Monday, June 8, 2009

In the garden

We finally got the vegetable gardens fully planted this weekend! I found myself wandering around feeling accomplished today looking at the weedless, tidy rows, the artful arrangement of tomato plants, the end result of many deliberations over where to plant what in which raised broken-concrete-lined raised bed.

Seedlings in the raised beds:
1 "Early Girl" tomato
1 "Better Boy" tomato
1 "Oregon Spring" tomato
11 (!) tomato seedlings of unknown variety, possibly all "Yellow Pear"
1 each yellow and green zucchini
3 "Small Sugar" pumpkins
1 "Thelma Sanders" winter squash
3/4 of a flat of yellow onion seedlings

Seeds sewn in the raised beds:
1 packet "Detroit Red" beets (Ed Hume, 2009)
1/2 packet "Bright Lights" swiss chard (Livingston Seed Co., 2009)
1 packet SP775 "Correnta Hybrid" summer spinach (Territorial, 2008)
1 packet HR1054 sweet basil (Territorial, 2008)
1 packet HR1150/S dill (Territorial, 2008)
1 packet FL2432 "Beneficial Bug Mix" flower seeds (divided between two beds)

Our "big garden" is 40' (N-S) by 25' (W-E), and now contains:
6 half-rows (W-E) each of "Golden Jubilee" and "Bodacious" corn (bulk seed from Kaija's, Centralia)
2 rows "Blue Lake" pole beans (bulk, Kaija's)
4 hills of "Carnival" winter squash (1 seedling per hill)
15 pickling cucumber seedlings in one long hill, planted three to a group
1 row, 3 seedlings each of "Premium Crop" and "Packman" broccoli
1 row, 3 seedlings each of "Cheddar Orange" and "Graffiti" (purple) cauliflower

Given the skill and stealth of last year's marauding birds, this year we preventatively installed bird netting across all six rows of corn. We're trying something else new, too: soaker hoses for the beans and corn, left behind by previous homeowners. Our only outdoor faucets are attached to the front and back of the house, which makes watering a challenge (especially when we use the same hose to water the "big garden" and keep the cattle troughs full - I will be locating and installing some "quick connects" at the suggestion of a friend!).

Last year our overhead sprinkling wasted a lot of water, I'm sure, and also likely contributed to the mass quantities of veggie-choking weeds in that garden. Our system is imperfect, given that soaker hoses make great sense for the rows of corn and beans, but little sense at all for spaced out seedlings of our other vegetables. Right now we're hand watering those; talk to me on day 10, when I'm sure I'll be quite sick of that. I did move an empty water jug that we found in the barn into the garden and filled it this morning, so that keeps the trecking back and forth to the house down, but only slightly cuts down the overall inconvenience of the situation. We are using an overhead sprinkler in the raised bed area, but that hose doesn't reach far enough so the furthest beds are missed or barely watered. If Paul can fix the non-working outdoor spigots on the side of the garage to work, our 100' hose will stretch further and allow us to move the sprinkler further toward the middle of the garden, ensuring ample water for all.

Now comes the least fun part of vegetable gardening - weeding!

Looking south toward the raised garden. Large plants are existing rhubarbs, oregano, pear tree and barberry shrubs.

Looking north through the "big garden."


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