Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dianne's Journey - Raised Bed Update

Hi Suzanne,

Just thought I'd give you an update on the raised beds. I was harvesting things up until the first of the year, and then it really slowed down until the last week or so. Now I am getting carrots, mustard greens, collards, lettuce, spinach and parsnips. Other things growing in bed #1 are kohlrabi, beets, kale, brussels sprouts and tatsoi (Asian green).

(I'm printing this personal note in green because that's the color I am right now, with envy!)

I have never been able to grow spinach before. This spinach was planted in December, but was soaked overnight in plain water. There seemed to be 100% germination, and I was so pleased. My soil is much better than a year ago, or even six months ago, so I suspect this had something to do with improved germination in addition to the soaking.

Speaking of improved soil, I must tell you about my worms! I have 'em. Last spring I had no noticeable worm population. All summer long whenever I spied a worm in the flowerbed, he went into the raised bed. This fall when the okra and tomatoes were done, I cut them off at ground level and left the roots in the ground. This spring when I cleared out a section to sow seeds, the roots were all entwined with worms. So after this, whenever practical, I will be leaving the roots in the ground. I am now tossing worms into bed #2, which so far has been planted with onions, snow peas and fava beans. I plan on getting a cattle panel for the peas to climb on.  

Garden during a snowfall and low 20's with the Agribon row cover and additional plastic cover.
By the way, re the row cover support…you do not need to space the PVC so close together. In fact, I may remove every other one and put them on bed #2 next winter. I slightly overdid this. Reminds me of a whale skeleton. If you lived in an area with lots of heavy snow the closer spacing would be preferred.

The status last week with onions planted in bed #2.
I planted 6 Brussels sprout plants late last August, and all but one had succumbed to the heat and bugs by the fall. I was tempted to pull it up all winter because it looked so bad…glad I didn't.

The lone surviving Brussels sprout is now thriving
 The beets planted late last summer did not do well. Lots of nice green tops though, so I cooked the tops along with the teeny tiny beets. I planted some beet seeds two weeks ago (having been soaked overnight), and they are already sending up strong shoots. I believe I will have a better crop with the improved soil.

Beets--taste and beauty make up for quantity??
One of many collard harvests this winter
I made vegetable enchiladas and was able to include some garden produce--spinach and cilantro fresh from the garden, and jalapeƱos that I had put in the freezer last summer. I love it when I can go outside and pick things instead of going to the grocery store.

Recipe using garden ingredients (excluding tortilla!)
Suzanne, I have been so encouraged with how things are going. I know there will be problems when the bugs and heat hit, but for now I am basking in success. Again, in the words of that famous gardener…."ain't God good."


(Note:  to see how Dianne started and has been progressing, enter "Dianne's Journey" in the search box on the right.)

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