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.
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)