Planning my first garden.... irrigation, seeds, and more questions FBX area
I've helped my dad garden for several years, but this is my first year gardening on my own, and I am doing it VERY different from my dad. Next summer we will be living on some property in the hills above Fairbanks. We will not have running water, at least for a couple years because the water level is anywhere from 150-300 or more feet, and that makes for a very expensive well.
Since we won't have running water I was planning to use drip irrigation to not only save me a lot of time, but also to conserve water. However a friend last night on Facebook mentioned that I shouldn't need to water very often, just water when needed, using methods including keeping a rain gauge out and supplementing whatever I need to equal 1" a week. That idea sounds great, but one thing that I am concerned about is that this year in my dad's garden we had become lazy, and didn't water the garden at all except for occasional periods after first planting. Even though the plants look healthy, big, and don't look like they are lacking in water, yet there is very little to no produce from them. I have dug up a couple potato plants early, and the amount we get from 1 plant is definitely 1/3 of that of last years, perhaps even 1/4. Almost no tomatoes (2 so far out of about 15 or more plants, lots of flowers, we have bees so no pollination issues), no raspberries, only a couple strawberries.... Rhubarb did great though. This is very different from last years garden, and last year the potatoes were in much poorer soil!
So... irrigate or no? I plan on raised beds with mulch to help reduce evaporation rates. I can scan and post the scans of my plan.
Also... I want to buy all heirloom seeds so I can keep seeds, but I would like to know what heirloom varieties do well up here. I have an order figured out from Baker Creek, everything that I plan to buy I made sure were the earliest, most cold hardy variety they had.
What heirloom varieties have you planted with great success?
Don't know the Fairbanks area for growing.
Heirloom tomatoes I've tried are marginal at best & later than the standard one I've grown in the GH for years.
But i keep trying others but mostly for taste. I plant Early girl toms & compare others to it. So far EG does the best for me.
Someone in your area may chime in & know which heirlooms do well there.
Not many plants have adapted to growing this far north, but many of the standard garden veggies are heirloom (zuc, carrots beets), just not sure the seeds have time to develop here for many of them, for seed saving to be doable.
As a suggestion, I'd rig a rain barrel... it would cut down on the amount of water you could end up having to haul...
I'd say this years lack of production was in direct proportion to lack of water... but that's just my WAG (wild guess)