Can I just say, corn, corn and corn! I am happy to announce that this was the first year we could grow corn. Some of you might be wondering what the big deal is and have been growing corn for years. I have very sandy soil. In some spots, we call it a sandpit. My son was digging a hole one day behind the barn and when I came back a half hour later, I no longer saw him and he was standing(he's over four feet tall)! Not every spot is that sandy, but, it is hardly the clay soil I was used to in Southern Indiana.
Growing corn was next to impossible because we never seemed to have enough nitrogen. So, last winter we put our chicken tractor in the garden with a few hens in it and moved it around every few days. After testing the soil, I found that it had a good deal of nitrogen. That's all good, but, would it be enough to last all summer? Sandy soil does not retain nitrogen very well after a rain, so, I was hopeful, but, not holding my breath.
Let's fast forward to July at the dinner table. There in the big pot was beautiful ears of corn that tasted heavenly! Our corn! The chickens did the work for us. It can't get much better!
Another experiment that I have been doing for awhile now, but have increased this year is planting marigolds by the beans. I planted a couple of 50 foot rows of these wonderful flowers and also interspersed them in between the bean rows. Last year, the marigolds didn't grow very well and as a result, I had bean beetles eating my precious plants. This year, I did not find one bug! I planted a later crop of beans in a different spot without marigolds and, you guessed it, the beetles came.
These are simple solutions to big problems that could ruin crops. Do you need more nitrogen but don't have the funds to keep buying fertilizer? If you have chickens, build a simple tractor.
Buy extra marigold seeds and plant them the same time you plant your beans. I guarantee you will notice a big difference!
And there you have it. A couple of my simple successful solutions for our simple farm.
What are your gardening successes?
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