donna’s lot

last year we obtained 2 new lots for work.  last year with little idea of what to do with the lots we offered them to anyone that wanted to garden on them, with very little success.  toward the end of summer donna showed up asking about planting a garden.  after much convincing she decided to take over the lot.  she spent countless hours working on the garden for hours at a time – and always in the hottest time of the day.  she never wanted to harvest anything even when i offered to sell them for her, but she would show deep concern when something had been harvested, and delight when she found out i had harvested and sold it, and even greater delight when i produced the proceeds from the sale.

this year donna was nowhere to be seen, and so we used the lot to produce for the kitchen and markets.  i was quickly reminded of how much work we have done to the soils in all the other lots.  this soil has a light grey texture free of organic matter, but full of rocks.  it’s hard to work, easily crusts, and difficult to cultivate.  but we charge on anyway, i’ve found one of the best ways to make soils better is to just keep working and planting them.  we applied a generous helping of compost and planted plenty of cucurbites – the crops i’ve found among the easiest crops to grow on soils in need of plenty of help.

donna's lot seen from the north

winter squash, summer squash, zucchini, and cucumbers – all of which are cucurbites.

butternut starting to form

2nd crop of zucchini

the very first of the cukes

the advantages of growing cucurbites is numerous.  for one they are relatively care free, no pruning, staking, or trellising.  they also very easy to keep well cultivated since they grow so fast a couple of solid cultivations and then they start running and shade out any possible weeds.  they also do relatively well without irrigation, something that is difficult to do since donna’s lot is so far away from a water source.  and finally they seem very tolerant of low quality soils – assuming that you augment them with plenty of compost.

i’d say judging by the size of the vines and the number of fruits on them that it was a good choice.


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