So anyway, onward and upward, right? We learn from our successes and our mistakes, and remember that Mother Nature can be a right bitch, and that we will only only only purchase Certified Disease-free seed potatoes, we will not use saved seed potatoes from last year, and we will destroy any potato volunteers from last year, now won't we? Yes we will!
So anyway, I'm knee-deep in my Fedco catalog (what, you don't know what Fedco is? Oh good heavens, get thee to the website!) picking plants, daydreaming about how gorgeous my garden will be this year, and reading Thomas Keller's new "Ad Hoc at Home" cookbook, which is its own form of cruelty in these desolate, vegetable-less days. Sipping my husband's latest home-roasted Brazilian coffee. Small joys are key.
Part of my plan for this year is to finally embrace that a large chunk of my garden is almost unusable due to the nearby trees. It's not that they shade too much, since my garden is to their south (though at the height of summer there's a bit of cover, but this is probably a good thing). But a tree can out-compete my little seedlings for water & nutrients any day. Pair this with the fact that at least one of these trees is a black walnut, which will actually poison surrounding plants, and I've been fighting a Sisyphean battle here. So I am going to embark in a multi-prong strategy to deal with the situation.
- The 6-ish wooden-sided raised beds I built last year? Yeah, those are awesome. I'm building more of those. Oh yes.
- Tomatoes (the most susceptible to juglone poisoning from black walnuts) simply will not be in my ground-based garden. I can't fight that anymore, I concede. Instead, my tomato plants will all be in homemade Self-watering Containers, protected from poisoning and the vagaries of my own watering habits....
- I am going to install some kind of barrier between the bottom of the northeast corner boxes and the sub-soil. Now, I must admit, this makes my earth-mother/permaculture/holistic cycles/soil-system side go batshit, but the simple fact is, the trees are taking all of my plant's food & water--these two entities are not playing nicely, and they need to be separated (I'd put the trees in a time-out if I could, but that hasn't proved possible.... yet). So, I will till up that section, move all the soil off to one side, and put down a barrier, then the boxes (which will, of necessity now, be about 12" high), then refill with soil.