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I thought it would be interesting to go local this summer. For the month of July I will be interviewing local farmers, foragers in a variety of settings. For the end of this month I am sharing one family’s use of backyard space.

 

Our host is a Master Gardener and invited our association to a picnic at his home. Master Gardener’s is a great organization supported by your state’s Agricultural Stations. I highly recommend it.

  Master Gardener Party

Master Gardeners were invited to a member’s home on a picture perfect day.

Sun and blue skies created the ceiling and the nearby woods kept us cool as we walked into a backyard extravaganza of flowers and vegetables showcased in multiple raised beds. I think I can speak for most of us who attended this party – we had no idea what a surprise this backyard would be.

4×4 or 4×8 raised beds filled the backyard. Plump blueberries, red raspberries cascaded down branches loaded with more fruit. Sweet potatoes showed promising growth. Tomatoes stood proudly, stalks 3-4 feet tall. In between, some beds held lettuces, other flowers.

Our host gave us a great tour and patiently answered our questions. Deer was a hot topic, did he have problems? How did he manage the forest critters? The picture at the right shows a maze of raised beds. He and his wife feel it’s the maze that confuses them or makes them hesitant. Deer may not see a way out and so don’t come in, though, through the woods and across a small pond many can be seen grazing.0615131846

His irrigation system fascinated most of us. Again our host showed us a piece of leaching field piping that he uses. He caps one end and gets an elbow for the other end. He places the tubing down the center of the raised bed, covers with soil, the capped end buried. The elbow naturally protrudes above soil giving him a perfect and controlled way to water each bed that is measured and timed. One minute and ten seconds fills a five gallon container. He times the watering in each irrigation tube and then goes on to the next one.  Looked like an efficient and creative use of tubing that makes garden chores easier.

Food and company were simply great. Many of us sat around a former 4 x 8 bed the hosts turned into an eating area. The day was lovely and mild for June in VA. Trees kept us cool, food filled our bellies as we relaxed and enjoyed the wonders of gardening.

I enjoy the creativity of this garden. From raised beds  filled with an abundance of vegetables and fruits, to the profusion of flowers interspersed in between attracting beneficials and repelling pests, an irrigation system created from a desire to decrease watering time and create efficiency.

To our hosts,  I say thank you. To my readers, I invite you to share any ingenious device you’ve created in your garden. I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day. Judith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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