Steve’s Shangri-La

172 174 175170 191Gardeners, prepare to drool! Steve Mohlke has created a gardener’s paradise in Enfield. Five thousand square feet fenced in! He breaks it into four, 1000 square foot sections, with 1000 square feet of paths,  and keeps one section under cover crop in order to restore the soil.This year he is using buckwheat as his summer cover crop.

The most striking thing about this garden is its lack of weeds! Steve’s tool of choice is his stirrup hoe. He doesn’t use mulch, but rather weeds on a regular basis with the hoe. He also keeps careful track of where he planted in previous years, aiming for an eight year rotation before he plants a crop back in the same bed.

A breakthrough this year has been covering the eggplants with a low tunnel. Apparently they thrive in the hot, steamy environment that even wilts peppers! They are twice the size of his uncovered eggplants. He planted an extra row of eggplant as a trap crop for potato beetle, which seems to be working.

Steve ranks sweet peppers, basil, and carrots as his family’s top three crops. Squash can’t be far behind–they grow a ton of it! He reports that they have three butternuts left from last year’s harvest. Impressive! One project Steve dreams of is some kind of root cellar to preserve more of his incredible harvest. Here’s a Mother Earth News article with some relatively easy ways to make a DIY root cellar. I like the garbage can idea!

http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/root-cellars-zm0z11zkon.aspx#axzz39YL5Fz4i

 

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