With the passing years the techniques and varieties employed in the gardening process will have to change. At our currant residence our gardens have been in operation for almost 18 years. The challenges in the beginning were different and far fewer than they are today. For example it seems to take the local wild life several years to discover a new garden. Our fencing techniques have varied in an attempt to keep the deer, woodchucks and raccoons at bay. Bug infestations and disease also tend to get worse as they over winter in the ground and come back in force next spring.
Gradually we discover what works best in our area at this time. We have discontinued growing some crops like shell peas (we still grow edible pod peas), eggplant, okra and dry beans because they never produce well for us. Tomatoes seem to do better when we tie them up to stakes. Another thing that changed over the years is how many varieties of a product we plant. A prime example is cucumbers. By planting four or five varieties we will usually be able, Lord willing, to beat the blights that pass through for among that number there will probably be several cucumbers varieties resistant to the disease.
Winter squash can be pretty aggressive. When we used to grow them at the back of the potato patch they would take over half of the patch, overshadowing and killing the potatoes. We have now moved them to a little spot of their own, thus relieving this problem. Recently we made an amazing discovery about our potato crop. When we have crop failure, which we did the past two years, we buy potatoes straight from a farmer. The discovery we made is that the chemically grown potatoes do not make good seed potatoes. They do not seem to have enough strength to produce green leaves and a crop. We have made a mental note to only use our own potatoes for planting from now on.
Another phenomenal change which we made about eight years ago cut our weeding responsibility down to about one quarter of what it used to be. We get cardboard from the dump and put it down between all our rows of vegetables. Several loads of cardboard and a few days of concentrated work are required to get it all laid out, this includes cutting it to fit around the plants and weighing it down with rocks so that it does not get blown away by the wind. Not only does it make it so that we no longer have to weed for so long every week it also helps hold the moisture in so that the soil does not dry out so quickly.
Tip: don't put the cardboard between your rows of root vegetables because this really encourages the mice to eat them.
Gardening challenges change with the passing years. They help keep us depending on the Lord for wisdom as well as making life interesting.
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