Thursday, April 29, 2010
600 Pounds of Top Soil Later...
This last weekend I got the garden up to readiness and then in the evening on Sunday got to planting. I had built the two newer boxes, and plotted a third box up top the week before. I started out this weekend by building the last of my raised beds for the year, and it ended up being absolutely huge, probably the largest single box I have in all. My post title is no joke, filling up the new boxes and mixing in some fresh dirt with last year's boxes, I ended up using fifteen 40-pound bags of top soil, yeah, six hundred pounds of soil!
The newest raised bed
zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, and more
It may look like a lot of wasted space in here with that tiny little plant, but this year I'm going with many more seeds than I did last year. The small plant is zucchini, and on the far left are my cucumber seeds. In the middle will be some Japanese eggplant if I can find some. If not, I don't know what else will go in here. Between the cucumbers and zucchini though, they may end up taking over most of this box as it is. I'd like to add at least one more veggie.
the staggered beds from last year, plus the new ones
hot banana peppers (front), cayenne peppers (middle), jalapeño peppers (top)
You can tell from the wood this may be the last year I get out of these landscape timbered beds. Trying to fix the middle box, two of the timbers just crumbled away in my hands so I had to put in a makeshift dirt dam. The jalapeño plants up top are heirloom seeds.
green bell peppers, red bell peppers, carrots, and basil
Here's the new bed I was building in the last post (with all the safety violations). I really intended on just making the one bed up front, but kind of just lucked out with the triangular bed in the back. It'll be hard to reach that one, so that's where the basil is going. Have you priced green or red peppers at the store lately? I have, and that's why this year I've made sure to put at least three of each out here. The carrots (can't see the seeds here) were just kind of a lark, but hopefully they'll turn out, but if not I won't hold it against them.
beefsteak and roma tomatoes
I mentioned last week that my tomatoes were out of control the year before. Out of control in a good way mind you, but they were impossible to manage. This year I'm not going to stake them, but use these cages. Also, instead of eight plants of a bunch of different types, I'm going with just two types; roma and beefsteak. Beefsteak tomatoes are great for salads and for slicing. They're also considered 'indeterminate', meaning they'll yield all season long. They're not your classic round shape, but that's okay, some of the uglier veggies are the tastiest. I have two cages of those. The last type, the romas, are smaller, firmer, and less juicy. These I am growing with the express purpose of salsa making. They're easier to cut up and scoop out, plus they won't over-water your salsa in the long run if it sits overnight.
I learned about tomatoes the most from last year's garden, so that's where the biggest change is, but I'm actually doing a lot of things differently this year. As you can see from last year's initial garden, I've more than doubled its size but still kept it fairly small overall. I've also doubled, maybe tripled, my vegetable variety with a better understanding on root growth and the like. I shouldn't have the overcrowding problems I did either with the way I've laid things out. This year I also took care in what specific types of plants I put out there and kept a mind towards acquiring heirloom seeds and the like. We'll see how it turns out!