Thursday, June 11, 2015

Garden 2015: Go Big or Go Home

About a month ago, I planted a vegetable garden in my backyard. Then came a great flood.

Usually I'm very quick on my freshly planted garden post, because you obviously love dirt photos and it lets me know what I planted where. It's proven helpful to have an online garden journal from the last five seasons {click the garden tab above to see what I mean}. I was a blogging slacker last month, but I can also blame this procrastination on the rain. Records were set, rivers were flooded, and my garden was a mud pit. It might not have been so bad in my raised beds, but this year, we went big.

We talked for a few years about abandoning my precious square-foot gardening system and tearing up a plot. This year, the IRS sent a refund and we cashed it in for a tiller and made it happen. We took out the raised beds that contained tomatoes and peppers last year, and replaced it with a 25x30-foot garden. My math isn't the best, but we now have something like 500 square feet more planting space. Veggies for all!

Since you've been waiting with bated breath for me to share the story of planting day, I'll wait no longer. Facebook tells me the tomato and pepper plants went in on May 14. We tried to wait for the ground to dry out, but ended up plopping the delicate stems in mud. The tomatoes are thriving beautifully now that the sun has arrived. This year we have 12 plants versus our usual 6 {I predict this gets overwhelming}. I stuck with tried-and-true varieties: Arkansas Traveler, Super Fantastic, Early Girl, and Cherokee Purple, and there are already baby tomatoes of every type. The peppers didn't like the cool, wet May and we lost a couple plants. Jonathan bought a few replacement bells and hopefully they'll fit right in now that the heat is on. We have three jalapenos, three yellow bells, and {fingers crossed} four green bells. Again, a bit of a bigger reach than my typical planting of six.

{Not Labeled: Weeds and grass. It's a work in progress, friends.}

A few days before we got those plants in the ground, we sowed seeds in long, semi-straight rows. The sunflowers, cucumbers, okra, and green beans popped right up in the rain and have exploded in the heat and sun. The 15 feet of cucumber plants are already blooming and climbing the trellis and the sunflowers {a new crop this year} are already taller than the tomatoes. This garden is full of promise. Promise for delicious summer meals, promise for a lot more work, promise for even more backyard beauty, and promise to keep friends and family fully stocked.

If the sun keeps shining and rain comes occasionally, there will be a ton of tomatoes, a basket of beans, and a crate of cucs for you. Hit me up if you want some! There's my belated planting post. How does your garden grow?

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Unknown said...

We should have planted cucumbers! My grandpa claimed he was letting us take over the garden this year, and it didn't happen. Maybe next year I'll get my squash and watermelon.

Georgeanne | Southern Fried Soprano said...

I have officially harvested 2x the amount of produce I did last year. And it's only June 12! I love looking at garden set-ups. Mine looks so pitiful compared to yours. I tried square-foot gardening last year and I liked the concept since I had such limited space, but because of me having to surround my raised bed with chicken wire, it's not the best way for me here, it seems (at least as long as Mr. Chipmunk and Rabbit are in residence).

I don't know if I'm just a year wiser or what, but everything is doing so much better than last season. My peppers are especially happy--even the ones that got CHOMPED on by bunnies and I thought would never recover. It's exciting. I just want something to come by and pollinate my squash (and my cukes--got the first flower on those today! YAY!).

Jessica Bauer said...

Karen, you can still put in some seeds if you want to, especially melons and squash - they love to start in the heat and hopefully the floods are gone. Might be worth a try! :) I didn't plant either one so I can't help you out there.

And Georgeanne I don't know why I got lucky but as far as I can see I've never had issues with munching. Deer tracks yes, but they don't seem interested in eating anything. Yet, at least. And I know this sounds RIDICULOUS, but you can hand-pollinate your squash with a paint brush if your bees aren't around, but I bet some show up and help you out.