Archive for the ‘Raised beds’ Category

I love the May garden. Everything is so lush and and green.

3002 Garden looking SW, 5-8-16JPG

May 8…Looking over the garden to the southwest, Sue’s foxgloves (grown from seeds) provide the foreground colors, the volunteer Tower of Jewels (or echium Pininana) to the left, yellow turnip and kale flowers all attract the bees.

3007 Potatoes, peas, cultivator, 5-8-16

The potatoes are up.  I just tilled between the rows with the little cultivator below.

3009 Cultivator, 5-8-16

For several years, we tried to garden without using fossil fuel. We prided ourselves on the ability to spade the garden and then hoe out the weeds. But now we’re several years older. Last month when we were faced with the task of planting potatoes, my wife says, “Let’s get the old Troy-Bilt tiller out.” Yes, it started on the second pull, but it also is waaaay too big for the raised beds. Reverse doesn’t work on it anymore and plus…it uses fossil fuel!!! Enter the battery-powered Greenworks cultivator. It’s easy to use, works well in the raised beds, and USES NO FOSSIL FUELS!

2988 Peas growing outside, first time 20 yrs, 5-6-16

Peas planted outside…first time in about 25 years (because of the deer fence.)  I added a couple of rows of carrots in the middle after I tilled it one more time.

3005 Buckwheat, tomatoes, peas+carrots, potatoes, 5-8-16

Buckwheat is growing well, tomatoes need cages, peas and carrots, potatoes in far back.

2931 Sue plants corn, 5-2-16

May 2…..Sue plants some corn.

2941 Sue plants lettuce, 5-3-16

…and a second batch of lettuce.

2998 Tall lobelia transp. 5-8-16

Just for the fun of it, we bought some giant lobelia (Lobelia fistulosa) for the hummingbirds and bees. A daisy to the left and the Knockout dahlia in the center back. The dahlia has flowers that attract leaf cutter bees (at 1:18)  It’s fun to watch the leaf cutters in action.

3036 Creative drip watering, 5-10-16

II had to get creative with the drip water grid for the squash. I’ve been accused of planting the squash too close together in years past. This time, there are only 5 hills here, where I’ve planted 10 or more hills before. The idea is we will get more if we don’t crowd them. I left the turnip flowers for the bees (and for next year’s seeds)

3034 Drip watering Hubbard, 5-10-16JPG

Drip watering gets the water to the customer without wasting any.

3032 Drip watering squash, 5-10-16

Another look at it…I think these are Sugar Pie Pumpkins.

2944 Hubbard near, pumpkins far, 5-3-16

There’s never enough room for squash. We are trying some ‘container squash’ this year. It’ll trail down over the stump grinding experiment.

3023 Squash barrels, 5-10-16

These squash are up against the fence for a reason. They get the morning and afternoon sun. We might try using the fence to trellis them. The upside…more squash. The downside, I’ve got to water by hand unless I figure out a drip water solution.

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August 27...I'm a sucker for any 'gardening trick'. Here I'm holding up a dried banana peel. It's supposed to give your transplant a shot of something (potassium?) when the roots reach down to it (assuming you put it in the hole before the plant goes in.)

August 27…I’m a sucker for any ‘gardening trick’. Here I’m holding up a dried banana peel. It’s supposed to give your transplant a shot of something (potassium?) when the roots reach down to it (assuming you put it in the hole before the plant goes in.)

August 27...The lettuce transplants on the left have the dried banana peel under them. On the right, no banana peel. PVC water grid in place, deer netting over the top, we will see what happens.

August 27…The lettuce transplants on the upper left have the dried banana peel under them. On the lower right, no banana peel.
PVC water grid in place, deer netting over the top, we will see what happens.  I forgot to mention the heaps of fresh crab shell that were buried here last week.

October 5...This is what the lettuce looks like 5 weeks later.  Can you tell where the banana peels are buried?  I can't.

October 5…This is what the lettuce looks like 5 weeks later. Can you tell where the banana peels are buried? I can’t.

October 5...Just to use the rest of the bed, I shook some dried kale branches in this area.  Ha-ha...there must have been some seeds that dropped out.

October 5…Just to use the rest of the bed, I shook some dried kale branches in this area. Ha-ha…there must have been some seeds that dropped out.

August 20...This is WHY we are planting in this bed already. The oh-so-cute deer chomped our beautiful broccoli plants when we forgot to re-net it.

August 20…This is WHY we are planting in this bed already. The oh-so-cute deer chomped our beautiful broccoli plants when we forgot to re-net it after burying crab shell in one end.

The new fawn follows Mom to the bird feeders every evening.

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The potatoes have been weeded and hilled up.  An interesting observation...the two rows on the right were planted a month before the two rows on the left.

The potatoes have been weeded and hilled up.  ‘Survivor*’ garlic is on the left and Meadowfoam is in the background, fenced away from deer, but still accessible to the bees.  I’ll be using 12 foot lengths of 1/2″ PVC to drip water the potato rows.  The seed potatoes were planted at about 9″ distances which match up to the holes drilled into the PVC drip watering system.  *Survivor garlic is garlic that made good sized bulbs even though it got the rust virus.

