Sep 6, 2011

Dome Trellis working well. Easy access and harvesting.

Swallow Tail Caterpillar munching on Milk Weed.

Beans are climbing way up and out of reach. but full and healthy.
Much easier to inspect. The lateral trellis allows them to hang down away from the leaves opening up the spaces for light. We got some good production for the summer and the vine was easily removed off the structure in the fall. Many more types will line the circumference of the dome base next season. I will look for longer vines that can extend further up the dome.
Pumpkins and squash are hanging in there. Stems strengthen with the weight and the dome is holding. I later put a step ladder under the biggest. Having the plants trellised did not effect the pollination, hand pollination would be easier on the trellis. Getting the plants off the ground has deterred many pests and opened up more space to light. Early crops like broccoli, carrots, radish and spinach are unaffected by the later shade from the trellised plants. The partial shade that develops actually seems to cool the understory cool season plants that are just fine. The broccoli was unaffected. Peppers had good production. I would place the light heat loving plants closer to the south side.

In the fall, as the squash and pumpkins were harvested, the light to the inner garden area increased an we saw increased yields from the late season plants after the dome over-story vines were removed. Next year I will try indeterminate tomatoes and cucumber on vertical lines using the support of the dome and perhaps some cross beams (pipe).

More squash, less pumpkins next year. I will have to design the accurate placement and training of the vines. There is so much area to cover as we go vertical and spherical, I'd like to efficiently fill every space. I may add more cross pieces and sisal weaving through the dome structure to support the vines better. Otherwise they are relegated to the pipes and harder to adjust. Branch thinning and leaf pruning would help the light partitioning.
A good morning harvest. Working from home allowed me to slow roast and stew the tomatoes. It takes a lot of tomatoes to make a meal. Beans are finicky fruit. Daily morning picking is the only way to get the tender sweet beans. Pick and weed, thin and prune as you go. The keyhole beds made for quick tasks and a good morning stretch. Later last summer I went to 5 gallon buckets. Baskets are a beautiful way to harvest and and a good presentation for visitors, but a big bucket a more efficient load baring tool.

I never found out what this was. I think it was not so good for the grapes, but I need to know what it is and not just indiscriminately kill insects.
Swallow Tail caterpillars are allowed to eat freely. Beneficial perennial habitat is supplied for insects, but the Swallowtail wants my dill and tender annuals. Seen here is the consumption of Milk Weed. I would gladly share whatever they need for the beauty of their flight and pollination of the flowers.  Sharing the garden goes hand in hand with expectations of a good harvest. Some of it needs to go to the long time occupants of the garden niche, still you need to recognize the good, the bad, and the just kinda ugly but beneficial insects.

 Elderberry juice cooking down for the bottle. 11 quarts from three plants. A years worth of tasty flavoring and highly nutritious antioxidants.

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