Sunday, June 12, 2011

Garden Fervor

Once again, the weather has not been very cooperative, regarding gardening so far this year. We finally got everything planted by the 1st weekend of June. Whew! It was do or die. It feels like April right now, can't believe it is going to be summer this month! 

This is only our second garden, but after growing a successful organic, mostly heirloom garden last year, we definitely had different ideas about how we wanted to do it this year. Between rain storms, we would frantically try to get out and get the garden ready, which was a big job because we decided to increase the size by a third as well as make permanent raised beds with the idea of lasagna gardening in mind. We also want to try some square foot gardening techniques to get the most out of our beds. This year we were able to sew all heirloom varieties or open-pollination seeds.

We were blessed to have been lent a really nice walk-behind tiller to use for free. We are hoping this will be the last time we need to till since we are going to be doing lasagna gardening from now on. While we will be doing a lot of weeding this year, in the fall, we plan on layering our beds with cardboard, then composted horse manure mixed with straw and our kitchen compost. Then we'll layer the beds with leaves from the trees and grass clippings. My sister (she learned this method from her friend Catherine) has been doing this for several years with wonderful results. No tilling and very little weeding are required with this method. As soon as we can afford it, we want to put in a drip irrigation system with a timer on it.


We've have one more bed to build and then we're done. The unfinished bed is the children's garden space. They were thrilled to have a spot of ground all their own to work with.  They can do anything they want with it. We used untreated cheap wood, which I know will eventually rot, but that is OK because the beds ought to be well established by that time. Each bed is 30 feet long and two feet wide. We have 11 beds total with a foot and half space between them.

This is half of the unfinished bed we are turning into a strawberry bed. A friend gave me a variety of ever-bearing strawberries to transplant. Some have made it, some haven't. We figure we'll pull the varieties we don't like and leave the ones we do. 

I have one bed for salad stuff, salad bowl lettuce, spinach (shown here), radishes, turnips and kohl rabi. I scatter-seeded this bed. I made the BIG mistake of allowing pumpkin seeds in my compost pile. I have hundreds of pumpkin plants coming up throughout my beds. Yikes! I'll never do that again. As you can see, things are just started to germinate.

We started our own pepper plants in the house this spring. The looked big in the house, but tiny when we planted them in the garden. Same with the tomatoes. Praying we'll get some despite the late planting. 

To help cut down on the weeding, we put landscape mat in between the beds. I'm hoping this will really help. We have a huge field-bindweed problem that can only be cured with Round-up, since their root system is 4 to 6 feet underground. Pulling doesn't work. As much as I hate to because I want to stay all organic, I'm going to have a squirt bottle of Round-up handy and squirt it directly onto the field bindweed when it comes up. I don't know what else to do. . I gotta get a handle on it!

We babied the tomatoes the first week by covering them up at night. We've only lost 4 out of the 18 plants, so far. I'm seeing some new growth on them, so that is a good sign. Thought we were going to lose them all for awhile there. They looked pretty unhappy when we first planted them.

I only planted one yellow squash and one zucchini start. The other end of this bed will all be peas. I'm planting 3 different varieties and staggering them 3 weeks apart for continual harvest throughout the summer. We will add a partial trellis to this bed. 

Michael used wire stock panels to trellis our pickling cukes and pole beans. This is the pickling cucumber row. If they all come up, I'm going to have 60 plants growing on either side of the trellis. Michael still needs to put up the green bean trellis. No hurry there though, because they still haven't germinated.

Michael made this little garden/compost stand for me. We got the sink from a yard sale last year. I love having two compartments to my compost pile so that I can simple transfer it from one side to the other when I'm turning it. He made it out of scrap boards and free pallets. 

Two of the three trees we planted last year didn't make it, so we bought 2 more. We now have two peach trees and an apple tree. It'll be years before they produce fruit, but we are willing to wait.

Our lilacs are finally in full bloom! They are a month later than normal. Love my lilac trees!

Here is a picture of my herb bed. You can't see it, but there are a lot of little herb plants growing in here. I'm still waiting for some to germinate. The onions you see on the end are called "Egyptian Onions". They are a perennial. I'm going to let them grow and multiply this year and see what they are like next year. I love the idea of going out in the middle of the winter to pick fresh onions out of the ground!

