Originally Posted on June 22, 2013
Summer is officially here. We've been having summery weather in our area for several weeks, hitting highs over 100 F some days. We hope your summer growing season is off to a good start, or will be soon.
Trial Garden Update
Tomato plants bearing ripe fruit have steadily taken over the trial garden at Valley Oak Tool Co.
The garden is shared between Valley Oak Tool Co. owner, David Grau, and permaculture gardener Carla Resnick. David's section of the garden is planted in tidy rows and Carla's section has a more roaming arrangement. The plants on each side of the garden are staked or tied, and they are all thriving (David did need to rogue two plants, which appeared to have a virus). The thick layer of mulch on Carla's side of the garden has conserved soil moisture, and she waters about every three weeks or so. David's tidy rows were left unmulched for most of the spring, and he waters a few times a week.
The glaring disparity in water usage became apparent to David, who wrote to Carla: "Your tomato plants look darker and healthier. I can't see waiting all season to mulch mine. I still think the rows are a better idea, but you have converted me into a mulch advocate. I see you are using a fraction of the water I am pouring on my tomatoes, and your plants look so much better." David added a layer of mulch (unfinished compost) about an inch deep. Carla's mulch is three to eight inches deep, and consists of fall leaves, cedar needles, and similar plant material. She really piles in on. All of that mulch also means she has no need to weed her plants.
Carla has noted a difference in taste between her less-frequently watered tomatoes, and David's frequently watered tomatoes. Her tomatoes have a more concentrated tomato flavor, and taste less… watery.
Dedicated to Sustainability
Valley Oak Tool Co. is proud to be part of the sustainable, local food revolution. Every home gardener, farmer, and market gardener using our tools is making a great contribution to creating more sustainable communities. Our tools are great for off-the-grid gardening! We're proud to provide an important tool in your sustainability tool shed.