Posts Tagged ‘vegetable gardening’

Moving tomatoes

2 x 2 foot raised garden bed

My tomatoes have been getting blight (I believe it’s septoria leaf spot) earlier and earlier each year.  I decided that I need to move them completely out of my main garden area this year.

I built these four 2 foot by 2 foot raised “bed” boxes up by my back porch.  They’ll get great sun and they’ll be in new dirt that shouldn’t already be innoculated with whatever blights my other soil is carrying.

The tomatoes will grow up these uprights and shade our picnic table. I’ll just tie them up as they grow.  Tomatoes need at least 4 square feet when placed next to each other in a raised bed garden.  But since these will have lots of airspace all around them, I’m planning on planting each of these boxes with 1 tomato and 2 basil.

Great Green Garden Gab

Baby Broccoli Bed

Optimistic Onions

Cheerful Cabbage

Proud Purple Primero

Strawberries Stretching Sunward

Barraged with Baby Broccoli!

Cherry Changing

Cardinal in the Creek

Cluttered Corner

Lovely Layout

As soon as the ground can be worked

Above is an 8 foot by 1 foot bed that got planted this weekend with Sugar Snap Peas. Our average last frost date here is April 14, but the seed packet tells me that I can plant these as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring. We shall see what happens! I plan to reuse this same space in late May for melons which will hopefully take advantage of the trellis.

Thompson Broccoli seedlings

Here are half of my broccoli seedlings.  I am growing Thompson seeds this year.  I must admit that I feel a bit nervous planting all one variety, but that’s what I did.  We’ll see if I will learn this lesson the hard way.  Monoculture?  I’m so bad.

The 72 plants I started will be planted pretty close together.  Not quite one per square foot, but about 14 inches square for each one.  I harvest one head from each broccoli, and then pull them out to put green beans in the same space on about June 15.

Each of these will be potted up once into a 4 inch pot , hardened off to grow outdoors a bit (I don’t have enough room or light inside…I save my space for my tomatoes) and then of course planted out in the garden!

Garden Layout 2010 – 3 new beds

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.

May 2009 Backyard Garden

Gardening by numbers     

Gardening by numbers
Bed 1 is my wife's herb garden with an 8 foot row of cucumbers along the fence.  Just seeded this weekend.
Bed 1 is my wife’s herb garden with an 8 foot row of cucumbers along the fence. Just seeded this weekend.
Bed 2 has strawberries, three kinds of peppers and a couple eggplants I got at the farmer's market this weekend.
Bed 2 has strawberries, three kinds of peppers and a couple eggplants I got at the farmer’s market this weekend.
Bed 3 is seeded with sweet corn on the left side, white onion sets down the middle and melons on the right.
Bed 3 is seeded with sweet corn on the left side, white onion sets down the middle and melons on the right.
Bed 4 is seeded with bush green beans, beets and carrots.
Bed 4 is seeded with bush green beans, beets, sweet potatoes and carrots.
Bed 5 has rapidly maturing broccoli and was seeded a few weeks ago with beets and radishes.
Bed 5 has rapidly maturing broccoli and was seeded a few weeks ago with beets and radishes.
Bed 6 has broccoli, a zucchini, cabbages, a couple lettuce and my sons' 2x2 squares on the left corners.
Bed 6 has broccoli, a zucchini, cabbages, a couple lettuce and my sons’ 2×2 squares on the left corners.
Bed 7 has hybrid Big Mama tomatoes, supposedly a huge paste tomato.  The perimeter is planted with radishes.
Bed 7 has hybrid Big Mama tomatoes, supposedly a huge paste tomato. The perimeter is planted with radishes.
Bed 8 is planted with 8 heirloom tomatoes and has a perimeter ring of carrots.
Bed 8 is planted with 8 heirloom tomatoes and has a perimeter ring of carrots.
Bed 9 is a row of straw bales planted with lettuce and a couple extra herbs.
Bed 9 is a row of straw bales planted with lettuce and a couple extra herbs.
Bed 10 is an 8 foot wide narrow bed planted with a double row.  Cucumbers and snow peas will climb the lattice.
Bed 10 is an 8 foot wide narrow bed planted with a double row. Cucumbers and snow peas will climb the lattice.

Saving Seeds from Radishes

Radishes, bolted to seed.  About 4 feet tall.

Did you know that radishes will grow over 4 feet tall?

I planted a pot of radish seeds in the greenhouse this December. The seeds took a month or perhaps even 6 weeks to germinate in the cold temperatures. While they were growing, I was actually able to eat 4 or 5 small ones, pulled out in the name of “thinning” before the majority of the plants started to grow seed stalks. I guess the winter weather was a bit too much stress for them.

Instead of just throwing them out, I decided to let the radishes go to seed…as an experiment.

The seed stalks kept growing and growing and growing. After growing about 4 feet tall, the stalk in the center of each radish opened up a flower very similar to what a bolted broccoli looks like. Some of my radishes grew white flowers and some grew pink flowers, although all the seeds came from the same packet. Some are still flowering now, almost 6 months after putting the seeds in the ground.

Radish flower

Now that most of the flowers have died back, seed pods are beginning to grow. They look like tiny green beans at the moment. I’ll update this post when they have grown up and dried so I can harvest the seed.

Radish flower


FOLLOW-UP POST ADDED BELOW:


Here is an update to my previous post about saving radish seeds.

Dried radish seed pods

Dried radish seed pods

I let the radish growth die naturally and dry outside to a nice tan color.  I picked off the stems with the seed pods and had what you see above.

Green pod has turned light brown

Green pod has turned light brown

Just like a pea or a bean, each dry pod contains a few radish seeds.  Let’s open one up, shall we?

Hooray, seeds!

Hooray, seeds!

I expect the nice round ones are probably more viable than the flat wrinkled ones, since the ones I originally planted were all nice and round.

The verdict is that, yes, I can save radish seeds.  And until I absolutely need to, I won’t.  It’s a lot of extra work to get these seeds from a plant that would otherwise be picked in 25 or 30 days.  I’ll consider it knowledge tucked away for a rainy day.

Raised bed vegetable garden 2009

 

Two new beds (near the viewer) and four raised to be deeper

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

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.

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.

They are quite deep now.

View from low ground

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.

Plant 16 per square foot.

“Plant 16 per square foot.”  They make it sound so easy, don’t they?

My cookie cooling rack started to go rusty on me.  We’ve been using it since about 1997, so that’s not too bad.  I knew right away what I was going to do with it (yeah, I might have been secretly happy that it was finally worn out)…

9, 16, or 25 plants per square foot.

9, 16, or 25 plants per square foot.

The rack shown is about 10 inches high and about 18 inches wide.  In the garden this year I will simply lay this metal grid on the prepared soil and, using the painted squares as my guide, plant seeds in a pattern that will produce 9, 16, or 25 plants per square foot in the garden!  I’m so excited!  I could probably also paint on patterns for 6, 12, whatever.  Maybe I will.  I haven’t used yellow, blue or green yet.

Wanted: Kale Seeds

Would anyone be willing to put a few of last year’s Kale seeds (any variety) in an envelope and mail them to me?  I don’t have any (didn’t try it in the summer garden) and stores around here don’t stock seeds in December.  I would really appreciate your time and effort.

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