The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Late May garden

Tomato budDo you remember the blights and other fungal diseases that came with 2009's rainy summer and wiped out the garden (especially the tomatoes)?  I got a bit spooked during a rainy blackberry winter, thinking that we might be in for a repeat of the year without a summer, so I direct-seeded a few beds of lettuce, greens, and broccoli.  Hopefully, hot weather will make this summer lettuce bitter and the broccoli buggy, but if the rain takes the tomatoes, I know I'll need a consolation prize.

Once we finally had a day dry enough to allow me to touch them, I also pruned our tomatoes heavily, even though they're a bit on the small size for pruning.  If the rain continues, I want the bottom leaves to be well above the soil surface so that they dry off quickly and so that fungi can't splash up from the ground.  I also gave up on the driveway drying up enough to bring in some more compost and cardboard during the optimal transplant window, and instead put my four last sets into sunny (and pre-built) hugelkultur mounds in the forest garden.  A few of our tomatoes are already sporting flower buds, so this transplant comes not a moment too soon!

Pea flowersElsewhere in the garden, we're in a bit of a lull (and I actually had Mark buy a few vegetables at the store last week.)  We're still enjoying lettuce, greens, and strawberries, but the peas and broccoli are running a week late due to the cold soil earlier this spring.  Sometime around the beginning of June, I expect the glut to begin --- in addition to all of the above, we should soon have carrots, cabbages, raspberries, new potatoes, and garlic all coming out of the garden in basketloads.  But it's hard to complain when I was able to turn a gallon of strawberries into eleven cups of freezer jam on Saturday.  The freezer is no longer empty!

Our chicken waterer keeps the flock healthy with POOP-free water.


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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.



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