Friday, May 22, 2009

This year's veggie beds

This year's vegetable gardens are coming along great. We've been eating on the winter started red cabbage for a while now. The beets have recently been appearing in meals as well as green onions and the neighbors have been given extra crook neck squash.

These two beds with potatoes and cantaloupe are covered up and not just with mulch. Pretend like you don't see major construction in the back ground. That's a future post.

With raised beds it's possible to build your soil to a very rich level so that planting can be very crowded and all the plants still do well. As with these two beds we always plant corn in the middle and beans on the side. It's easy to reach in to pick the corn as it's tall. With beans that will require picking more often they are planted down the sides so they can hang out of the beds.

You can plan your bed spacing for the roots if you can get the rest of the plant out of the bed. This trellis [a stock panel] is for the Armenian cucumbers to climb. The beets are a new variety I'm trying and they will be gone before the cuke vines sprawl very much. The trellis for the Armenian cukes is never enough. It will cover this entire bed and more in a month. That's why I have the beets and some radishes in this bed, so they will be harvested before the vines cover them. The Armenian is our favorite cuke, very sweet and extremely heat tolerate, but it must be allowed for.

These beans are yellow wax and needed to be away from the Blue Lake that is our standard. I think the only reason Lyn grows these is to put a few in with the green ones when she cans so that they look nicer in the jars on the shelves. The watermelon is Sweet Dakota. I think it's going to be a bust. They are not nearly as far along as the Crimson Sweets, my standard.

You can't go wrong with Dark Detroit beets. I've raised them everywhere we've lived with good success. I still try other kinds though. I live for pickled beets.

As I said earlier, you get used to crowding in raised beds. You don't think in terms of rows as much as just spacing and places plants will fit. I love radishes and just plant them wherever there is room. In this picture you can see carrots planted in front of and between tomato cages. They won't bother the tomatoes and the tomatoes won't bother them. If you don't plant something there it is just wasted space and in beds space can be at a premium.

No vegetable gardener is ever completely satisfied with a variety of plant as there could always be something out there that performs better in their particular soil. My favorite cantaloupe has been for years, Burpee's Ambrosia. Even the name is cool. But I still have to try another or two every year. This year it's Stutz. The story of its development is worth the try. To try different varieties you must separate them to make sure you get them true and not have any cross pollination. With tomatoes I've heard everything from 5' to 25'. Who knows? Some separation is a must though. I originally made seven beds in a group. As I added beds I started to spread them out more. I now have 15 beds in four different places. I think this is enough beds although as a gardener you just never know.


katina said...

Man, you really do cram the veggies in the beds.

I planted some watermelon seeds the other day in the garden, as well as some basil seeds between the tomatoes. Hopefully they'll come up.

OH! and I've got a random cantaloupe or something of that variety growing in the front yard. It could be a seed that didn't germinate last summer, I don't know, guess I'll just have to wait to find out.

walk2write said...

Your raised beds look so neat and lush with veggies. I wonder if fire ants would stay out of them. They are such a pain (literally) this year in the garden, hiding just out of sight under the pine straw and then attacking my feet and ankles. Does your climate allow you to grow another crop of root/cool weather vegetables in the fall? I'm thinking about planting some more potatoes, beets (didn't get them in this spring), and radishes.

Bonnie said...

I tried c antelope and had great results, but the fruit had no sweetness. It was the year we had so much rain so who knows what went wrong. It is amazing how much you have crammed in there- I need to be better about mixing in some winter/spring with spring/summer.

Anonymous said...

Great looking raised beds there Bob...and so many of them, all looking packed in and happy. I really want to do more raised bed veggies...just need to find more space!
And how about that Lance Armstrong! He may end up going down in history as the worlds best water waster, rather than as a world class cyclist, though I doubt it.


Lancashire rose said...

You have so many vegs. and they all look so healthy. Do you rotate? I find it difficult with not many beds and everything just about in the same family in the summer. Potatoes- now there's something I would really like to try.

Bob said...

walk2write; I try to keep something growing in the beds all the time. The problem with that though, as you can see in the photos, is cold weather crops like the red cabbage hasn't completed yet and I need the space for other things.

Bonnie, I've tried all kinds of cantaloupes and the one you want is Burpee's Ambrosia. It is consistently a great performer and Burpee says it has become their #1 seller 10 times over. However like you say they won't taste as good if they have had too much water.

You can't see in the photos Rose but there are potatoe plants in almost every bed. They come up from little potaoes that were missed when they were dug. So yes we do rotate. But, the big problem with beds is getting the different varieties far enough away from one another to keep from getting cross pollination, tomatoes being the hardest to do.

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