This is my front flower bed. The more crowded the better in my opinion. Less weeding! My tulips and phlox are in their final stages.

I always have a few of my perennials not make it threw the winter, which leaves me a little room to try some different flowers. I found these purple dalpheniams (sp?) and I thought they were gorgeous. Hope they make it!
I love this perennial geranium. The orange color is so brilliant. I just wish the blooms would last longer. I also planted some daisies and snap dragons and black-eyed Susan and zinnias for some late summer color.

As soon as my garden really takes off, I'll post some pics on it. Sorry it wasn't more exciting :o( Trusting that despite the late start, God will bless us with an abundant harvest of peas, squash, zucchini, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, peppers, carrots, lettuce, radishes, spinach, turnips, kohl rabi, onions, garlic, strawberries and herbs :o)

God Bless,
Jackie

15 comments:

Kris Watson said...

Jackie, what a wonderful garden space! You are an inspiration!

This is going to be somewhat random, but I noticed that you enjoy vintage clothing. My mom has many vintage dresses of her mom's that she wants to give to someone who might use them. Thing is, Grandma was 5'1 and weighed 123 pounds. It seems you might be somewhat taller than that. But if I am misjudging, just say so! If you have an interest, please email me at LdyChef2K at yahoo. Happy Sunday!

Catherine Anne said...

I LOVE what you have going on~ I will have to show the hubby your rows~

Robin said...

What a great looking garden - I've only managed a small row of lettuce and some of onions this year. However, we've had some asparagus (planted three years ago), strawberries (planted by the former owners) and rhubarb (planted last year). I also had some onions come back up from last year - apparently I missed some! Hopefully next year will be better.

Robin said...

You have just built my dream veggie garden! Can't wait to see photos of your bounty.

Naomi said...

Your garden is gorgeous. It is my dream garden as well. It will be so fullfilling to eat the produce knowing that your sweat, blood and tears and planning made them. Oh with Gods help of course.

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

Jackie, it's huge! I can't believe how big it is. Great job!!!!

Camille said...

You have been one busy family with all that planting/prepping going on in the garden!! Good for you! Hasn't the weather been crazy?? I have been jokingly saying we got spring just in time for summer! :)

It's supposed to be a hot one...so maybe those tomatoes, etc with THRIVE this year despite the *late* planting. :)

Have a wonderful week!
Love,
Camille

Sarah said...

So jealous of your lilacs Jackie! I planted one about two years ago and it just flowered this year...though it is still tiny!

You guys have been working hard! You put me to shame...Your raised beds are wonderful. We have never done them but I think they are definitely the way to go!

Happy gardening!

OurLilFullFam said...

Wow - what a garden! Thanks for sharing. I had 2 square foot gardens last year and they did great, but yours look awesome and so much bigger! I am going to show this to my husband so he can get a good look too!

Stephanie

Jill said...

Your garden is awesome! How wonderful you are blessed with the land to be able to produce so much of your own food! The flowers are beautiful! Lilacs are one of my favorites too! Although after seeing yours I think mine need a little maintenence! We need to trim more off the bottom I think. :-) Have a great day!!

Blessings,
Jill

Nadine said...

Your gardens look great! I know what you mean about the late start...it is still damp & chilly up here...both me and the plants want some sunshine! :)
Love your lilacs - beautiful!

Blessings!
~Nadine

hip-chick said...

It looks great. You have been working hard. We have had lousy weather also. Much rain and cold temps. I am hoping that it will warm up soon. Good luck with your gardening.

Catherine said...

Looks good,Jackie; I prefer more foom in the rows between the beds so that I can bring in wheelbarrow loads of stuff, or my nursery cart. I also make my beds 36 inches wide, but then I use the biodynamic, French Intensive method where the optimum distance apart for plants (9 inches in all directions for broccoli, for example) keeps weeds at bay and makes more of a 'community' for each type of plant. We'll talk about that when we see each other, though. And I'm all for roundup when necessary!

Jenn said...

Loved seeing all your progress! Your garden will be wonderful I'm sure!

Deborah Bradford said...

Love your Lilac trees. Reminds me of our old house when I was a kid. Where could I get some like yours? Debbie Bradford

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