A visitor from another world ( i.e. a person who is not a gardener) dropped by one of our gardens and was quite amazed with what she saw. Here are some of her observations and my answers.
1.What are the gray dotted ornaments for, that run along a dried out irrigation tubing? Those regular dots are not ornaments, but the residues of salty water that sit around the drip outlets. This happens when inadequate water is used. Instead of soaking into the ground the summer heat and dryness evaporates the water. What you saw was poor watering and the dots on the tubing tell us that salt is being built up in the soil. The remedy is make sure the faucet is opened enough to allow water to penetrate the soil.
2. Why are some garden beds dry at one end and wet at the other? You made a good observation. The bed should be evenly moist but it won’t be if the soil is uneven, both to the sides and from end to end. Some gardeners are so excited about filling their bed with plants that they omit this final preparation step. Because they didn’t level it off by using a hard rake in a continuous sweep their garden performance is handicapped. The bottom of the bed should be flat all the way.
3. There’s one gardener who has three or four short lengths of strong seedlings alongside of his drip tubing. They look very happy but to me they look crowded. Will they continue to be strong? I think he may have emptied the whole packet of seeds. Although the price of seeds packets has gone up, there’s plenty of seeds in them. I like to open the packet, hold it well above the soil and tap the bone on my thumb to gently shake the seeds out in a wide pattern, one by one. His crowded seedlings will compete with one another to the point of death, and thinning them out will likely destroy the roots. He could try snipping out some with a small scissors.
4. Why are some beds sloping at the sides and have white soil on the pathways? This is related to the first question. The white color is salt that is left behind by evaporation. Our water is full of salts and this means we should water heavily in order to carry them down beyond the root system.down the salts. At bed preparation time make sure that the bottom of the bed is flat.
5. Why are some beds not fully planted? Most likely the gardener is saving space for more plants which he gets from thinnings of his crowded seedlings, or from what he buys at the nurseries. He may be waiting to set out lettuce as the soil becomes more suitably cool. (Head lettuce does not do as well as leaf lettuce).
6. What else can he plant in November? Faba beans, strawberries. plants of kale, cabbage, broccoli, leaf lettuce. Bush beans will germinate well and grow well until the first frost in December, when they will be killed.
Thanks for visiting our gardens. Come again and see our winter successes. Better still, come and garden with us.