The first bed of tomatoes has been transplanted from the light stand in the house. We've used the tire method for 30+ years. They will dissipate heat into the evening. The night temps will get down into the mid 40's (7C) even sometimes in the summer, so we've got to tent them.   You might have noticed the wild mustard patch in the background...that started out as a clover patch.  I wanted to grow clover to enhance the soil.  I rigged up this PVC arrangement to hold the deer netting off the expected plants.  I wanted to see the bees visit the clover blossoms in the spring.  Then we experienced a cold snap.  The clover died and the mustard plants germinated from the compost we spread out.  It grows well, but I'll probably have to spade it into the soil before it goes to seed.

The first bed of tomatoes has been transplanted from the light stand in the house. We’ve used the tire method for 30+ years. They will dissipate heat into the evening.
The night temps will get down into the mid 40’s (7C) even sometimes in the summer, so we’ve got to tent them.
You might have noticed the wild mustard patch in the background…that started out as a clover patch. I wanted to grow clover to enhance the soil. I rigged up this PVC arrangement to hold the deer netting off the expected plants. I wanted to see the bees visit the clover blossoms in the spring. Then we experienced a cold snap. The clover died and the mustard plants germinated from the compost we spread out. It grows well, too well.   I’ll probably have to spade it into the soil before it goes to seed.

A closer look at the tomatoes and watering grid.

A closer look at the tomatoes and drip watering grid.  The 1/2″ PVC has been drilled so the water drips out near the plant.  I’ve been using these for over ten years and it works well.

May 4th...The second tomato bed goes in.  You might notice the 'cloddy' soil.  I was soooo tempted to pull out my rototiller to break up the soil, but I resisted.  We've been trying to prove that we can garden without the use of fossil-fuel.  We are trying to reduce our carbon footprint.  So the soil is a bit lumpy and we're hoping the tomato plants don't mind too much.

May 4th…The second tomato bed goes in. You might notice the ‘clumpy’ soil. I was soooo tempted to pull out my rototiller to break up the soil, but I resisted. We’ve been trying to prove that we can garden without the use of fossil-fuel.  So the soil is a bit lumpy and we’re hoping the tomato plants don’t mind too much.

We've been eating lettuce and spinach from this first bed of salad greens for about three weeks.  My wife likes the wild arugula, but it's a bit hot for me.

We’ve been eating lettuce and spinach from this first bed of salad greens for about three weeks. My wife likes the wild arugula, but it’s a bit hot for me.

March 28...Planting the second bed of lettuce, Parel cabbages which were started in the house, purchased broccoli plants and maybe some collard greens.

March 28…Planting the second bed of lettuce, Parel cabbages which were started in the house, purchased broccoli plants and maybe some collard greens.

We've got to protect them from the cabbage moth.

We’ve got to protect them from the cabbage moth.

May 3...Peeking under the cloth to see how the lettuce is doing.

May 3…Peeking under the cloth to see how the lettuce is doing.

We planted the edible pod peas in the greenhouse in February.

We planted the edible pod peas in the greenhouse in February.

...and have been using the pea pods in salads and soups for a good month.

…and have been using the pea pods in salads and soups for a good month.

April 25...Since the deer like to munch on nasturtiums, we've got to protect them.  What better way than to clean out the weeds around an apple tree and plant them there.  These are a new kind that will sport red blossoms.  I hope the bees like them.

April 25…Since the deer like to munch on nasturtiums, we’ve got to protect them. What better way than to clean out the weeds around an apple tree and plant them there. These are a new kind that will sport red blossoms. I hope the bees like them.

May I say something else about Limnanthes  Douglasii Poached Egg Plant (Meadowfoam)?  It wintered over without any kind of frost protection like a tarp or a pile of leaves.  It was tough love for sure because it's in a section of the garden that's in the shade until noon.  This was self seeded from last year's crop.   The Vision Violet Geraniums also wintered over well.  Together they have been attracting the bees in the afternoon hours.

May I say something else about Limnanthes Douglasii Poached Egg Plant (Meadowfoam)? It wintered over without any kind of frost protection like a tarp or a pile of leaves. It was tough love for sure because it’s in a section of the garden that’s in the shade until noon. This was self seeded from last year’s crop which was about 1/4 the size.  (What have I started?)
The Vision Violet Geraniums also wintered over well. Together they have been attracting the bees in the afternoon hours.

May 3...I know, I know, I shouldn't have to transplant borage because it grows 'like a bad weed' around here, but there was an empty spot in the hugelkulture bed after I weeded it and the bees love it so much.  Three spade-fulls and I've got a three more spots to video the bees. :)

May 3…I know, I know, I shouldn’t have to transplant borage because it grows ‘like a bad weed’ around here, but there was an empty spot in the hugelkulture bed after I weeded it and the bees love it so much. Three spade-fulls and I’ve got a three more spots to video the bees. 🙂

This Cardinal Climber is supposed to attract hummingbirds.  We've started it under lights in the house.  My wife is going to donate a couple of plants to try to get it to climb up the echium 'tree.'  I think it'll be fun to see if we can get some birds and bees.

