Posts Tagged ‘beans’

Japan Invades my Back Yard

They sent beetles.

Japanese Beetle on an Apple Leaf

Japanese Beetles on my Yellow Delicious Apple Tree

Japanese Beetle on a Cherry Leaf

The Japanese Beetles showed up after all.  These unwelcome pests will do their best to completely strip leaves down to their framework of veins. I know first-hand that they love apple and cherry trees, grape leaves, sweet potato leaves, corn silk, beans and more. They are an evil scourge and the only way (acceptable to me) to get rid of them seems to be picking them off by hand.

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Spring Garden Planning – on Paper – 2011

When I originally built my first set of garden beds in 2008, I had a brilliant idea. Every web site and book I could find was telling me that I wanted my garden beds to be 4 feet wide, for the convenience of reaching the crops easily and the benefit of never having to set foot into my soil. I promptly built each bed 6 feet wide because I knew better and I’ve been kicking myself for my arrogance ever since. I figured that 50% more growing area per bed plus much less wood needed would save me a ton of money by using a 6×8 foot layout. Well, it’s just been a pain in the ass.

This first drawing illustrates this year’s idea to help take advantage of these oddly-wide square foot garden beds. I plan to build a two-foot-wide middle section that has a trellis on each of these beds. I’ll grow climbing crops up the trellis in the middle and use the two-foot section on each side for crops with shorter growth habits.

So with this idea in mind, I got out my handy-dandy graph paper and planned out my 2011 garden. You can click the image to enlarge the photo. Each of the 5 beds I have numbered 2 through 6 will be getting a trellis topper with it’s own double-raised bed section (6 inches higher) beneath.

I have rotated every crop to an area of the garden that it hasn’t been grown for at least a year. Ideally I would use a 4 or 5 year rotation, but that isn’t possible in this amount of space unless I grow less tomatoes.

Because I have 12 growing beds, I plan to have several beds entirely dedicated to single crops, including sweet potatoes, potatoes, beans and tomatoes.

I also have planned some succession sowing with early spring crops, spring crops and fall crops. Carrots will follow the radishes and lettuce, Beets will follow Kale, and the green bean bed will be planted multiple times.

I found a place online where I could download a nice spreadsheet to help me with my seed-sowing dates. I entered my (average) last spring frost date into the spreadsheet, and it adjusted itself to display a range of dates where I should probably start my indoor seeds for best success in my garden. I moved these recommendations to the calendar on my computer and printed out a copy for easy reference. I have two trays of seeds started so far. Pictures coming at a later date!

The boys have been big helpers with the seed starting. They get a little bit of cabin fever when they are snowed in.

Community Garden Plot

I haven’t shown you my community garden plot because I never remember to bring the camera.  So here are some blurry cell phone pictures.

Community Garden Plot 10 x 30 feet

Community Garden Plot 10 x 30 feet

At the front right corner is an improvised trellis trying to support 9 tomato plants and already sagging in the middle.

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The rest of the space contains alternating hills of either corn and pole beans together, or a vining plant such as a squash, cucumber or watermelon.  This is my three sisters garden.  It’s a very fun experiment and I think it’s going to work out.

More pics:

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Community Garden Plot

In addition to my home garden this year I’ve been given a spot at a community garden.  I stepped off the size of the plot and it seems to be about 10 x 30 feet.  There is quite a rabbit problem in the yard at the community garden, so I have fenced in my area.  I have big plans to try a full blown three sisters garden in a 10 x 20 space, leaving me about 10×10 for “miscellaneous.”

I planted 10 tomato plants there already, but there is much work left to be done.  Planting is supposed to be completed by the 15th of May, so I need to get a move on.

Pictures are coming!

P.S. Tomato list for community garden:

  • Ace 55 (determinate)
  • Celebrity (determinate)
  • Supersteak (determinate)
  • Oxheart
  • Banjan Roomi
  • Rutgers
  • Tamina
  • Murray Smith
  • Gardener’s Delight
  • Spoon
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