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Friday, June 13, 2008

Gardening Update: So far, so good.....

After a rough start in which my garden got zapped twice by frost, things are looking up. We went from a frost on Memorial Day to temperatures in the 90s this past week! Most of the vegetables I planted love hot weather so things have started to take off. I wonder if they didn't get a little shocked with the sudden change though....

So, let's take a little tour around the garden.

Here's a shot showing the hopefully adequate fence we put up. A determined animal could certainly get past or under this fence, but we hope it deters most of the wild critters out there. I have seen an itty bitty baby bunny in the fenced-in area, but they grow fast and I figure he/she won't be able to fit through it too much longer. .I also had to remove the plastic plant tags that reminded me of the different varieties of tomatoes because the crows kept coming in and scattering them about the garden. Hopefully I will remember what is what!

garden fence

My plan is to build lasagna gardens all along the fence to hide it and eliminate the need to mow or weed whack near it. It will take quite a while to build that many beds, but it will be fun to intermix some flowers into the garden. I might even make use of the fence and try growing climbing vegetables like peas.

I've started to mulch the plants with straw. Another thing to love about lasagna gardening is that whatever you choose to mulch with simply becomes another layer of the garden! I've chosen straw since it's easily available and provides a cleanish, dry surface for the any produce that might be growing on or near the ground.

Lasagna Garden Beds

Two of my cherry tomato plants got zapped by frost. They looked pretty bad, but I thought they might have just enough greenery intact to survive...

Frostbitten Cherry Tomato Plant

...Check it out! They seem to have recovered nicely:

Recovered cherry tomato plants

Two of the Pink Brandywine also got zapped...

Frost nipped Brandywine

...but are looking much better these days:

Pink Brandywine

I forgot to include one of the tomato plants I planted. This is a watermelon beefsteak. I really know nothing at all about the heirloom tomatoes I planted, but I'm guessing this one might produce some BIG tomatoes.

Watermelon Beefsteak

Remember the slightly sickly Yellow Taxi?

Yellow Taxi Tomato

Looking better:

Yellow Taxi recovered

The cucumbers got lightly zapped too.....

Frost nipped cucumber

...but are making a comeback. The largest one was a just-in-case plant I got to have in case the others didn't make it. If they all produce, we'll be swamped with cucumbers!

Cucumbers

Remember that frost bitten and discarded zucchini plant I plucked off the compost pile?

Salvaged Zucchini Plant

It's doing quite well now:

recovered zucchini

The pepper plants look okay, but not great - a little yellowed. Not sure what to expect since I've only ever planted them once and I think they got trampled by bunnies. I read a suggestion to cover the soil with a black barrier because peppers like it really hot. That was easy enough to do, so I'm giving it a try.

pepper plants

The beans are up and coming along. I left 3 spots with two plants growing together and 3 spots where I thinned them back to just one plant. I figured I'd experiment and see what works best.

Green Beans

The basil is a bit worrisome. It's hard to see in these photos, ,but they look a little yellowed with some brown spots on the leaves. Not quite sure what's going on here, but I suspect it might be too windy for the basil. I don't know of many spaces around our house that are NOT windy, so if wind is the culprit, I'm not quite sure what I'll do. I'll have to scout out a place that's sunny enough up close to the house and maybe try growing it in pots again. We'll just have to see how they do.......

basil plants

I have several volunteer plants coming out of the compost. I'm very curious as to what they might be, so I may not be turning my compost this summer! I think I'll just let them grow and see what happens. It will be really hard to mow, but oh well. Based on what we've thrown into the compost, they are mostly likely pumpkins, butternut squash or cucumbers. Anyone care to take a guess?

Volunteers in the compost

Speaking of the compost, this is the one really untidy-looking area of the garden. We have it so that we can't see it from the deck, but I think our neighbors probably can see the pile of garbage bags, so I'm going to try to come up with a plan to make this area a little neater looking. Not that our neighbors ever sit outside to enjoy the weather or our gorgeous views anyway...but still....it would make me feel better to have it looking nice.

Compost area

Well, I think that's it for now. One thing I have definitely learned is to be patient. It's not over until it's over. I've had several plants virtually spring back from the dead, so I will no longer give up on them until they are lying shriveled in the dirt!

The next project that needs to be done sooner rather than later is to figure out how to rig up some sort of soaker hose or drip irrigation so that I can properly water the garden. I can tell you one thing - I get quite a workout dragging the blasted hose all the way down to the garden and back up again! If we had some extra cash lying around, I'd get someone to come out and install a faucet way down yonder. Maybe some day......

7 comments:

  1. alicerh5:17 PM

    Your garden looks like it's thriving. I think your basil will be fine once it gets going in the heat. It needs lots of nitrogen and I fertilize it every other week with fish emulsion. A great place to get a drip system started is to order a catalog from dripworks.com. It is a little intimidating at first but if you need help, let me know.
    Alice

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  2. Alice - Thank you so much for your input, I always enjoy hearing from you. :) I will look into the drip system and the fish emulsion. It's getting pretty dry out here.

    I almost always think my basil is going to bite the dust and I almost always send up with more than I need. I hope this year is no different! I thought the heat would solve things, but they are still not rebounding quite like I thought they would........

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  3. I feel the same baout my basil. It seems to spring back as well.

    I wanted to do your lasgna gardening this year as we were starting our garden at our new house. I got started a bit too late. I ended up pulling up the sod. I have to ask you though. Where is your mulch from? We have a free one from the town but it is difficult to know what is in there. THere are two diff types. One is a very piney smellign one. I thought it would be best not to use this one. The other is from leaves and cut up twigs but I was worried about the amount of weeds I would get if I used it. Any suggestions?

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  4. Hi Lori. The mulch I used looked pretty close to the plain old mulch you'd buy to mulch your landscaping - the kind that comes from sending trees through the shredder. So far I've only used the tree mulch in my pathways though I'm thinking of using it as a first layer in my next beds.

    If you're looking to use it in your lasagna garden, if you think it is heavy in pine, you might not want to use it in your beds or in your compost. From what I've read, pine is something you want to use sparingly because it is highly acidic. I did read that it can be used as a mulch for things that are acid loving like blueberries.

    As for the twigs and leaves - is it chopped up pretty small? I think that you could use this in the lasagna beds, but if the twig pieces are too big, they will take much longer to break down. That might not be a problem though if you add plenty of other organic matter - like chopped leaves and grass - that will break down pretty quickly.

    As for weeds - that could be a problem if it looks like there is other lawn waste mixed in, but if it appears to be just twigs and leaves, you'd probably be okay.

    Oh, and even if you start late, there's no need to pull up the sod. You can build a lasagna bed and plant in it right away. I've not done this - I liked the idea of letting them break down over the winter - but I've read it can be done.

    I'm still very new at this, so take my comments with the smallest grain of salt! ;-)

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  5. thank you for your comments and direction!

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  6. Oh the mountains... I remember that view!

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  7. Lori - You're very welcome.

    Laura - Well, we've been told from folks from CO, that those are NOT mountains. ;) I really missed the varied topography of the east coast when we moved to TX and the midwest. I always felt such a longing when we'd come home - for something other than corn and soy bean fields!!! ;)

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