all over the garden and in August I’ll have to avoid stepping on them.  This variety of squash is not as appealing to the dreaded vine borer moth as other types, and we can store them under our bed all winter. I like making soup out of butternut squash.

The first potato vine has poked its head up in our cylinders filled with compost and straw!

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