Another round of cultivation at the school garden

20140630-193136-70296382.jpgToday three of us met to hoe weeds at the Parr Field Garden Project.  Our crop plants are bigger now so the job is easier with less danger of accidentally weeding our crops.  Nevertheless, it seems like every weeding episode has its share of collateral damage.  There are some areas where crops are not present and we do not know if that was due to germination issues, mortality after emergence due to lack of adequate moisture, or we are starting to see evidence of animal damage to our irrigation system and garden plot in general.  It appears as if we have at least three prairie dog holes in the immediate vicinity of our garden.  I am not sure how we will deal with these critters, hopefully we don’t lose too much.  In 2011 we lost almost an acre of crops to neighboring fields infested with prairie dogs.

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The picture above shows the field after most of the weeds are eliminated.  I tell the students that we are not here to take out 100% of the weeds, we just want to make sure our crops are not suffering direct competition with weeds and to give them the upper hand.  Indeed, when we come back in several days, we will find all the weeds we missed!20140630-193137-70297580.jpg Some of our chile plants are thriving, others not so well…  We did not have our irrigation system up and running correctly until several days after we transplanted so many of our plants succumbed to the shock of being transplanted and not having enough soil moisture to survive the transition.

20140630-193137-70297179.jpgThe three sisters aspect of our garden continues, with the three representatives thriving.  In a few weeks time, it will be difficult to see the soil underneath all the greenery!  That is assuming all of these crops can survive the influence of our prairie dog neighbors.  We also found the chains and locks were cut on the gates which means that people (and their dogs) will now have access to the field and the garden and that can have unpredictable and undesirable consequences…

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About Miguel

Miguel Santistevan is a researcher, educator, and advocate for traditional agriculture crops and systems.
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