Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Learning from mistakes

Lesson #1)  Potatoes don't do too well on a new hugelbed.  Or it could have been that I planted them in February and we had a very cold March that kept nipping at any growth.  They looked pretty sad when I pulled them out last weekend, and all I got were little marbles, not even anything that I could save and try again for a fall crop. 

But I had another spot in the garden (where I grew sweet potatoes last year), and I put in a row with some seed potatoes in mid-March that my neighbor had leftover when he planted his.  They are going great guns, and I hilled them up yesterday.  I haven't given them any attention other than a weekly drenching with aerated compost tea.  It got up to 92 today, and the weather forecast is for highs in the 80's for the next two weeks, so I don't know how much longer they will be able to take it.

Looking at the variable results on the hugelbeds that have been planted, I can now understand why it may take a couple seasons to get to optimal results.  I had hoped that my additions of biochar, grass clippings, leaf mulch, sand, chicken manure tea, crumbled drywall, and anything else I could think of adding would make for a nice planting bed, but it seems there is no rushing things, you just have to give the earthworms and other soil critters time to move stuff around and digest some of the big chunks.

The weather is getting a bit warm to construct any more new beds, and I will probably lay low during the hot months and start in again building new beds comes September or so.  It's just as well, I wilt in the Georgia summers, and it shows in the garden.  I have much more stamina to keep a cool season garden going in the fall and the winter.  I came across an interesting article about intercropping cabbage, broad beans, and radish (, so maybe that can be my fall combination after the three sisters are harvested.  

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