Saturday, June 8, 2013

First Post of 2013

Featuring our new fence.
My new garden workbench.
Wow, it's hard to believe it's June 2013 and it's sad to think that this is my first post.  I've been taking pictures of the garden and diligently working away at it, but not keeping everyone posted!!  Let's play catch-up.

The new strawberries.
We've made a few changes this year as you can see.  We added a fence all around our square foot area to keep out the newest addition to the family - a Boston Terrier named Marvin.  We added new mulch to the pathway, revamped the soil in the raised beds, and my talented husband, Jacob, created a garden workbench for me for our one year wedding anniversary - he did all the welding/building himself!  We pulled all of the strawberries out since they were not producing well last year and added new ones.

This year I was determined to maximize what I was growing in a limited space so I made out a VERY complicated plan including a minimum of 10 spreadsheets with various layouts, statistics, etc. on them, ordered lots of new heirloom seeds, prepped the beds and happened.

Here are some of my lessons learned.

1.  Simplify!  My plan was way too complicated to keep up with in real life (too many start dates, transplant dates, etc. to track).

An early shot of the peas.
2.  I didn't think practically in terms of infrastructure - having 5 rows that are each spaced 6 inches apart and consist of teeny tiny seedlings that are easily accidentally stepped on, is not too practical.  In addition, having random pea plants and other veggies that need support structures scattered throughout various rows and beds are not easy to deal with when I only have a limited number of tomato cages/stakes and makes harvesting a pain.

Our few straggly asparagus spears.
3.  The weather has been extremely odd this year - we went from extremely cold and wet where nothing would germinate and when it did, it got frost burned, to peak summer heat, so the cool weather plants that should be thriving are struggling - the peas are looking ok but some are a bit yellow already, the arugula bolted before we could eat it, along with a decent number of spinach plants, and the baby lettuces got sunburned.

The secondary garden bed featuring potatoes.
4.  Wild Animals - there is what I believe to be a squirrel who is playing a game of mental warfare with me.  Every time there are seedlings in the garden (including the highly fenced areas), some critter comes along and digs them up and leaves them to die.  I'm assuming it's a squirrel since it gets over the fence and doesn't actually eat the plants.  Any tips on how to combat this demon would be much appreciated.

Spinach babies before the heat kicked in.
The garden coming along - the greenery is mainly peas.
5.  Germination and transplant problems - I've had a lot of bugs assaulting my transplants while they are hardening off (especially potato bugs) which obviously challenges the baby plants and leads to most of them dying after they are transplanted.  I've been direct seeding lettuce, beets, spinach, beans, carrots, and leeks with very very little successful germination and again, not sure why.  I tested my soil and should be good to go but nothing happens.  The peas and potatoes are thriving (relatively speaking) along with a handful of lettuces but everything else is just having a really hard time.  We didn't get to harvest any asparagus this year either, just didn't thrive...

6.  Time....there's never enough to keep up with the weeds but I'm fighting the good fight.  I was out there before work Friday at 6am weeding the 5-10 carrots (supposed to be 200)....

Any tips/advice/recommendations with regards to any of these issues would be much appreciated.

Don't want to end on a downer note though - here are some lovely pics of the garden as it has progressed this year.  As you can see, the grapes and hops are absolutely wonderful and doing their best to give us cool shade on the arbor!  More to come!

A more recent shot of the grapes and hops.
A very early shot of the hops.

A more recent shot of the peas

No comments:

Post a Comment