A Garden Story (and photos)
Several readers asked for photos and more information after last week’s article, so I’m sharing my garden story (what it looks like, why I did what I did, what I’m trying, etc.). As you can see, I still have a lot of work ahead of me. I just bought some marigolds to help keep the aphids away, and the white stuff on my broccoli and cauliflower is flour and sour milk. My husband jokes that one of these days we are going to have biscuits growing out of our broccoli, but it keeps the cabbage loopers at bay. I don’t know why it works, but it does. Both beds are exactly the same size: 24 ft x 4 ft. I choose to go with 4 ft so that you can reach the middle of the bed without really having to step into it and compact the soil. We are going to be putting another one in this fall in front of these. Then the very difficult task of transplanting all my strawberries will begin, but we’ll worry about that this fall.
Let me introduce bed #1:
It contains over 32 sq ft of strawberries. (This started out as five very small strawberry plants! Ha!) Strawberries will be coming in shortly and I cannot wait! I love strawberries. A little note: You might be allergic to the strawberry leaves. I break out in hives every time I play in my strawberry patch. They are not harmful just annoying so wear gloves. Next, I have my tomatoes. There are nine tomato plants. This year I have planted a purple Heirloom tomato plant. Don’t know why, thought it might be a bit different. There is also a cherry tomato plant for my daughter who loves to pluck them right off the plant and pop them into her mouth! I figure, why not? There really is nothing like a freshly picked tomato. After the tomatoes, you can see my four rows of sweet corn. I have had mixed luck with sweet corn and I am still working on it. Spacing is very important. We’ll see how that goes. After that is always a mixture of sunflowers. The sunflowers serve 2 purposes. Originally, they were a way to get my girls in the garden and playing in the dirt. More importantly, they bring bees and bees are a wonderful and necessary part to your garden.
Now Bed #2
It contains four sprigs of asparagus. I have never gown that before, but I like to eat it and it is expensive. However, I am told that it is easy to grow and it produces a lot of fruit. Next are my 16 broccoli plants (I think) and four plants of cauliflower. I planted these guys back in the beginning of March and I have already had to cut one of my broccoli plants! The main head was going to flower (once it flowers it is no good to eat). It will continue to make florets for quite some time. The other heads are all coming up as well, but we still have a few weeks before they get cut. Cauliflower takes it’s own some sweet time. It is growing but it is SLOW! After that I have a row of lettuce, then two rows of carrots, then two rows of bush beans. (I am not a fan of pole beans. So I stick with bush beans.) Then I have my new setup for cucumbers and zucchini. The cucumbers will be growing up a fence this time. I still have to stabilize the fencing but in due time. And this year the zucchini we are going to try to keep inside a tomato cage! All the way in the back is another row of sunflowers. So now you might be thinking, “There is a lot of empty space in the 2nd garden.” Well, that space is reserved for some very special peppers. I came across a pepper called a Giant Marconi and they are the best sweet pepper I have ever eaten. LOVE them! They freeze well, they roast well. They are great in salads and they get so heavy with fruit that you have to stake the pepper plants. I picked my peppers until Thanksgiving the year I had them. This year, I special ordered them along with some Costa Rican Red sweet peppers. Whenever I visit Costa Rica, their chile dulce (sweet pepper) is always red and is just so yummy! So I found them and am going to try to grow them!
In bed 2, we are also trying a different technique. No clue if it is going to work, but we figured it was worth trying. I have laid newspaper on top of the soil and then covered the newspaper with mulch. I am hoping that the newspaper is going to keep the weeds down to a minimum and the mulch should keep the ground moist.
I know some of the stuff in the back is a bit difficult to see so here are some close up pictures of the garden. The lettuce is on the right hand side of the exposed dirt. The carrots hadn’t come up yet, so I couldn’t cover the dirt until I knew where I had planted them. The newspaper thing was sort of an after thought. Carrots are in the middle of the exposed dirt and the green beans start on the left hand side of the exposed dirt and go two rows. The birds ate a lot of my green bean seeds so I am going to replant this weekend where there are bald spots.
Here you can see the trellis I have started to put up for my cucumbers. The zucchini each have a tomato cage around them and the hope is that the leaves grow up the tomato cage and the fruit stays accessible at the bottom. Worth a try. Then the green peppers are going to be planted in between where there is just a lot of mulch right now. In the background you can four rows of corn in the other bed as well as some tomatoes.
Well, that’s my garden this year! I am hoping it produces lots of vegetables and fruit!
LOVELY – thanks so much for sharing your photos and methods! I’ve recently discovered Garden-Share.com and am having a blast corresponding with other veggie gardeners. I love your raised beds and now I want to try my hand at those Costa Riccan red peppers!
They just came in today!!!!! I cannot wait to put them in the ground! I am picking strawberries today and will be cutting broccoli!