After another disappointing year with the vegetables in the raised beds, I have decided to plant flowers and make a little cutting garden of sorts. (Literally the best producer I had was the volunteer tomato plant by the raspberry bushes.) Here’s my inspiration:
Echinacea, sunflower tower, climbing roses, and lavender
Clockwise: The raspberries are spreading magnificently.
This one has some turnips and radishes growing in one row. The rest is a weedy mess. I need to pull the weeds and this will be where the tomatoes, and more beans are planted this weekend.
This one has some turnips and radishes, cucumbers, zucchini, and bush beans growing.
We have had so much rain that I have no need for the soaker hose, and I can hardly keep up with the weeding. So around the edges of these raised beds are especially bad. I went to the farmer’s market last weekend, and it seems most people are leaps and bounds ahead of me (some had tomatoes and zucchini, but it was mostly potatoes, greens, onions and strawberries). With the mild and rainy spring we’ve had, everyone who got their garden in early seems to be thriving. How does your garden grow?
It might be frightfully cold outside right now, but it hasn’t stopped me from garden planning and spring dreaming. Our beds are about 7′ x 10′ and we have two of them, so I want to maximize space yet not overpack and inhibit growing. (that, and watering more are my biggest garden mistakes)
I like to get seeds here. I also plan to invest in a new soaker hose and weird plastic owl. And try a diy project or two- a cage to protect the strawberries and some stepping stones. (like this, but less expensive since I want a handful of them).
Last weekend, we cleaned up some of the outdoor pots and raised beds.
In the raised beds, we pulled out our teepees and tomato cages, and the ropes on the vine frame. Then pulled/mowed down all the overgrown weeds. We still need to till and fertilize and cover for the winter, but it was a nice start to at least get rid of the eyesore that was the raised beds.
We emptied the outdoor pots that were fried and added some pansies around the house. Depending on the severity of the winter, we can usually keep those alive until spring. Especially in pots that I can bring close to the house when it gets below freezing.
I repotted the eucalyptus into a larger pot and brought inside. It was parched and my hope is to nurse it back to life over the winter. I’ve put it in a sunny location so it will receive lots of sunshine, yet hopefully stay in a more temperate environment so it can regain health.
And our kale is growing stronger! I might move this to the back of the house for more sunshine as the weather gets cooler, but we are still receiving high 70’s/ very sunny days so they will stay in the front of the house, on the shady side, for the next month or two.
This year’s home garden was a learning experience for me. With two raised beds and a handful of containers, we didn’t harvest very much at all this year, and especially during June and July when the weather was its most brutal.
Top reasons it went wrong:
- Too much variety. A handful of beans or peas isn’t worth the effort.
- Not enough weed control.
- Not enough water. Planting too close combined with no rain and few sprinkler sessions meant very little growth.
- Growing lavender or rosemary from seed was too hard. The small seedlings always died after transplant.
- Bunnies (and possibly my dog) ate my berries and nibbled on my tomatoes.
- Cucumbers didn’t vine up the trellis. I think they were planted too far from the trellis.
- Teepees failed. My wooden teepees were too big for the peas to vine. And as you can see in the photo above, my bamboo teepees were too weak to properly hold my tomatoes and withstand summer storms.
Hopefully we can learn a better way and overcome these obstacles next year.
Fried is the garden theme this month… and not fried in the good way.
We received so little rain in the month of June that just about everything dried up. We are basically only getting some tomatoes now, amid the crabgrass. My family’s garden is doing better, and they are supplying us with a steady stream of berries, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, peppers and corn. And I continue to return to the farmer’s market for beans and honey.
Last weekend, I weeded and planted the pumpkins where the peas were in the spring. And I set up the sprinkler so that I could water it all easily in case Mother Nature has other plans.
Our morning glories are green and prolific, but no blooms so far. Maybe they will only bloom in the second year? The raspberries are also growing well. One of the “trees” didn’t transplant well, but the other 3 have spread out.
We discussed taking out the corner apple tree that has rust, and re-discussed planting a perennial bed in the corner. (Meaning I asked my husband to do it, and he told me it was too hot.) Maybe we can start a little in the fall on my plans with some bulbs and taking the apple tree out, and spreading some other flowers from a friend in the spring? That was the middle of the road plan we’re walking down now.
What are your favorite low maintenance (high sun) perennials? I’m thinking coneflower with some tiger lilies.
We’ve had little rain and lots of sunshine the past couple of weeks, and the weather went from cool 60’s to hot 80’s in a matter of days. I need to weed, but I’m waiting for a good rain to loosen everything up. If it doesn’t happen, I’m going to have to water it with the sprinkler.
Clockwise from top left: We have peas! They do not grow well on the teepee we built but I have enough for a small stir fry. The red onions are doing well; maybe one or two are ready now. This is my first time growing bulb onions and my husband loves them. The strawberries are spreading, but something is eating them as soon as they turn red. I need to create a cover for them. Radishes and Turnips have been pulled out and tomatoes are growing in that area now. I’m going to try to grow cucumbers vertically on the big rectangular trellis. We’ll see; so far it’s slow growing.
We created a trellis out of this old wire fence of my late grandfather’s. The moonflower and morning glories haven’t quite reached up, but I think it will be really pretty once it does.
The raspberries are growing well and we’ve had a couple of red ones. I have a feeling it will need a year or two before we have any real output from those plants. I am trying to train them on the wire trellis also.
The other raised bed has mostly beans and tomatoes. The beans are growing on the back teepees and the large rectangular trellis. The tomatoes on the front few teepees. There’s one squash plant over to the far left that’s doing well. I plan to plant some bush beans in the left area after I weed thoroughly this weekend.We will have some sunflowers growing on either side of the large rectangular trellis. We planted it on both raised beds, but they only came up on this side.