Garden Plans for This Year
We are in the process of preparing our raised bed vegetable garden to plant again this year. It is to early to plant many summer vegetables in our area for a few more weeks, but we are getting the soil and in ground garden area ready. We will wait until the last threat of frost has passed, probably mid April before we plant. Even then we will not be planting tomatoes until mid to late May, when the soil is warm.
A Raised Bed Isn’t For Everything
After we built the raised bed we wanted more space for beans, peas, butter beans and more squash. So we plowed up a spot next to the raised bed.
Unfortunately, as with most new projects you have to live and learn. We made several mistakes last year that taught us valuable lessons, and we will not make those same mistakes again. We will get busy and make new mistakes this summer so we can share them with you along the way.
Our Handy List of Garden Do Not’s:
- Do not plant too many plants and do not put them to close together. We planted 24 tomato plants in a 4 X 16 raised bed. We had a good crop of tomatoes to eat, but the plants took over the entire bed by August.
- Pinch the suckers off the tomato plants and stake the plants with something other than stakes and twine. (We do not have a great suggestion as yet as to what we will do this year for tomato stakes. We do know we will not use twine method again, however.) The twine sagged and as the plants got bigger they fell in on each other. Something we did learn is that you must keep tying the plants to the stake and continue to de-sucker as they grow. We didn’t know what was being referred to when we heard about removing the suckers. The suckers are the tiny shoot of new growth just above a leaf branch. If they are not pinched off they produce another branch out to the side. This is what causes the plant to spread out rather than grow up. Note: the suckers when they are removed can be placed in a container of soil, and they will sprout and make more plants.
- Plant zucchini in the ground and not in the raised bed. Though we only planted 2 plants, the leaves were huge and shaded out the other plants around it. We got only a few squash from the plants. We have always heard people say they couldn’t give away all the zucchini they grew, that was not the case with us. The same goes for the straight neck yellow squash, they have huge leaves and make big plants, but we did have a bunker crop of yellow squash last summer.
- Do no put chicken manure in the soil if you will be planting tomatoes. We over fertilized the raised bed and had them too rich, plus we had a very wet summer which is most unusual for our zone#8. The combination of the too much fertilizer and too much water caused all our plants to have a great deal more foliage than fruit.
Flowers! Flowers! Everywhere
Here are some of my hydrangeas. I rooted all of these. The blue ones are just plain old mopheads. The pink one came from my neighbor next door. It has a much stronger stem and the leaf is more structured. The flowers go from pink into deep purple all on the same plant.
This plant is a lace cap hydrangea. I bought the original plant some years ago and took the cuttings from it over the first few years. The original plant ultimately died, but the cuttings have survived, as you can see.
A Few More of My Favorite Garden Things
Cochise made me a path from the deck out to the raised bed and garden area of our back yard. Here are some of the things I see as I go out to visit our garden, or gather vegetables, or just step out during the day to see how much the garden has grown, which we do numerous times during the day. Did you know that you can actually see the garden growth from early morning to mid afternoon on a hot sunny summer day?
I hope you find our pictures as pleasant and beautiful as we do.