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

Top dressing

Watermelon seedlingWe have a horrible time with most of our cucurbits.  Even before the squashes fall prey to the vine borer, the cucumbers and canteloupes come down with powdery mildew.  Or maybe it's cucumber mosaic or bacterial wilt.  All I know is that the plants start to bloom, then they keel over.

I've never seen data to back this up, but many organic gardeners believe that pest and disease infestations originally stem from ill health on the part of your crop.  The idea makes sense --- if we don't eat a well-rounded diet, we're more likely to catch a cold, so why wouldn't the same be true of our cucurbits?

Following this reasoning, I top-dressed all of our baby cucurbits with a hearty scoop of compost, hoping to perk them up so they'll outgrow their diseases (and the weeds.)  Native Americans used a similar idea when they planted squash on hills of dirt over fresh fish.  Maybe I'll get lucky this year and taste our first home-grown canteloupe?

Our homemade chicken waterer keeps water clean and poop-free.

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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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Aw, you just need sandy soil and hot, dry weather.
Comment by Errol Tue May 18 07:57:06 2010
Sunny weather seems to be in short supply around here lately! I'm just hoping the blight doesn't see its window and jump in.
Comment by anna Tue May 18 09:37:20 2010
I see you have a new log in procedure so I hope this works. I had late tomato blight last summer and the summer before and its my understanding that the fungus is in the soil and will be there for a few years. I have decided to grow my tomatoes in 5 gal. buckets this year and if everything works out I will continue to use this process. I made my own potting soil with well composted wood chips and sand, not sure if this is going to work, but I guess I'll find out. I drilled holes a couple inches from the bottom of the bucket and lined the bottom with landscaping fabric. I had some heavy gauge greenhouse glazing that I formed into a cylinder and put down into the bucket but over the plants.
Comment by zimmy Tue May 18 12:06:34 2010

My brother upgraded ikiwiki this past weekend --- hopefully login will be easier, but if it's harder, let me know!

You might check out --- it has some useful information about the blight.

Comment by anna Tue May 18 14:11:23 2010

profile counter myspace

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