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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Growing Dome Update-So Far, Not Too Shabby

The Growing Dome has been up and running since the first week in May when I planted our inaugural crop of veggies. We chose the 18 foot diameter dome which is appropriate for a family of 2-3, but the dome people didn't account for hungry beef cattle who stick their heads into the side vents for a little snack. That's why some of the stuff I planted had an early demise.

This should be remedied soon, though, since we bought the posts and cement for a fence to keep out those living lawn mowers we call The Angus Boys. The plan is for an outside garden area along with a bee yard,  surrounded with a 5 foot barbed wire fence. When the bees arrive, Meg the Beemaster suggests electrifying the fence at night to keep out hungry honey hunting bears.

Even though there have been Angus Boy raids on broccoli, green beans, pepper and cucumber plants, I still consider the garden inside the dome a success. Come on in and I'll give you a tour.

Inside we have added a layer of shredded bark mulch to the floor, which is over a layer of metal mesh hardware cloth and weed barrier cloth. Makes it homey, I think.

I have the Earthboxes in front of the water tank. The tomatoes in there haven't done as well as the ones in planter beds along the perimeter. Could it be because I didn't follow the replanting instructions and forgot to add fertilizer? Nonetheless, we have had a supply of cherry and yellow pear tomatoes and all the cinnamon basil I want. I'm making pesto this week. On the right side are jalapenos and an Early Girl tomato plant that grew so big I had to prune it at the top and sides. Next year I will have taller tomato cages.

We've had a steady stream of these Early Girl tomatoes for the past month. I've had one of the big yellow tomatoes on another plant and more are ripening. I'm starting some arctic-cool weather tomato plants this week. We'll see how long I can extend the tomato season. I know I am insane to try this, but why the heck not?

This variety, Big Jim chile, is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest pepper, growing to 12 inches long. They are mildly hot but aren't ready yet. So I can't tell you how hot that really means. I'll bet they will be awesome stuffed with a picadillo mixture of some sort.

These are the last 2 or 3 cucumber plants (and we've had a couple cukes a week), covered with blossoms and flowers. The other cuke plants were to the right until Mignon, the midget marauder, stuck his head in the vent. In front are the purple green beans, which we have eaten every which way. They've been producing for the past month and a half and I think this week I will pick the last of them since they are getting tired.

We have new green beans coming up for the next go-round on this side and its opposite. In the back are carrots. I just broadcast the seeds instead of making neat little rows.  I won't do that next time because it's too chaotic and the tops are a tangled mess, even though I thinned them. There's a new zucchini plant in there, too, along with two remaining yellow pepper plants. Earlier some cilantro grew there and now it's pesto, in the freezer.

The dome's water tank keeps it cooler, and since Tom hooked up the solar water pump, there's a peaceful sense of tranquility. Nothing like water therapy to make a body feel good.

Especially after you've had plenty to eat and drink.

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