Planning Ahead
May 8, 2015, 8:50 pm
Filed under: May 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,
Renovating the old strawberry bed

Renovating the old strawberry bed

May 8, 2015

I built these nicely raised beds for gardening in my old age. We plant our strawberries in one bed and garden vegetables in the other. We keep the strawberries in each bed for a total of three years. During the off years, we grow our vegetables like green beans, salad greens, carrots and any other veggie that is hard on the back when picking 😮

Once we pull out the old strawberry plants, we add topsoil and compost to raise the bed from it settling. The compost enriches the soil. The crop rotation done by swapping our veggies around, keeps our plants healthy. Strawberries are in the nightshade family as are tomatoes and potatoes, for this reason we don’t plant the close relatives in succession of each other.

I can see, perhaps one day in our future, planting sweet corn in these beds just to break up the growing cycle, confuse the bad bugs and have some ears to brag about. I would have to pick the ears with a step ladder, unless they blew over, but wow would they be healthy plants! This compost soil mix makes plants thrive. We grow vegetables in abundance.

I plan to make some “covered wagon bows” to turn my raised beds into high tunnels. These little greenhouses will provide food for us for at least nine months out of the year. I have too much to do with the farm for now, but I am sure one day, these two beds will become awesome food factories. It will give plenty to do, keep me out of trouble and provide us food to boot!

Raised Bed gardening
April 28, 2015, 7:45 pm
Filed under: April 2015 | Tags: , , ,
Our garden entrance

Our garden entrance

April 28, 2015

This garden space was once used completely. Now, there are not so many of us, so the whole space is not needed. I arranged these raised beds to be able to mow in between and around the ends. I can drive down through the garden to hoe, harvest or add compost when needed. The added height will dry us out sooner and make our wet, cold springs less of a concern. It will also be easy to root zone water when needed.

I like the new look. I am sure that I can raised plenty of food for the two of us. The one side of the garden I left so it can be plowed and used for things like potatoes and sweet corn. Who knows ? I may one day only use the raised bed system and add more. This season will be our first with this set up. We do have two raised beds of strawberries. Those beds are thirty inches high, so no bending over to pick berries.

I hope this makes for easy gardening as I age 😮  I used to focus so hard on gardening that I almost took the fun out of it. I hate weeds and enjoy a clean, neat garden. I have enough to do without obsessing over a few weeds. I hope that I can stay just as focused, but in these smaller spaces, spend far less time hoeing. I think this will be fun.

I am considering small high tunnels to be used in conjunction with the raised beds. This will extend my gardening season on both ends. I think by having soaker hose to water when needed, along with the warmer soil, I can continue to raise award-winning produce, but with half the effort! I also plan to create beds for a blueberry patch, some herbs, asparagus, and some thornless blackberry bushes. In short, I’m just going to have fun with this space.

I am planning to grow concord grapes up the entrance arbor. We just want enough to make jelly and to see the nice arbor. I have planted rhubarb and onions so far, It is fun to plan for the upcoming season as well as planning for the future. This will make for a great space to spend a few hours each week once I retire. I figure if I plant it now, there may be something to see by then 😮

The best part of this project is that more than two thirds of the material was left over from other jobs or salvaged. The dirt was left over from the building of my son’s house. Compost will be applied and mixed in once we clean the manure storage area this spring. I want the very best stuff for these beds. I like it when you plant seeds then have to step back quickly, so the growing plants don’t knock your hat off !

Here we grow!

Here we grow!