We had a repeat this week of last spring's flooding. The drainage pipe was again clogged. Of course it happened on a rainy, blustery day, when the menfolk were either out working for a living or abed. (ahem!) So the wimmen had to head out, rake the debris from the ditch, and stick our--actually, my--hand into the dark, cold water, feeling for the grate. It was pulled and the clog of weeds pulled from the pipe. The geyser was not as dramatic as that of last spring, but, by the next morning, the flooding was gone.
This week two raised beds were built in the garden. We've noticed, as the kids have left home, that we use less and less of our garden space. We still, however, have to fight the weeds. In fact, this summer, it was all weeds, no produce! This fall I began reading (again) some books on raised bed gardening. I decided that beds with grassy paths between them would cut back on the amount of garden space to be planted, and allow for quick mowing of the paths, rather than constant weeding or mulching of them. This will also allow some covering and thick mulching of certain areas, maybe letting us get some produce from the garden most months of the year.
Raising the beds will also fight our other problem; soggy soil. About a third of our garden is almost un-tillable until very late in the spring, due to the drainage issues we've been dealing with. We could move the garden, I suppose, but it's been where it is since we've been here, the hoses, when we need them, are right there, and the soil is very rich with years of compost and mulch. Raising the beds will allow, I hope, for those areas to drain earlier. Or I'll just plant those beds later.
I've been getting my ideas from these books;
Four Season Harvest
Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book
(No, I will not be following all of Ruth Stout's gardening...style. Google it!)
Ethan has been a great deal of help this week, although not without some complaining. He doesn't understand why we spend so much time working on a vegetable garden that gives us so few vegetables. Well, I guess I would agree with him, at least in these past couple of years. The weather has been so cold and wet that we really haven't had much harvest. But, hope springs eternal, as they say, and I know that these weather things have cycles. I want to be ready when it cycles back to normal Illinois summer weather. Besides, these guys I'm reading are giving me good ideas for how to plant to deal with climate. I'll report back later, when I know how these plans are working out!