Experimental Planting

It's looking like a hot mess, but I've dedicated one of our raised planting beds to a couple of experiments:

  • Cut an organic, sprouting sweet potato in half and plunked both halves into the soil (sprouting side up).
  • Planted two corn seedlings, two squash, and a couple of beans to see if a Three Sisters setup can survive our winds. I'll probably have to hand-pollinate the corn, since there's only two...
  • Planted one Burgundy Okra, and 
  • One Eggplant.

Pic: Babs the Goose says "Who, me, work?
Talk to the butt."
The sweet potatoes are planted towards the front of the 4x4 raised bed where they need the deeper soil space, the corn/squash/beans in the middle, and the okra and eggplant in the shallower back end. I'm hoping the shade from the corn will protect the eggplant & okra on our Summer afternoons, as I've found they tend to fry in the heat. All in one box, yep, and probably too tight of a planting for the size of the bed, according to Square Foot Gardening recommendations. Heck, one squash plant alone could take up the entire bed. On the other hand, the staff at the local nursery plant their exhibition 4x4 raised beds more densely than recommended, and with good results*. I also figure with all the compost we used to fill the bottom of that particular terraced bed, as well as the soil mix (with more compost) on the top level, there should be enough nutrition for all - just gotta keep up with the watering and judicious pruning.

I'm also continuing the experiment of planting by moon signs, and oddly enough, it's working well. Hey, if the lead horticulturist for a local famous garden park swears by it, who am I to knock success? One side benefit of moon-sign planting is that it helps organize my work days. On the days that aren't good for planting, work on other stuff. Good day for planting? Seed the pasture, transplant seedlings, etc. Keeps me from the falling into the dreaded "paralysis by analysis", as there's so many chores and projects from which to choose. "Life on the farm" ain't "kinda laid back" 'round these parts, no ma'am. And the geese refuse to pitch in. Rotten geese.

[*As a side note for my one-point-five readers who are interested in self-sufficiency before TSHTF, be it economical or other disaster, take this oft-repeated advice seriously: start experimenting with planting NOW, whether it's cool weather, warm weather, or mid-season. Why? So you can get your mistakes out of the way that much faster, and learn what truly works for your climate, soil, and way of living. Even if one thing works for your neighbor, you may find because of your specific microclimate (sun & direction exposure, winds shifting through seasons, etc.) that it won't work for you. Though I'm happy to be of service, please don't take my bad examples as gospel.]


  1. Still experimenting, here... trying to figure out what's going to succeed in our little coastal zone. Seems the best stuff are the volunteers that appear in the compost heap... while the tenderly managed beds have yielded less than stellar results. You give good advice.

    1. I wonder if your volunteer plants like the warmth the compost pile provides through its composting process? Or maybe the beds need more nutrients/compost. I recently saw mention of making raised compost beds for planting, via "lasagna" method... so many things to try, eh?

      Oh, and your baby goats are SO ADORABLE!!

  2. Love your p.s. there! Very sensible advice. I've been doing the same - I've found that corn LOVES rabbit manure, by the way. Rabbit poo holds water like anything, I discovered, so it maintains moisture at ground level nicely. Good for you for thinking ahead - I think the 1.5 you cite is the percentage of folks who understand that TS is going to HTF *and* are doing something toward mitigating it.

    1. Great tip about the rabbit manure, thank you!

      About TSHTF: I try to tell folks that even the fed gov't (CDC specifically) recommends folks have at least 6 weeks emergency provisions (food, water, prescription meds, etc.). And if there's no disastrous earthquake, tornado, flu epidemic, etc., well then they have a cushion in case the budget gets tight for a few weeks! Really tough to get folks to see the practicality of it all...

    2. Tried to reply on your blog about the stove and quiche (both quite yummy!), but I think all the browser add-ons I'm using is messing up the Captcha anti-spam box. Sorry 'bout that!


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