Archive for the ‘raised bed’ Category

Why I Quit Buying Seeds for My Garden 3 Years Ago

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I save seeds for heirloom tomatoes, several herbs, beans and corn. It’s a very easy and convenient way to free yourself from having to spend a lot of money every spring when it’s time to plant the garden.

Almost three years ago, I also signed myself up for a membership for the Seeds of The Month Club. It was the only thing I bought on Black Friday that year. The idea was so fun, old-fashioned and low-tech! You get actual seed packets, mailed to your house, every month! Who doesn’t love getting things in the mail? I still get so excited when (read more on this blog’s new location…)

Rainbow on my counter

Red mild jalapenos, Roma and Ester Hess tomatoes, a random cucumber and green mild jalapenos

Red mild jalapenos, Roma and Ester Hess tomatoes, a random cucumber and green mild jalapenos

I realized today that with the yellow throw in there I had quite an assortment of colors on my counter.

I realized today that with the yellow throw in there I had quite an assortment of colors on my counter.

Working outside in the garden

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After weeks of work, this is what I have to show for it.  A garden that is just beginning to look ok for the year, with a new 100 square foot area being used for 1 year as a three sisters garden.

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I am slowly but surely changing the layout in a barely noticeable way. :D  One by one, the beds made with pine boards back in 2008 and 2009 are rotting away.  I am replacing them with cedar frames, but I will also be resizing them from their current 6 foot width to a more manageable 8×4 feet.  Basically it’s just going to be a whole bunch of digging and moving dirt.  It’s actually a great workout.

Do yourself a favor if you’re reading this in time.  Make your garden beds 4 feet wide or less.  6 foot width is NO GOOD for raised beds in most cases.

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I planted some herbs out and I am hardening off everything else when the weather cooperates.  I hope to plant some tomatoes this weekend, probably.

The garlic is growing well, both in this yard and at my off-site garden where I planted 4 rows as a test last fall.

And if I can get my hands on some reasonably priced apple trees, I will be attempting to create a two-dimensional fruit tree.

Tomato Growths

Click to see this larger.

I don’t know why tomatoes sometimes grow fingers, noses, whatever-you-want-to-call-these, but they are fun!

Ripe Tomatoes mean 2012 Salsa…soon

My first 6 pounds of ripe tomatoes.  They’re an ugly bunch, due to the weather, but they’ll taste fine when I make them into salsa!

I didn’t even see the squash bug in person. I only noticed him in iPhoto.  This is a Cabin plant.  I’ll be saving a whole bunch of seeds soon.

Bushel of Cabbages

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to my blog, you should remember what this bushel of cabbage means.  Stay tuned later today for more details….

Green Tomato Size

Look how big my green tomatoes are getting!  These are still from the first flush on the Giant Syrian plant.  Too bad only 1 out of 25 flowers are turning into green tomatoes now.  They don’t like to set fruit when the weather is this hot.

Soon these will be ripe and I’ll be able to can up some salsa!

Carrots Pulled last weekend

I pulled up my carrots Sunday morning.  They were the best I have ever grown, and probably the best I could have done with my shady location.  Not a single one of them would have been supermarket-acceptable.  They were either worm bitten, cracked open, too small, tapered too fast, split rooted, etc, etc.  They’re good enough for me.  I got probably 6 or 8 pounds of edible carrot from six 8-foot rows, but I didn’t pick anything in the last 4 feet of the last 3 rows because they just didn’t grow in the shade there.

I washed them outside with the hose and broke off the green tops.

Then I washed them better inside.  After the picture above I cut off the bottoms and tops of each one.  They are in the crisper drawer in the refrigerator awaiting their date with multiple freezer bags.

As I said, this was definitely the best I can do with my dirt, my skills, my location right now.  I won’t give carrots a serious try again  next year.

Tomato and Peanut Update

Most of the tomatoes have reached 5 feet high already and all are loaded with green fruit that (thankfully) just keeps getting bigger. These are the best plants I have ever grown, so I must have found the optimal location in my yard for them this year.  The Cabin tomato plants (on each end) have some fruit that seems to be in the 8 to 10 ounce range, and I’ve never gotten bigger than 4-6 oz. from them before!  I imagine that the plants have NOT set any new fruit in the last week or so, because we have had 100 degree temperatures every day.  Tomatoes supposedly won’t pollinate their flowers at temperatures over 90.

The square white pot in the left bottom corner of the photo is the peanut plant that my son and I planted from a bag of raw spanish peanuts several months ago. It’s doing ok, as long as I remember to water it often in this heat.  It feels like August to me.

Tiny Mini Cabbage Heads

A couple weeks ago I harvested one of my heads of cabbage for a coleslaw recipe my wife was making.  Actually, I harvested two, but this post only has picture of the purple one.

Anyway, what you are seeing above, and you might have to look closely at the full sized version, is a group of 5 cabbage sprouts that have regrown on the cut stalk after I harvested the main head.

I am going to leave these for a couple more weeks just to see what they turn into.  Maybe they’ll be like brussels sprouts by the time I pick them.  Maybe they’ll be worthless, but it’s fun to try.

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