Vegetable Garden Update

Last years vegetable garden was basically a miserable failure. But I can learn from my mistakes. And this year I’m having great success. The earliest crops has been the spinach and the snow peas.

Here are some things I purposely did verses last year that have brought my current success.

  1. I put as much compost into the ground as I could. I also put a lot of lobster carcasses from a lobster party we had.
  2. I didn’t use any hills or plant anything in elevated mounds. The entire thing was left flat.
  3. I put a nice thick layer of compost over it after I tilled.
  4. I used a drip system for water. Instead of sprayers I used recycled tire soaker hoses that run the length of the rows.
  5. I covered the whole thing with a nice layer of compost
  6. I’m using compost tea as a regular feeding

But not all has been perfect. The garden has been up for about 1.5 to 2 months and it’s starting to show signs of stress. The snow peas leaves are starting to turn brown as the the spinach. The garbonzo beans are starting to die off and most of them have brown leaves. It’s clear that my monthly application of compost tea is not often enough and/or does not have everything it needs.

Googling vegetable garden fertilizing came up with some helpful links, this one states, “Nitrogen is essential for vigorous vegetative growth and development. Phosphorus is necessary for good root development and for fruit and seed production. The role of potassium is not as well understood, but is important for overall plant development.” I gather then that what nutrients I put in the ground have probably been absorbed by the plants with Nitrogen being first on the list. To combat this I’m using organic fish emulsion fertilizer with a 5-1-1 (5% nitrogen, 1% phosphorus & 1% potassium). along with increasing my application of compost tea we will see what the results are. I’ve also learned that peas can use a lot of nitrogen so I’m not surprised that the plants around the peas are suffering the most.

Next year I need to do a better job of placing plants together based on similar feeding and watering habits. At least we get to actually enjoy the harvest this year! 


Spring Is Nearly Here

The average last frost date in Albuquerque is April 15th. I’m not letting that stop me from getting an early start on my vegetable garden this year. Last year I made many mistakes producing lack luster results. That’s ok because I have learned from my mistakes and will hopefully produce a bountiful harvest this summer.

The overall size of the garden has increased to 120 square feet from 100 last year. I’ve changed the irrigation system to make it easier to manage. Last year I had a single soaker hose that snaked from row to row. It was hard to move around and get water just where I wanted. The hose itself sucked because it was a thin walled hose with holes every 12 inches. Again hard to get water just where I wanted. This year I have a single poly hose that runs along the inside wall. I can then connect smaller hoses to this hose along the perimeter anywhere I want. I’m already using 1/4 inch recycled tire hose which is a soaker hose that spews water all over it.

My biggest concern is lack of nutrients in the soil. I added amendments last year and added more this year but it’s just not going to be enough. To overcome this I will use compost tea. “Why go to the extra trouble of brewing, straining, and spraying a tea rather than just working compost into the soil? There are several reasons. First, compost tea makes the benefits of compost go farther. What’s more, when sprayed on the leaves, compost tea helps suppress foliar diseases, increases the amount of nutrients available to the plant, and speeds the breakdown of toxins. Using compost tea has even been shown to increase the nutritional quality and improve the flavor of vegetables.” I’m betting a lot on this so it better work as good as they say. 

I'm Growing To Much Crab Grass

Because if there is, I have a ton of it in my garden. Crab grass and this weird little “milk weed” that stays low to the ground and is hard to pull up. Everyday I go out and pull as much of the crab grass as I can and everyday there is more. Not to mention that the sod we put down is 80% brown and the crab grass as started to move over there.. I guess I didn’t water it enough but I have been watering it more and it looks like its starting to recover.

Next year I have some plans to rectify this.

For the vegetable garden, over the winter I will put a clear plastic cover it which should produce a green house effect. But I wont vent it and let the heat build up, which should be enough to kill everything that tries to grow there. Next I will try Compost Tea after I plant stuff next year. There is a guy in Alaska that grows huge edible vegetables and attributes it to Compost Tea. In fact I may try it this year if I have time.

As for the grass, I’ve already taken steps to revive it. One thing I did find is the parts of the grass that were in shade are still alive. So I re-seeded the yard with a shade/sun mixture. I have been watering it every night as well. We will see how it looks in the next few weeks. If I can get that seeded well it will (hopefully) not give the crab grass room to grow. Oh and I will get some basic “weed-n-feed” to put out there too.