As you might expect at this time of year, we have been BUSY with garden chores. During the week, when I’m not at work or shuttling the girls between school, ballet and swimming lessons, I’m trying to get out to the farm to weed, to plant and to water. We try to give the farm plot a good soaking at least once during the week (more if it’s a warm stretch), as well as during the weekend.
You might think that living on the northern Oregon coast would mean that the rain would take care of the majority of our watering needs, but for the last few years that just hasn’t been the case. It sprinkles more than it pours, and nothing but the surface of the soil gets any real moisture. I’m afraid that is global warming in action, my friends. Thankfully, the farm has a spring-fed water system that hasn’t gone dry in over a hundred years (knock on wood), so I can give my little seedlings the water they need for now.
Of course, all that watering means even more weeds. As soon as I pull a patch of weeds, another one starts to grow. With the exception of the small patch of corn, pumpkins and potatoes I grew on the farm last year, all my other experience gardening has been in raised beds. Weeds are not a problem in raised beds. I admit to smugly pulling up a lone oxalis sprout and smirking while reading about other people’s weeding problems.
Well, karma is now giving me my comeuppance in the form of a lot more oxalis, crabgrass, sowthistle, dandelion and myriad other annoying plants. I spend a LOT of time carefully pulling those little buggers out from around my vegetables. I think I’m going to bring a bale of straw to the farm this weekend to mulch around the plants and see if that helps, but mostly I’m resigned to the fact that weeds happen.
There is a fairly large bamboo grove on the east end of the property, so we’ve been thinning out some stalks to make trellises for the peas and beans. The blue-podded variety is a climber, and so we strung old gillnetting on poles that are maybe 10′ high. The other variety we have are called “Lincoln (Homesteader)” and they are a bush pea. I’ve learned, through trial and error, that even though bush peas are supposed to be self-supporting, they do infinitely better when they have something to hold on to besides themselves. So we started a horizontal trellis that will be about 3′ tall when it’s done. Hopefully just enough to keep them from flopping over from their own weight.
Jasper also used some poles to make a new gate for the south entrance of the garden. The existing “gate” was some old livestock fencing that was a pain to unhitch, move, and then hitch up again. This looks much nicer and is so much easier to use. As far as keeping the deer out, well, nothing short of an 8′ fence is going to do that. Instead we use a liberal amount of Liquid Fence and also have a motion-activated deterrent sprinkler placed strategically. We need to get more though, since those jerks have found the blueberry bushes just beyond the reach of the spray and have eaten them down to almost nothing. Jokes on the deer though, because hopefully next fall we will be eating them!
Otherwise, the farm garden is taking care of itself, as gardens are prone to do. The peas are growing. The beans are growing. The potatoes are growing. The corn is growing. My chores are pretty much relegated to weeding and watering. And, of course, standing back and admiring all that we managed to coax out of the soil. My favorite chore of all.