Monday, June 10, 2013

"Vegetable Planting......"

Our yard has several growing beds, some surrounded by rocks, others are raised beds made with wooden boards.  I don't know how long it has been since any of the beds had any type of maintenance done to them, because all are chock full with weeds and wild grasses, so my guess is further back in time than last year.

My immediate goal was to get some vegetables planted in the largest of the raised beds, which is divided into 4 sections.  Our soil is very sandy, which I must admit, made for easy weeding.  Still, weeding is weeding, right?  Not the most pleasant of jobs, but that is only my opinion.  There could be people who love to weed......I am not one of them.  ;)

Here is a photo of the raised bed prior to removing the weeds.  There were a couple of large pots sitting in the bed, too, that once held some sort of plant, which I just emptied out onto the bed, hoping that even a little bit of old potting spoil would help with building the soil.  This photo was also taken after I removed several old, flimsy, broken down, tomato cages, and a rotted soaker hose, which broke into numerous pieces as I pulled it out.

Here is the same bed after I weeded the sections, amended the soil with peat moss and commercial compost, and planted the vegetables.  Once I buy a new hose and can soak the bed nicely, I will also mulch the sections with straw to help keep the moisture in the soil.  The triangular supports were built (or so I believe) to hold 4 sliding glass doors, which I found behind our small outbuilding.  I'll not use them this late in the year, but do believe they will be a big help in getting an earlier start next year.

While weeding, I found some volunteer strawberry plants struggling to survive amongst the weeds.  I transplanted them all into the 1st section, hoping they will thrive and produce runners (which establish new plants) so perhaps we'll be able to pick strawberries next year.  Since transplanting and taking this photo, I've given them a good side dressing of compost, too.  They don't look like much now, but if they survive and send out the "hoped for" runners, this entire section of the raised bed will be a mat of strawberry plants.

In the next section, I've planted 6 varieties of tomato plants.  I brought 4 sturdy tomato cages with me from WI but haven't put them in place yet.  I'll have to purchase 2 more soon.

I found some 12" x 12" marble tiles and placed them in the bed temporarily to use as stepping stones to cross from one side to the other instead of having to walk all the way around the entire raised bed.  Once the plants gain some size, I won't be able to cross through.

In the last 2 sections, I've planted 3 varieties of squash....Zucchini, Butternut, and Acorn.

I only planted 1 hill of squash in the last section because a White Pine overhangs it somewhat.

I also cleaned out another small, square raised bed (seen behind the blue rain barrel in the earlier photos) and planted a couple of pickle plants.  There is also a large plant of some sort of mint that the pickle plants will share the bed with............I hope they are compatible.  ;)

I didn't do any soil testing or anything like that, but am "assuming" the soil, besides being sandy, is probably somewhat acid, too.  So this year I am relying on my soil amendments to give the plants good nutrients and will dub this as "The Year of Great Expectations", and "hopefully", it will not become "Mike's Folly".  ;)

1 comment:

Janice Zindel said...

Raised beds are wonderful for gardening, and if they're not too wide, you do the soil prep and till it good, don't walk in them, and just add what you need each year without the tilling. They warm up earlier, and with those windows, or the hoop/garden cloth, you can start earlier and extend your growing season a bit. I'm looking forward to having raised beds again. Hope those strawberries do well for you! and the other veggies, too!