We are STILL having super hot, high humidity days here. (The heat index is supposed to be around 106 this afternoon.) Even with our irrigation system, my garden bit the dust. Over the course of several days I cleaned out the plants – murdering fire ants that were in the boxes as I pulled – and finally have things cleaned up.
We built our raised-bed square foot garden for several reasons. We live on top of a ridge line and there is very little ‘soil’ here. You try to dig a hole to plant something and you immediately hit rock – endless rock. So after trying to build a garden, trucking in topsoil, evaluating it in order to add what was needed, etc., we finally gave up traditional methods. For a bit we had two long rectangular boxes on the ground, marked off into squares, filled with Mel’s Mix (peat moss, Vermiculite, and as many different compost types as you can find. We put a fence around the boxes to keep deer and other critters out. We added chicken wire around the base of the fence to keep smaller critters, like rabbits, out. This worked pretty well for awhile, but I was finding it harder and harder to either bend over double or get up and down over and over on my hands and knees.
We decided to build ‘tables’ in effect, raising the garden boxes up to my chest level. The ‘tables’ are linked by lengths of hose with a sprinkler in the center of each box for easy irrigation. We have an outdoor faucet and a timer attached to it so the whole garden is watered automatically each day.
This picture shows the irrigation system a little more clearly. We have six 4 foot by 4 foot boxes in which to plant. The boxes are divided into squares by wire.
This picture shows the fencing a bit more clearly.
Behind the shop and beside the garden is my supply of ingredients to make Mel’s Mix. I have one trash can for each ingredient. The red thing under the tarp is a portable concrete mixer. I put the proper proportions of the ingredients into the mixer and use this to mix things thoroughly. I then dump the mixed soil alternative into a big bucket and take it inside the fencing to dump into each of the boxes. I also mix stuff to take by wheelbarrow around to the converted brick planters we use for tomatoes on the opposite side of the house.
I wish that our weather here in Arkansas were not quite so harsh during the summer. It’s been MUCH too hot to try to get plants started in my greenhouse, for example I mainly use it at the end of winter to try to get plants started for the spring garden.
I’ll have my eyes open for any fall plants available here locally, but mostly, we’re finished until the spring now.