2014 Gardens – Mid-season
Last year, I had three raised beds that I did my best to completely fill! The bed on the left is mainly corn, carrots, beets, and tomatoes. I planted a cucumber in there too, but it never really took off.
They ended up over 10 feet tall! And as you can see from the picture, the huge heads bent them over and they were still over 8 feet!
I’m growing them again this year too. Only this time, I’m planting more of them and I’m putting them along the fence. Who wants to see the inside of a privacy fence anyway?
The bed on the right is actually my most southern positioned bed. I planted melon, corn, pumpkin, potatoes, tomatoes, and even some wildflowers in this bed. The corn was a lot shorter than the corn in the north bed. The melon didn’t grow well at all and only flowered a couple times. There was one fruit that set and when we ate it, it was really bitter!
The tomatoes struggled. I was able to harvest several, but they were late in the season and not very big.
The biggest producer in this lot was the pumpkin! It took over the bed and then started escaping across the yard! From now on, melons and pumpkins get their own area where they can spread all they want!
My biggest pest problem of the season was squash bugs! They were all over the pumpkin vines and I think that’s what slowed down the tomatoes too.
The lessons I learned?
- I prefer to spread out my gardens! Square foot gardening might work for some, but I tend to over do it! Too many varieties of plants in one spot and I get lost. I found myself pulling plants that I thought were weeds when actually I had planted them there myself!
- So many plants so close together encourages pests. Take the squash bugs as an example. They were all over the pumpkin plant and some were on the tomato plants. They really didn’t do that much damage, at least from what I could see. Some of the pumpkins were a bit scarred and a few were lost because the vine collapsed. But for the most part, they were just really gross bugs to look at and made me not want to reach my hand into the vine to pick the fruit!
- It’s hard to keep track of what is planted where and when to harvest.
- I still don’t have companion planting down. While some of the plants in the beds were beneficial, others weren’t. I tried to keep them separated by at least a couple of feet, but I don’t think that’s good enough.
The bottom line is this, I need more beds. Or at least more areas to plant in.
So today, being the first full day of spring, I have decided to get out and play in the yard. I sent Bill to the hardware store for many, many bags of garden soil to add to our existing beds. By the way, if you notice in the pictures, the beds are taller this year and they have a seat! Thank you Bill for building them up and adding that seat! Of course, that means that they need lots and lots of dirt added. Which is why Bill was sent to get it.
After several hours and 30 forty-pound bags later, this is now my blank slate! I still have more beds to create. Somewhere. But for now, my main three are ready to be planted!
The middle bed, since it’s going to be my perennial bed, already has some sage coming back!
As you can see, there is some new growth intermixed with the dry and dead stuff from last year.
We added two new additions to the yard last fall as well! We planted two small peach trees at the south end of the beds. I will post pictures of them once they get all leafed out so you can actually see them instead of the scenery behind them! But, as a teaser, this is how they are starting out!
I think this has been a VERY productive first full day of Spring! I just hope I’m still able to move on Monday!