Sunday, October 04, 2015

In the garden -- diggin' it

My garden is happy.
It's producing like crazy.
Tomatoes, carrots, peppers, pumpkins,
 squash, potatoes, basil, parsley, and some late lettuce.

I have noticed these last couple of years that my raised beds seem to dry out more in mid-summer and don't seem as productive as my in-the-ground gardens used to be.  So I decided to till a little patch this past week right next to the raised beds, then I filled them up with some yard mulch -- grass clippings and leaves.  I also intend to put some rotted alfalfa hay there and let the worms and bugs go to work on it, building up the soil there.  Next year I'll plant and see what happens.

 What I really want to do is dump half of the raised beds and till them under too, but I might only get one of my boxes dumped.  It would be a good experiment to see the difference in gardening next year.  I do have an in-the-ground garden on the sidehill next to my fenced-in garden and it really does great.  Weeding might be more of a problem, but I will deep mulch and that should really help a lot.

Have you heard of Ruth Stout?  She's an old-time gardener who was a big believer in deep mulch gardening.  She never tilled or added manure or fertilizers.  She just kept piling on old hay mulch year after year and let the bugs do the digging and fertilizing.  She called it Lazy Gardening, but I call it smart!  She wrote a couple books about gardening without the work, and there are a few articles and videos about her methods.  Here is an excellent article in Mother Earth News about her.  And here is a sweet video of Ruth telling about her gardening in her own words.  Ruth lived into her nineties and did all of her own gardening.

I took up the deep mulch, no-till method of planting potatoes a few years ago, and I can testify that it does work!  I rarely even water the potato patch and it produces more than we can eat.  I've used straw in the past, but I think this fall I am going to add a layer of old, moldy alfalfa hay to it.  I think it will be healthier for the ground and add more nutrients to it.  

 I just had to show you this beautiful plant that has climbed my garden fence.  It's a Hyacinth Bean Vine.  Kathie from A Sparrow's Home sent them to me a few years back.  I had tried planting them a time or two, but they never grew.  This year, I found the calico pouch with a few more seeds in it and decided to try once more.  And here they are!  Beautiful, purple-y blossoms with deep purple pods.  I think the beans are mostly ornamental, and I've read that the raw pods are poisonous, but I've also read that if you cook them well, you can eat them.  I just think they are beautiful and don't plan on eating them.  I hope that they might reseed and come up again next spring.  Thank you for the lovely gift, Kathie!  I think of you when I see them.

I can't quit bragging about my geraniums.  I love a pot or a bucket of geraniums on the front porch, and I've grown them every year that we've lived in this house.  There's just something about a bright red geranium that says, "Welcome home!"  At least that's how I feel about them.  The two pots I have are having a second flush and are in full blossom.  I'm so glad it hasn't frosted here yet because the flowers and veggie patches are doing remarkably well, even this late in the growing season.  Every once in a while God gives us the gift of a long summer.  I'm grateful!


  1. My grandmother always had bright red geraniums on the windowsills of her classrooms. Such good memories. I always take what I have tossed in my compost bins and till them into the gardens in the fall. I don't care if the stuff is completely broke down or not. I just put it in there. I'm glad you said something about the beans. I need to look and see what kind I planted. I made breeches with mine and had planned on putting them in the crockpot, but maybe I shouldn't. Your garden looks so nice. Thanks for sharing the ideas.

  2. I've always wanted geraniums in pots, and I don't know why I haven't grown them. Maybe next year! Our garden is such a mess; it got so neglected this summer (except for the tomatoes). We are planning on rebuilding the beds this fall, and we'll put lots of leaves and compost on them. I've read that tilling is actually destructive to the soil. I like lazy gardening, too! Too lazy this summer, tho ...


  3. I think I've seen a video about Ruth Stout. I'll check out your link. God has given us a long summer. I'm grateful, too! Your garden is doing great!

  4. I loved the Ruth Stout video on Youtube.
    I agree with you about geraniums. Mine are making a nice little come back!
    Your garden looks great, Jody!

  5. If the garden is happy, we are happy :-)

  6. I used to read Ruth Stout - I think in Organic Gardening magazine as well as Mother Earth News, and I love hearing about your success with deep mulch on your potatoes. I am strongly considering making my front yard into a vegetable garden next year, instead of planting more ornamentals, and maybe if I do it right I could even grow some potatoes. I will have two 4x8 boxes in the back yard, but I'm a little worried that that might not be enough for me, especially if I do get my greenhouse set up before springtime....

    That bean vine is lovely! It reminds me of the perennial Painted Lady bean that I grew for several years, and may try again. One more idea to throw into the mix!


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