Summer is nearly upon us so it’s time to work out some goals for the upcoming season.
As you can see from the photo, we had some pretty big sunflowers last year, so it goes without saying that we want even bigger ones this year. The seeds from the largest of the last crop are being planted this week. The new irrigation system ensures that they’ll have more water and the recently improved mulch and compost layer will give then a super boost.
Talking of irrigation, I’m currently cleaning out and improving the drip irrigation system that runs throughout the garden. I’m replacing many of the drippers with new 2 litre/hour drippers that are designed to run under a range of pressures. This is ideal for our rainwater tank-fed system.
I’m also in the process of putting in 30cm lengths of 50mm PVC pipe into the ground at key areas and near trees. These will be fed with a 4 litre/hour dripper that, through the PVC pipes, will deliver their water directly to the root zones.,
The purpose of these changes is twofold. First, it makes the system much more efficient. Second, I can calculate water use much more easily.
The next goal is to grow corn in wicking beds. Last year’s corn crop was poor because of bad planning. This year they will have access to constant water and better nutrients via a dedicated wicking bed.
Snake beans were a big favourite last year. They have been planted in greater numbers this year. We love them almost as much as the ants do.
We’ve moved the bananas into small wicking beds made from half pickle barrels and moved them to the front garden.. They’re loving their new homes.
Vines. We have vines going everywhere this year. We’re not only making use of vertical space, but are adding a whole new horizontal layer above some parts of the garden before the heat hits us. This maximises our small space plus shades some of the ground level plants. This layer probably won’t establish fully this year but if it works, it will be a go for the next.
We are growing a greater variety of vines this year, Passionfruit, Ampalaya, Grapes, Hops, Sweet Apple-berry, Chokos, Honeysuckle, Jasmine and Sampaguita. These all yield food and/or medicine and shade the front of the house from the horrible afternoon sun that hits us from the West.
Aside from the garden. I’ve got three styles of solar cookers in various stages of readiness. The plan is to shave a chunk from our electrical bills. Two are based on parabolic cooker designs and the other is a more traditional box type cooker.
We’re hoping to get a frame up soon to cover the Northern end of the house. That part receives full sun for most of the day over summer and I’ve neasured afternoon temperatures nearing 50 Centigrade on the exposed brickwork.
Talking of heat, we’re leaving the bubblewrap from winter on the windows to see if it makes a difference keeping the heat out.
Jelina wants to start posting recipes that feature produce from our garden on her ‘Jelina’s Meals‘ page as well. She also wants to start on a cook book.
I’m hoping to shave some of our transport costs by getting an electric bike working. It was a gift and lacked a throttle. I’m just waiting for one to be delivered and away I go.
Then there’s the aquaponics system…
On second thoughts, that all seems like a lot of work! But we love it and will be posting most of it here and on our Steemit blog, ‘Ligayagardener‘, as things progress.