Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Vegetable Garden is Started!

Lately I've been working on getting everything up and running with my vegetable garden. I followed the raised bed layout I made and filled the beds several weeks ago. I've already planted lettuce, tomatoes, marigolds, peppers, beans, cucumbers, watermelon, catmint, and squash. In the picture to the right you can see the little cucumber sprouts popping up through the soil. They've been interplanted with the tomatoes.

The peppers and tomatoes I started from seed were more than ready for the garden a week ago. I used the system you see in the picture to start many of my seeds this year. I had a very high germination rate. The only vegetables I start indoors are the tomatoes and peppers, the rest I plant directly in the garden.


Some of those plants should probably have waited a week or so, like the squash and watermelon, but since the weather has been so warm and I'm planting in raised beds I decided to go ahead and plant what I could. One of the advantages to raised beds is that the soil warms up faster which allows you to plant certain plants sooner.

I am trying to use companion planting techniques to help fend off unwanted insects and improve the yield of the plants. The marigolds are a good companion plant to deter various insects. The catmint (Nepeta) is good as a pest deterrent also but this batch won't be staying in the vegetable garden. It will eventually be transplanted to the ring around our garden and maybe some other places in the yard. I may add some basil in with the tomatoes since they are just a natural fit, or at least they are in my spaghetti sauce!

This past week I had to add a new feature to protect it from rabbits, a fence. It's not the most attractive fence and I would much rather have wood with pickets but it will do for now. This fence will double as a trellis for many other plants.




In the far bed you can see where I have planted beans. I put together a makeshift trellis (Is it really makeshift if it works?) out of a sliding glass door window grid and a few bamboo stakes. I weaved the stakes through the frame and stuck them in the dirt and there was an instant bean trellis. In the closest bed I planted the catmint on the lower edge and marked it off with some twine. I'm not sure yet what to put in the rest of the bed but I'll come up with something! In the corner bed I have lettuce and radishes planted. The lettuce is coming up pretty good and some should be ready in a week or two for the dinner table. It's a Romain mixture. You can see several different color mixtures in the leaves. After all, who likes a boring salad?

In the next picture you get a bird's eye view of the garden. If you look over to the left side of the fence you can see a spot of dirt I've cleared of grass. I planted some sunflower seeds there with some zinnias. They are the beginning of the circular bed. Now imagine a bed with various perennials (like salvia and Russian sage) and annuals ringing around the outside of the bed with an herb garden at the gate and a nice picket fence keeping the garden neatly in bounds. I'll be working on the ring bed and herb garden as I can this year but the fence will have to wait. Money doesn't grow on trees, but if it did you can bet I'd be propagating a few!

11 comments :

  1. Looks like you are off to a terrific start!! Good luck!!!

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  2. I like the layout you describe -- efficient and beautiful!

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  3. It has been fun watching your raised beds be developed and now they are being planted. Shame on Mr Bunny and Ms Bunny their offspring (surely to come) for messing with this plan (earlier post of about bad bunnies). Hopefully the fence will work.

    Gail

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  4. Jen-o-topia in TNApril 27, 2008 at 7:41 AM

    Dave, thanks for sharing pics of your progress. Yesterday we put up rabbit fence too ~ and after past experiences I will probably go out today and use metal garden staples along the bottom of the fence so the naughty buggers don't squeeze under.

    What sort of irrigation do you use out there? I am doing a 30' x 40' veggie garden this year, and I am getting ready to lay soaker lines along the rows so I don't have to stand out there in July with a hose. By late summer I know I'd rather be munching tomatoes on the patio and watching the garden water itself!

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  5. I really do like your plan of flowers along the outside of the garden! Great idea!

    It appears you are going in a circle. How will you make a circular Wood Picket fence?

    You are off to a great start!

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  6. Can't wait to see how it all develops!

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  7. Hi Dave, I love the idea of the large circular bed and the flowers you have chosen. Your vision is exquisite and you are on the right track, doing what you can as you can. How very exciting! Your lettuce is so pretty too.

    Frances at Faire Garden

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  8. Calendula is another good companion plant and is very pretty. Can I just ask why your raised beds appear to be in the middle of a field?

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  9. Thanks all!

    Jen-O,

    I have two 25' soaker hoses ready to go that I plan on connecting together through a smaller hose to bridge the two L shaped beds. Those will be connected to the house faucet except when I have to mow. It sounds like you will have a big garden!

    Skeeter,

    It will probably end up more like an octagon with the picket fence. I'll just use a miter saw to set the cross pieces and hammer in the pickets.

    Frances,

    Thanks for the compliment, I'm not sure I'd say exquisite just yet though, we'll see how it comes together!

    PG,

    It's really just in the backyard. To the left of the picture over about 25 feet are the field lines so I can't plant vegetables over them. And to the right there is a slope that would make things difficult to garden on. I suppose with raised beds it could be done fairly easily but I would need a different design and mowing around the garden on a slope would be difficult. It was just the best location I had. Over time it should decrease the area I have to mow.

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  10. I like the way your raised beds are doing. Keep us up to date with their growth. Looks like you have a really neat idea there for the end results.
    I really like the bird's eye view. Where were you standing, on top of the house. lol Great shot.

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  11. Your garden is going to look great when all in bloom and growing! Can't wait to see it!

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