Monday, November 4, 2013

Winter crop planting - weekend one

Time is of the essence now. With the first frost date happening now, I'm in a rush to plant as much as I can before it's too cold for seeds to germinate. I likely cut it too close due to the late start on the garden remodel, but they're mostly just seeds so I'll just be out a few dollars if they fail.

My favorite beds are 4'x8' long and situated close to the house. White and
yellow peach trees flank the north and south side of the beds with a new seating area beyond.
I've divided the ten raised beds (labeled A-J) into four rough quadrants for an annual crop rotation. I will also use the square foot gardening method for the majority of the beds. I've had a lot of success with it over the past two years even though people think I'm crazy when they see all the grid lines made with sticks. It works incredibly well, especially if you have a small garden. The rewards are higher plant production, fewer weeds, less water usage and an easier way to companion plant. It's become so popular that even the online garden design programs now offer it as an option when laying out beds.

Bed J: Alyssum on the corners (bees love this and I love the scent), chard and
bok choi in the middle. Broccoli di ciccio is along the back.
Bed J, above, was the first bed I planted. The bed diagonally to J, Bed G, is planted similarly but with different varieties of bok choi and chard. I bought starts of some of the chard and broccolis this year. All of the bok choi is from Kitazawa Seed Company, which specializes in Asian vegetables. I cook a lot of Japanese dishes so I can never have enough Asian ingredients to cook with.

Bed G in foreground: More alyssum, with different varieties of chard and bok choi in
middle with calabrese broccoli along the back. I couldn't resist buying some Romanesco
broccoli as well. I might have overdone it on the broccoli!
On the side of our property there was once a decrepit old arbor that hid a beautiful climbing tree that buzzes with bees during the height of summer. We kept the tree but we're still not exactly sure how this area will develop. For now, we've handed it over to our daughter. She asked me to make her a teepee of english peas, her favorite vegetable. She can't wait to sit inside it and eat peas off the vine. This will be another experiment as this area only has partial sun but we'll see what happens.

Tall Telephone english peas were planted around the teepee.
The beds I plant next weekend hold the root vegetables. Once again, cutting it close but these are all going to be seed planted.

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