Posts Tagged ‘backyard gardening’

The Garden is resting


I have almost completely closed down the garden.  There is a bit of lettuce in the left half (as seen here) of bed #4.  Leaves, straw and grass clippings are mulching most of the beds.

The land here is on an incline.  The viewer’s perspective is the lowest point before stepping off into a creek. Beds 5 & 6 are about two or three feet higher up the hill than bed 1.  The creek flooded several times this year, completely covering over beds 1 and 2 and sometimes infiltrating the edges of beds 3 and 4.  That’s not so good for plants.

For the 2009 season:

  • Bed 1 will be removed.
  • The walls of bed 2 will be raised from 6 inches high to 18 inches high.
  • Beds 3 and 4 will be raised from 6 inches high to 12 or 14 inches high, whatever my measurements tell me after I get a water level out there.
  • Beds 5 and 6 will be raised a bit too…perhaps 4 or 6 inches higher.
  • Beds 7 and 8 will be added farther up towards the house, (creating the issue of there being no bed numbered 1) constructed of 2x6s or 2x8s.

There’s not a whole lot left to do except plan next year.

Elevation slope

This shot gives some idea of the gentle south-facing slope.

Sugar Baby Watermelon from our in-town back yard garden

We have picked two or three Sugar Baby watermelons so far this month.  They are a nice size to fit into an already crowded fridge.

S. with Sugar Baby Watermelon

S. with Sugar Baby Watermelon

Washed clean

Washed clean
Cut in half

Cut in half

Sliced and ready to eat.

Sliced and ready to eat.

Dad!  It's getting HEAVY and my feet are BURNING on the sidewalk!

Dad! It's getting HEAVY and my feet are BURNING on the sidewalk!

And then, way down here (where only the most dedicated readers will read) I’ll make an offer.  If you would like to try this variety of melon next year, just let me know and I’ll send you some of the seeds.  First 3 who ask will get seeds in the mail, as long as you ask before August, 2008 is over.  You’ll need AT LEAST a 4×4 foot space to grow these, and to make it fit in that space you’ll have to keep turning the vines back in again every couple days.  Mine are growing in a 6×8 foot raised bed, and there ended up being about 6 vines.  It is also possible, although a LOT of WORK to grow this watermelon on a trellis.  When trellising this melon, you have to sling the fruits so their own weight doesn’t break them off the vine in the wind.

Homemade Ketchup

I made a 5 pint batch of homemade Ketchup tonight, using the spice packet from Mrs. Wages.  It turned out to be a really good sauce, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t take almost 3 hours.  It had better be REALLY, REALLY good.

Chop tomatoes, boil 25 minutes.  Strain out the skin and seeds (takes a long time), then boil the pulpy juice another 20 minutes.  Add vinegar, sugar and spice packet, boil again.  Then can into prepared jars with prepared lids and boil them another 40 minutes.

Homemade ketchup canned in pint and half-pint jars

Homemade ketchup canned in pint and half-pint jars

Seriously, it had really better taste awesome.  Or maybe I’m just tired.

Cucumbers growing on a trellis

The cucumbers are growing up the trellis I made from sticks that fell into my back yard this March and April.  I just laid them out on the ground in an arrangement that worked, tied them together with twine and stuck them in the ground.

A homemade cucumber trellis

A homemade cucumber trellis

This is actually (like most of the photos I post) quite a large image, so click on it to see it enlarged.  In many browsers, you then have to click once more to see the full original size.  There is a good amount of detail available if you’d like to look.

EARLY pumpkin

The jackolantern pumpkin we grew got ripe late in July.  How long can I leave it on the vine before it just rots right there in the garden?  The stem is still quite green as is the vine attached…


EARLY pumpkin!

EARLY pumpkin!

We don’t plan on eating this (maybe the seeds) so if we could get it to last until at least September (fall decoration!) that would be great.  Anybody with experience care to enlighten me?  It’s several inches larger than a basketball, so putting it in a refrigerator is out of the question.

Garden changes for 09…early June edition

By fall all of these opinions will have probably changed, but as of today, here is what I would/will be doing differently with next year’s garden:

  • Raise the two beds on lowest ground another 8 to 12 inches.
  • Eliminate trying melons at all.  I set aside a lot of space for them and they don’t look good yet.
  • Eliminate things we can’t eat, namely jackolanterns and decorative gourds.  The plants are doing well, but it does seem like wasted space.
  • Twice as much broccoli, maybe even two full beds.  I thought I planted a lot, but it’s definitely not going to be enough to freeze any.
  • Twice as many bush green beans, again maybe even two full beds.
  • One whole area of lettuce planted really close together, that I would intend to harvest as leaf lettuce in May and early June.  I’m tired of waiting for lettuce heads to grow…I want salad!  Perhaps 9 or 12 plants per square foot.

I have five full-size 8×6 ft. beds and one that is smaller where the fence cuts it off diagonally.  If I were to do it right now I guess I would plant 2009 as:

  • Two beds of broccoli
  • One and a half beds of green beans
  • Half a bed of salad stuff (it’s still 24 square feet)
  • One bed to grow peppers, cucumbers and zucchini
  • One full bed of tomatoes

That eliminates cauliflower, some cabbage, peas, melons, gourds and probably a couple other things but hopefully puts more food in my belly.  I guess we’ll see what I think later on down the line.


EDIT (June 10):

You know…my first-in broccoli has all just about finished up already.  It was a disappointingly small harvest of broccoli, but maybe I’ll try a different seed next year.

However I’m havin’ a thought here.  Since the broccoli is going to be finished producing by the middle of June, I can plant 2 full beds of broccoli as early as possible, completely harvest them, empty the beds and then plant rows of green beans.  June 15 green beans will be done in mid- to late-August.  That should work!

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