Monday, May 16, 2011

Only in Ohio....

...can you have the a/c and heat on in the same week.  I ran the a/c on Saturday morning, just to get some of the humidity out of the house.  I was sticking to the floor!  And now we have a toasty fire in the wood burning insert, because it is once again cold, damp, and gross.  It's 43 outside right now, with a wind chill of 36.  Oh, and it's raining.  Of course it's raining.  The yard is a swamp, the grass is pushing knee high, and it will probably be another week before we can mow. *sigh*

Last year's Contender beans.

Despite the chilly rain yesterday, I managed to get two pounds of onions planted.  Hooray!  They should've been in the ground weeks ago, but we do what we can, ya know? 

The Contender beans are also planted. Well, the first round, anyway.  I'm hoping to plant more in about two weeks, which should space the heaviest harvests nicely.  I prefer the bush variety, which require no staking and very little maintenance.  I do suggest planting two or three seeds in each hole, as the bush stalks can break fairly easily.  You don't really have to worry about overcrowding these guys, either.  They seem pretty happy all bunched in, shoulder to shoulder.  (I'm so glad I'm not a bean!)

I also prefer the Contender variety because they keep producing all summer, as long as you keep the mature beans picked.  This is an heirloom variety, which means I can use the seed that I save.  I let the last growth of beans dry on the bush, then I pick, shell, and bag them up to be used the following year.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!! (Did I really just say that?? *shrugs*  It's early, and I'm only on my first cup of coffee.)

Now you are probably wondering just how, with all of the rain, muck, and mud, I can get into my garden? Black plastic, baby!  Woot!! 

Our garden is strictly No Till.   I prefer the Chicken Tractor method, whenever possible.  What, you never heard of it?? You just pen up your chickens in the area you want cleared for garden, and in no time flat, the weeds are gone, the grass is gone, and the whole area is fertilized!  Then, lay down the heaviest black plastic you can find (I use the construction kind from Lowe's), cut holes for the plants (holes are generally about six inches wide), and voila!  a weed free, low maintenance garden, without the compacted subsoil  you get from tilling.  If you don't have chickens, you can still use the plastic.  Just put down the plastic and give it time to cook out the weeds before you cut holes.  Or you can put down the plastic, cut the holes, and dig out sod in only the places you have holes.  Still much easier than tilling, and mud won't even slow you down!!

If you live in a warmer climate, you will most likely want to mulch over the plastic so your plants don't get too hot.  Here in Ohio, I manage to get a head start, as the soil is already warm from the plastic. 

Rumor has it we are in for a very cool summer.  Well, if this spring is any indication, I'd say that rumor is right.  The black plastic will be a life saver in the garden!  A few years ago, when I first started experimenting with different gardening methods, we had an unusually cool summer.  Only the plants in black plastic produced anything worthwhile. 

Now that you know how easy it is to grow all this great stuff, I bet you want to get started.  What are you waiting for?? Go!! Plant!! Grow!!


becky3086 said...

I'd be worried here that with the plastic down they wouldn't get enough water. We are always short on rain here in GA.

Country Wife said...

In a low rain area, I'd run irrigation hoses under the plastic.

Here in Ohio, we have the opposite problem: too much rain. Whenever rain has been scarce, I just use the sprinkler.

I'm fortunate to have the plastic already down. Most of the locals haven't been able to even get into their gardens due to the mud.

Carol said...

Glad to hear you got the onions in and some of your beans.

We had some nice cool weather for a few days here in Florida but weather-man said that is it till next year, tomorrow supposed to get back into the humid 90's.

I like the weed free garden no till techniques in my gardens too. Wish I could convince my father, but he is old school--- till and make walk down rows 3 feet wide for the tiller and then till and hoe the garden all summer, even though he sees my gardens and is amazed at how much I grow in half the space he does he won't change!

Can't wait to see how your garden comes along. Good luck.

Country Wife said...

Carol, thanks for the comment!

It is amazing how many people don't realize you can garden without a tiller, isn't it? Hope your dad finally learns from your success!!