November 29, 2022
November 2022 Greenhouse update
Summer garden season in 2022 was an exceptionally difficult year for Southern gardens and gardeners... In Southwest Arkansas we struggled with the lack of rain and relentless heat.
Fortunately I had the insight to install a drip irrigation system early on, in the Spring of 2022. Of course I learned this on YouTube. It was a lot of hard work, but the overall process (the different tubes, valves and fittings and timers) made perfect sense to me. I intentionally searched for "raised bed drip irrigation" and "women who build their own drip irrigation systems" and found PLENTY of inspiration. Most influential and helpful: Garden Answer and Dee's Yard
I am a post-pandemic, YouTube-educated gardener. I became fascinated by the concept of raised-bed gardening… That concept led me to sustainable, organic and regenerative gardening practices… That concept led me to proper composting… That concept led me to appreciating what “good dirt” really means. The good dirt concept was really driven home after I visited our local gardening center and purchased very expensive, name-brand gardening soil. Soil specifically formulated for raised-bed gardening. To say that I was disappointed is an understatement. I did not care for the texture, the look, nor the smell of it. Did I really want to grow our produce in this stuff? Not really, no.
While on an early morning walk, I observed a sweet, earthy aroma all around me. The air in the forest here is cool and damp. Not much sun reaches the thick, age-old forest floor. We are beyond blessed that our property Wind River is bordered by the Ouachita National Forest, bordered on the East side by the Caddo River. The majority of Wind River is forested. I noticed decaying leaves, logs, hickory nuts, etc. The forest floor is thick and cushioned with ages and ages of beautifully decomposed organic matter, worms, beneficial insects and fungi. I suddenly had a revelation… Oh, sweet earth! I ran my hands through it, scooped it up and took in a deep and appreciative inhale. And then I understood… this is good dirt.
Here at our Wind River Garden we have a fun mantra: “You’re not eating a good vegetable; you’re eating good dirt. Another way to look at it, how can you grow quality produce without quality dirt? You simply cannot. Just read the studies on large-scale commercially harvested vegetables, depleted of vitamins and minerals. It is really eye-opening.
Our garden beds are lovingly tended with organic, sustainable and regenerative practices. Absolutely no pesticides here. So it made perfect sense to extend our season with a hoop house/greenhouse. As the year 2022 rapidly approaches 2023, I look forward to documenting the growth of our gardening... and of my gardening skills.
December 20, 2022