Helena Community Gardens

Making gardens accessible to all

Mid-summer, drip system, and greens

Hows it Growing?

Summer is well under way this year and this month I just wanted to show a quick review of how our garden is going. With a new garden space with packed down soil of unknown condition, countless rocks, and a variety of weeds, we managed to work and put in a 20ft X 30ft simple rectangle garden. After considerable work to the soil, adding some horse manure and compost, I decided to lay out a simple rectangle of 16 rows, marked out with stakes and garden twine. This was not necessary but I thought it would help for planning (and also allow for planting in straight lines!). After attending Helena Community Garden’s Spring Garden Day on May 16, I learned (from Ken Rasile) what I needed to know to install a simple drip irrigation system. After a few trips to the hardware store, I installed a 1-inch poly pipe main line (seen at the top of the next photo), with 16 t’s , each feeding a ½-inch fabricated drip line with 12-inch emitters each plugged at the end. I have the main 1-inch line fed from a well spigot, with a valve just outside our garden fence allowing for easy operation (a timer will be the next order of convenience). The system works great! It distributes the water nicely, while not losing water to evaporation.

Drip System

Drip System

Drip_System2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have had great success over the last few years with spinach mustard, and it might be one of my favorite things to grow. It grows very well and fast. It can be hard to keep up with (as shown in the photo below) especially since it tends to bolt with hot weather. I have also had good success letting the plant flower and go to seed and harvesting the seeds at the end of the season. But, most importantly, it’s a delicious green with a little zing that is great raw, and also cooks down nicely steaming or sautéed with a little olive oil (and garlic of course).

Success with spinach mustard:

Spinach_Mustard

 

Radishes are a go-to garden occupant – they are resilient, and can be harvested early in the season. Zucchinis and Kale also seem to be very successful in our climate

Radish

Zuc

Kale

A new tip we learned and tried this year was cutting our greens as shown in the photo below. Cutting close to the ground allows the plant to grow back some leaves from the cut points, possibly allowing future harvests throughout the summer. It seems to be working…

Greens

Mid-summer salad:

Salad

Happy Growing!

-Brandon McGuire 8/10/15

 

 

 

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