Saturday, June 4, 2011

Yard and Garden Day!

The sun decided to shine warmly (almost 70) today so it was definitely yardwork time! I had mowed the back yard last Tuesday, the first day of sun after 4 days of rain. That didn't go so well, the grass was still mighty wet!

I mowed the front and side yards this morning, still a little wet, after 3 days of cold and rain. The sun felt so good! The sweat was great! I hadn't broken a sweat working outside since last fall! The yard looks a bit better, still needs another mow tomorrow at a shorter height. This way the long stuff doesn't get all hard and stickery.

JD and I got the boxes together for the two 8' x 3' raised beds and filled one. It took three bags of garden soil, 3 bags of steer compost and several scoops from my huge bag of perlite to fill one 8' x 3' box. This will be pricey to start! I know it will be worth it though.

on 5/29 I planted 4 sq. ft of peas across half the back of the 8 x 3 along with a sq. ft of carrots, one of endive and two of beets and transplanted the broccoli starts from the beginning of April. I strung the string trellis up on lath and pounded lath across the front to ward off critters. I also laid chicken wire over the boxes that are planted.

The broccoli are definitely the healthiest of all the seedlings I planted. The basils are a good second though! I am looking forward to dulci tea! The holy basil is doing nicely, but real sunshine is needed for the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and cukes. They are pitiful looking, even with the blooms starting on the cukes. I grew pickling and slicing cukes, but my mixing everything up has made me not know which are which right now. I decided I would put one at an end of each box with a little wire fence box around to help them climb. I know that once the pitiful ones get in the ground and have a nice cover for nights they will do great.

Today I planted a sq. ft of sweet mixed greens and one of bitter. It will probably work to plant those in 2 week intervals. Tomorrow I will get the 4 x 4 filled with as much dirt as I can muster from here and there. I know I have enough potting soil for the Suncast planter which is going to grow the Big Italian heirloom that I ordered from Tomatofest and an eggplant, basil and a couple pepper plants. The tomato will hang and the rest will be in the top. It's sitting next to the landing in the front, so lots of sun all morning long, protection from the wind and right where I will tend it daily, since planters often need that. Easy to cover if need be too.

Speaking of covering, here is the deal for this area, it's necessary. We are 35 miles as the crow flies from Glacier National Park. The wind blows most of the time. We evidently are coming out of a drought since the precipitation is an anomaly here. This country is part of the great North American desert from which the Great Plains spring. Nearly 4,000 ft above sea level, I have to adjust my ingredients to bake and give warm season vegetables cover, especially at night. I won't grow corn this year, but other years it has done fabulously! This year my big crop is going to be broccoli and greens, peas and other cool weather crops. I am planting climbing and bush beans, tomatoes, cukes, eggplant and peppers but they will have nighttime warmth retaining cover. There is probably a week or two that the night time temps stay above 65 all summer long. In order to grow fruit big enough on those guys you need warmth while they are setting and ripening.

JD and I were discussing the Gardenweb post in the Square Foot Garden forum that linked to photos of this person's gardens and there was plastic tubing that was stuck into a bit of pvc pipe a bit larger in diameter that was hammered into the ground. He suggested making a wall of sorts or using the garage wall as the prop and have them extend from five feet above in the back of the 8 x 3 planters down to the front in a quarter circle rather than the half. We could use plastic sheeting and roll it up for the day. Easy beans? Maybe, we sure can give it a try! It will definitely work better than our bad design last year. The plastic pipe is cheap and we can buy a roll just to have on hand! A couple 8 ft lengths of pvc pipe and we'll make it work!

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