Giant Syrian Tomato, May 2012
Big Boy Tomato, May 2012
The tomatoes are starting to grow well for me in their new boxes. As you might be able to see I have planted each one with two basil friends to keep it company, and nature has planted several annoying wanna-be friends in there too.
The wire tomato cages are only there to steady the plant long enough for it to grow strong outdoors. I expect these tomatoes will end up 8 feet tall, up and over the roof by August.
The boards are warping a bit, so I think I’ll have to hit them with some sand paper on a nice dry day to even things up again.
The carrots (up top) are a bit patchy and sparse, but the beets are the best I’ve ever had, by far. Up until now I have tried beets all 4 years. One year I had them looking ALMOST this good, but they didn’t form roots for me. The other 3 times they didn’t even get this far along.
This year I took extra time preparing the bed. I dug it very deeply and added generous amounts of what the soil was lacking. I still don’t know if I’ll get beets or not, but let’s say I have my hopes up now.
2008 - 6 beds, built 6 x 8 feet. I wish they had been 4x8.
2009 - Two more beds added, lower beds raised higher
2010 - Two more beds added on the side. Still fighting the 6 foot width on the first beds.
2011 - 6 foot beds "fixed" by raising the middle two feet higher. Added permanent trellises.
2012 - Some of the oldest wood is rotten now and will be replaced next year.
In 2010 I built a long skinny bed for a space next to the back door.
We have since filled it with many herbs, some of which live through each winter.
Fruit Trees and Bushes
Two Northstar Dwarf Cherry trees were planted in 2009
In 2010 I added a Grape...
...and a mid-sized yellow Apple tree.
This Spring, in 2012, I have added these four planting boxes to the back yard.
It really is a labor of love, and not some passing hobby.
Why do you garden? What do you grow?
This was a busy weekend. In addition to lots of family stuff I was able to get outside for several hours to work on things that must be done before Spring.
- Built the new raised center boxes for 3 more beds
- Bought the lumber for three more trellises
- Transplanted a bed of year old strawberry runner plants
- Sowed a 21 foot row (perimeter of a 4×8 bed) of spinach seeds
- Created a second compost pile and filled it with the last of the fallen leaves and the soil from last year’s containers.
No pictures, but it was satisfying to get more work done.
This raised bed frame goes in the space just to the left of the cement where it sits at the moment. I snapped a couple pictures last night before I stopped working on it.
It is 14 feet long and 2 feet wide and will have permanent wooden divisions for 12 different plants. It’s not easy to get a nice photo of the whole thing because the fence is in the way. I played with Photoshop to merge two pictures but it turned out a bit crazy…
This week has been beautiful! No coats, ground getting drier every day. In fact I was all excited to get my new garden beds started.
Last night I was finally able to get a few hours set aside to start. I started work in a sweatshirt but ended up really warm with just a t-shirt on. I only quit because it got dark and my dinner was ready (thank you ladies!)
Yeah, well, look at the yard today…
Too cold and wet to work out there any more now. Almost feels like a waste of a weekend, but really it’s just disappointing to have the weather change my plans. There is still plenty I need to do.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I plan to add a little more space to the garden this year. The raised beds numbered 10, 11 and 12 will be new this year. Last year I added 7, 8 and 9. (But they were numbered differently.)
The plan in the graphic rotates every crop to a new place. I have kept track of where I have grown everything for the last 2 seasons (since starting) and I’m making sure that I won’t move them back to the same place until after the third year.
I am also going to start a second compost area this spring as soon as I can get out there. It makes sense to have one pile composting while adding to another one.
If this goes as planned, the garden will have expanded to 428 square feet this year. I’m still not making enough compost even to amend my existing beds, let alone to fill up three new ones. I’ll buy bagged stuff 3 for $5 again this year…probably enough to squat the van 2 or 3 times.
Two new beds (near the viewer) and four raised to be deeper
I worked in the garden this past Saturday. I added in two new veggie beds and increased the depth of four of the existing beds. Wood is expensive.
8 beds plus 4 bales to plant
The ones closest to the photographer here are covered in cardboard in the hope that a week without sunlight will make the sod removal easier this Saturday.
Behind that fence lies a creek...that floods.
My main motivation to raise the vegetable beds to these depths was the creek that runs behind my property. Last year the creed flooded several times and ruined some of the garden. I raised the lowest lying bed to a height of 18 inches. The next one up is now 14 inches high and the one in the foreground is 10 inches high. I think this is going to help quite a bit.
They are quite deep now.
View from low ground
The dirt will be delivered to the front driveway early Saturday morning, weather allowing. Actually I’m starting to wonder, because the forecast calls for Thursday and Friday to be raining.
With any luck I’ll have these all filled and tilled and partially planted next week!
I’m not really looking forward to a day of moving dirt again, but it has to be done.