Scorch Garden enjoyed a sweltering hot summer but was finally freezer burned by Mother Nature. Time and temperature has won the final battle and the garden, once again, loses the war. We knew the weather would turn once we started heading into September, but as we look back in recent history, we could see 70s and even 80s all month, which we did.
Once we made it to October, we knew we were on borrowed time. All it takes is one frost to break the leaves and cripple the plant. We watched the forecast closely and made the decision to do a mega harvest on October 11th.
Just a week later, that jag-off Jack Frost jacked his frost all over the remaining plants. Talk about adding insult to injury.
The last weekend of October, we pulled removed all the big stuff from our plot and examined the land. We were curious if our system worked as we had predicted and tested on a smaller scale. Did the cardboard decompose? Did mycorrhizae grow? What is the condition of the soil now?
The cardboard is pretty much non-existent. The bits of cardboard that did survive were the edges that weren’t covered by wood chips and sheets that were added later or not walked on much. All in all, about one load in a wheelbarrow is all that is left of over 150 sheets of cardboard.
The cardboard and the wood chips did foster the growth of mycorrhizae. Nearly every root was covered with delicate, white strands. Some areas cultivated more fungus than others, but it was everywhere.
We are definitely leaving the soil in better condition than we found it. We did expect to find more worm castings than we did. The soil didn’t look like it had much life when we first moved in.
This year was incredible. We learned a lot. The cardboard saved us so much work. The compost super-charged the plants, but may have delayed the flowering stage of the plants. Tomato cages are not the best choice for us because our the plants get too big. We did lose a few plants and a couple didn’t produce many pods.
We had a lot of fun working in the soil and growing everything from seed. We grew a lot of peppers, garlic, onions, and herbs. Next year will be even bigger, but first, we have our next stage to deal with: