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Posts Tagged ‘Raised Bed Gardening’

The garden beds are done and planted!

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Looking back at my Thoughtful Thursday posts, I realized that it had been quite a while since I wrote about our garden.  It has done surprisingly well considering the extreme heat and dry weather we had for most of June and July.  Thankfully, since we have just the two raised beds and one strawberry bed, I was able to water them enough to keep everything alive.

Once the rain started back, I started harvesting more and more.  My cucumbers have done great and the peppers and tomatoes have really made a comeback.  This is what I picked Saturday before last…

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There was also a handful of very small strawberries that I made strawberry lemonade slushies with and I still have several carrots left, too.  That same day, I sowed a fall crop of lettuce and a few more cucumber seeds.  There is just enough time before our usual frost to get a few cucumbers from new plants.  Say a little prayer that our frost is a little late. 

Our new grapevines are growing well, but it will still be a year or two before we actually get fruit from them.  It is the same with the fruit trees.  I am trying to be patient and let them grow more before bearing much fruit so they will be nice and strong.

The wood that we made our raised bed from is starting to deteriorate so C & I are trying to come up with an inexpensive alternative to replace the boards.  We have a few ideas, but no concrete plans yet.  We are thinking of using artificial deck boards, but they are so expensive.  I might have to start stalking Craig’s List to see if we can find them on the cheap.

Considering the weather that we have had, I have been thrilled at the garden output and hopefully it will continue for a few more weeks!

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Despite having extra-warm temperatures for most of March and the first part of April, Mother Nature has gotten back to normal.  Our area has been having its share of little “winters” the last couple of weeks, which means much cooler temperatures.  Normally, this is no big deal, BUT when all of the plants decided to come out and enjoy that early warm weather, it could spell trouble.

C & I had trimmed some grapevines in his parent’s yard a couple of months ago and they were coming out in full force.  They covered them in burlap to protect them from the freeze, but, sadly, they got burned.  Oh, well, they are recovering nicely now so hopefully no great harm was done.  Our new grapevines got nipped, too, but they are starting to show signs of life again.

I am so glad that I didn’t jump the gun and try to sow seeds of veggies that need the warmth.  I guess I had better confess that I didn’t do this because of my smarts, but because I just didn’t have the beds ready.  God watches over us all the time!  The early warm weather has given us time to do a few projects around the house.  Last year, we had a concrete driveway and two sidewalks poured so this year we built a raised flower bed between one sidewalk and the garage.  We still like a few more details, but here is a sneak peek:

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I plan to have a how-to post on how we built our wall in the coming weeks.  C also built another raised bed for me so now I have even more room to grow fresh veggies and fruits…

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I have visions of paste tomatoes, green peppers, and small watermelons in here.  See all that beautiful dirt?  That is thanks to my wonderful father-in-law who took time out of his busy farming schedule to put his front end loader to work.  He brought me four huge scoops of composted dirt/leaves/cow manure/hay that has been sitting undisturbed for a few years.  It is gardener’s black gold!  Thanks, R!  You saved us a lot of back breaking, or at least back bending, work.

Well, that’s about it for now. In just a few weeks, I’ll be seeding cucumbers and watermelon, not to mention planting my tomatoes and green pepper plants.  Oh, and how could I forget the flower pots that decorate my front porch and decks?  They are coming soon, too.

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Looking back over this summer’s blog posts, I realized that there were very few garden updates and I know why.  The HEAT!!!  I started out with grand plan for my little raised bed this year and most of them worked out to some extent.  Early on, my lettuce and carrots did great, and the cucumber plants were taking off.  That was before The HEAT, though, and, yes, I believe it deserves all caps!

The first generation of cucumber plants produced a few veggies, but not nearly as many as I would have liked.  You can see that second generation in the first photo below.  Again, there have been a few harvested but not many.  The third generation is coming along nicely, and there should be enough time before frost to get a few cucumbers.  I don’t know if I just don’t have enough plants or if I am doing something wrong.  I thought I would have so many that I could share them with family, but there are barely enough for C & I.  I think I need another bed so I can plant more.  Or maybe 2 beds?!!??

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One veggie that has produced like gangbusters is the sweet peppers.  I only planted 3 little plants, but they have done great and are still hanging full!  That means lots of diced frozen sweet pepper for soups, chili, and sloppy Joes this fall and winter.  Yay!

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I hope to add at least one more raised bed before next spring because I want to can my own tomato sauce and juice, so therefore I need room for tomato plants!  And maybe some herbs and cabbage and…well, you get the picture.  Heirloom seeds are something that interests me, too so I have started a pinboard over on Pinterest to save seed ideas for next year.  If you like what I have pinned, please follow me!!

I hope to have better luck next year. There are a few things that I should have done differently this summer and maybe I can correct those then.  I should have added fresh compost to the bed to enrich it and I should have mulched with straw so the ground would not dry out so bad.  Live and learn, people, live and learn!!

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