May 12′ update

The garden has been going in slowly this year.  We didn’t have an all out assault on cleaning out our raised beds and tilling,  but a more gradual, come to it and do it approach.  Clean it, amend it and plant it.  I like the new attitude.  It doesn’t feel like everything is an overwhelming chore.

 What a difference a couple of weeks can make.  The greenhouse has been thinned out of most of the starts we had.  Unfortunately there was a night stalker of seed and seedling that took its toll on our flats.  An offending pair of mice have been eliminated.  I’m sure there is more that would like to participate but they have not made their acquaintance with the traps.

 The beets and beans are all coming out strong so far.  Most of these pictures were taken around the 12th of May.  I’m planning on making the arches a home for our greens during the summer.  The beans will provide a dappled sunscreen that should keep things a bit cooler.

I planted several raised rows of potatoes this year.  The first attempt at this method last year was fairly successful.  Last year I simply laid the seed potato on the ground and covered them with layers of straw and compost as they grew.  It made harvest fairly easy in that all the spuds were up in the layers. I had used some panels that had been cut in half lengthwise to retain the bed.  This year I’m trying a little different approach.  I tilled my rows and planted the seed potato as I normally have in the past.  Since we started our garden here potatoes have not done well in our clay.  Many would just rot from sitting in too much water.  We have been slowly building up our plot amending and slowly working those amendments down into the clay.  This year I think that we are at a point where planting down won’t cause a “clay pot” effect where everything drowns after a heavy rain.

 I am really enjoying getting to know my new tiller.  It does such a killer job of preparing a seed bed.  I went beet crazy planting four long rows in addition to the raised beds and two shorter rows I had already put in.  Theresa has already informed me that I will have some purple fingers come time for canning.  I love her pickled beets!

 I’ve got 56 tomatoes in the ground so far.  Cherokee Purple, Brandywine and Mortgage Lifters are in. There are still some different varieties in the greenhouse, that we started late from our trip to Baker Creek.   This row will be trained on the panels.  I have the Cherokee Purples on concrete wire cages.

I’ve planted nearly nine rows of a bicolor sweet corn this year.   I’m really enjoying getting to know my tiller.  It’s so cool to be able to steadily run it between rows to help keep the weeds down.  My old rear tine would just bounce all over the damn place.  This machine stays on the course I set as long as a rock doesn’t decide to jump out in front of me.

Swiss chard and our broccoli are on the table nightly now.  This stuff makes me grin widely!

 It won’t be too much longer before the beans will have the arches covered.  Our strawberries have really done poorly this spring.  I think next year we will move our beds to where the cabbage and broccoli are pictured here.



  1. Ron said,

    May 19, 2012 at 7:56 AM

    Your garden is looking awesome!I'm taking a more measured approach to getting the garden in this year, too, and it sure is nice not to feel burnt out by mid-May!I have yet to find the perfect combination for taters here… heavy mulch with shallow planting seems to work the best, if I can beat the rodents to them…You are going to talk me into getting a BCS eventually. šŸ™‚

  2. Ed said,

    May 19, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    I'm taking the extremely measured approach. Thus far I have watched my volunteer garlic grow and watered them once. Had I knew earlier that summer would roll around and I would still be living here, I might have taken a less measured approach and actually planted something.

  3. Jill said,

    May 19, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    Beautiful garden! I discovered your blog when I googled trellising with cattle panels. My hubby wants to trellis tomatoes and squash – have you done either with success? Some places I've read suggest trellising butternut rather than acorn squash. Others say they have good luck with tomatoes. It's worth a try, as we could conserve some space, allowing us to grow more in our 30×40 foot garden, with another small probably 10×10 foot patch. Thanks for any advice you might have.

  4. Woody said,

    May 20, 2012 at 3:49 AM

    Ron…I did the panel hoops for our sweet potato the last few years. That method worked fairly well, plus I end up putting a loader bucket of compost per hoop in areas that needed the compost and had a bit of a low spot. Even the grade, amend and get a crop of sweet taters. I figured that the same should work for the taters. I also hate to not use things that I have agreed to bring home (cattle panels cut in half).The BCS has won my heart.Ed..tough to get excited about garden plans when you're not sure of where or when you will land.Jill…I use the panels for tomatoes too. The arches are wonderful for green beans. The only thing I don't like about using panels to trellis larger fruiting vines is that the fruit needs to be supported somehow. I've seen nylons, onion sacks, socks and small squares of old deer netting used as slings for squash on a trellis. I have used the arch for cucumbers. Can't tell you if it would have worked well or not. All my cucs were a total failure that year.

  5. karl said,

    May 20, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    we have had intermittent luck using cattle panels for everything. things were so different from year to year it made empirical findings impossible. I do like a row of bean arches, they almost always succeeded.

  6. Woody said,

    May 20, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Karl…Thanks to you for the arch inspiration. We won't ever do green beans any other way now. I will be trying a few more variations of trellis on different plantings this year.

  7. Carolyn said,

    May 21, 2012 at 4:28 AM

    Lushness! Pure beautiful lushness. You surely have green thumbs.

  8. Woody said,

    May 21, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Thanks Carolyn. We're learning from some of the best.

  9. Robin said,

    May 22, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Boy oh boy, your garden looks fantastic!!! We have been slowly working at our garden too and enjoying the slow and steady approach. Lee is loving his new BCS tiller and it has really helped us get more beds in and keep weeds down. We have rain fore-casted till Friday so we are kicking our heels at the moment.

  10. Woody said,

    May 22, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Robin…Thanks! I have a serious crush on my tiller. I ran it between the corn rows the other day. It does in minutes what took me all day with the hoe.I wish we could get a bit of that rain. Other than a half inch on Sunday we have been dry for the better part of two weeks.

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