Sr. Barbara started a little Veggie Garden here at the Abbey. She picked some interesting little plants and we were excited to see how well they did. To keep the garden as "eco-friendly" as we could, we added a drip irrigation/soaker hose system. We're happy with just how great this little system has worked.
Last year we had a great little crop of summer squash and yellow "wax" beans and the little radishes are just growing like crazy. Sadly the eggplants, peppers and various herbs couldn't beat the heat, and she felt there was no way the Pumpkins could make it with the very little rain we had in 2007.
This year, she's at it again. With the help of some new toys and tools, Sr. Barbara is very happy this year with her food garden. She has Green Beans, Peppers, Cucumbers, Carrots, Tomatoes, Zucchini, Yellow Squash and a mound of Pumpkins. We also had some Garlic in place during the winter months but all of our bulbs were pulled up, discarded and replaced with pecans by the crazy squirrels who live around the Abbey.
Our Soaker hose system worked quite well in 2007. This simple hose just leaks water all over the plants. We installed it per the directions - but with the drought and heat- we needed better coverage. So this year, the hose is very tightly packed into the Garden, the test soak has a great amount of water under the plant rows - so we're happy.
We will be using the water timer again for this year, the clock kept time quite well and the water amount looked about right. We love knowing that the garden is watered even when we forget to turn the hose on.
We also added a pair of Rain Barrels. These 55 gallon blue buckets are placed under the downspouts on the gutters and collect the runoff from our roof. We added a hose spigot to the bottom and we then attached the timer and soaker hose. Now we are watering the Garden with collected rain water.
So we gave it a few months. The Water Timer failed- I think it didn't have enough Pressure from the Barrel -So we returned to a on/off spigot. This worked great, we turn it on and the water flows out to the plants and soaks the ground. Except you have to remember to turn it off. Oops. 55gals drains pretty quickly, you'd be surprised - we sure were. So the garden flooded out - all of our seedlings failed for 2008. However, we count this as a win - we have learned invaluable information on the collection and delivery methods that will be put to great use in the coming years.
(How to make your own Rain Barrel instructions, coming soon.)
This is the large Silver Maple tree in front of the Abbot's House. A likeness of this tree's leaves are used as the symbol of the Order of the Leaf. Yes, that's the Abbot's truck parked there too.
A look at the front garden at the Abbot's house.
A wedding taking place in the Abbot's Garden.