This Cardinal Climber is supposed to attract hummingbirds. We’ve started it under lights in the house. My wife is going to donate a couple of plants to try to get it to climb up the echium ‘tree.’ I think it’ll be fun to see if we can get some birds and bees.

May 3...

May 3…”Reach for the sky,” little Cardinal Climber…

...You will have to if you want to climb this

…You will have to if you want to climb this “Tower of Jewel” echium tree.  It’s 12 ft tall and growing.

I just bought this African Blue Basil.  Jeff, at my favorite nursery, tells me it's a super bee magnet which will blossom all summer.   He knows how to tempt me.

I just bought this African Blue Basil. Jeff, at my favorite nursery, tells me it’s a super bee magnet which will blossom all summer. He knows how to tempt me.

May 5...Because the bees were visiting the moss in the pond so much and because someone mentioned that his Dad used moss for a watering station, I thought I'd try it out.  Who knows, the bees might be getting some kind of essential minerals or properties from it.  I just dug some up, found a plastic container and try to keep it hydrated.  It's the only waterer I've had any success with.

May 5…Because the bees were visiting the moss in the pond so much and because someone on the biobees.com forum mentioned that his grandfather used moss for a watering station, I thought I’d try it out. Who knows, the bees might be getting some kind of essential minerals or properties from it. I just dug some up, found a plastic container and try to keep it hydrated. It’s the only waterer I’ve had any success with.

Time to roll out the

Time to roll out the “Solar Roller.” Things are drying out. This ‘solar panel roller’ can be positioned to catch the early rays of the sun as well as the sunset. I can get about 10-12 hours of sunshine if I’m conscientious about moving it twice a day.

Forgive me if I'm talking about this new bee bed too often.  It's just that we wanted to add more flowers for the bees without taking away space from the veggie garden.  This was the perfect solution...but after adding Walker's Low Nepeta, artichokes, Scabiosa, and red echium, we're already running out of space.

Forgive me if I’m talking about this new bee bed too often. It’s just that we wanted to add more flowers for the bees without taking away space from the veggie garden. This was the perfect solution…but after adding Walker’s Low Nepeta, artichokes, Scabiosa, and red echium, we’re already running out of space.

This started out as a garden video, but there was so much excitement today with two swarms happening and bees (from where?) checking out my new log hive.  I had to include some video below.

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It should be raining sideways right now in March, but because the East Coast is grabbing all the cold air, we’ve been enjoying 66˙F weather on The Oregon Coast.

Because of the warm spell, we were able to move some things off the light stand and into the garden.  These lettuce, Parel cabbages, and (bought) broccoli were put into ground today.

Because of the warm spell, we were able to move some things off the light stand in the house and into the garden. These lettuce and Parel cabbage plants, and (bought) broccoli were put into ground today.

March 28...66˙F (18˙C)  Looking at tomorrow's weather forecast, I'm going to have to look for a shade cloth for the new transplants.

March 28…66˙F (18˙C) Looking at tomorrow’s weather forecast, I’m going to have to find a shade cloth for the new transplants.  Michael Marlow says it was 28˙F in Western Massachusetts this morning, lightly snowing on the foot of snow already there.

We even brought the Sun Oven to bake up a pot of beans.

We even brought out the Sun Oven to bake up a pot of beans.

While my wife was transplanting, I was preparing a base for my new log hive.  The wood carver said he would bring it out Monday.  I think I'm ready with packed sand under these heavy cement blocks.

While my wife was transplanting, I was preparing a base for my new log hive. The wood carver said he would bring it out Monday. I think I’m ready with packed sand under these heavy cement blocks.

When I proposed using an old bird feeding station on the log hive, Brian Vorwaller went quiet.  I don’t think he really wanted to see that old thing on top of his beautiful creation, so he asked me for another chunk of wood.

March 21...From this chunk of wood comes...

March 21…From this chunk of wood (in the care of the wood carver) comes…

...the pitched roof that will serve as the rain-shedding top of my Grand Kids Log hive.

…the ‘shake’ roof that will serve as the rain-shedding top of my Grand Kids Log hive.  It’s hard to see, but the quilt box is on the bottom 4 inches of it.  Brian worked it into the design so well.

March 28...To the bees' delight, our flowering cherry tree is in full bloom.

March 28…To the bees’ delight, our flowering cherry tree is in full bloom.

 

The Tower of Jewels echium are going to bloom this year...HOORAY!  I've waited two years for this.  They should bloom for about 3 months giving out nectar all day long.  How do I know they will bloom?

The Tower of Jewels echium plants are going to bloom this year…HOORAY! I’ve waited two years for this. They should bloom for about 3 months giving out nectar all day long. How do I know they will bloom?

They have shot up about 4 feet in the last month, but the telltale sign is under the leaves where they meet the main stem...bud beginnings!

They have shot up about 4 feet in the last month, but the telltale sign is under the leaves where they meet the main stem…bud beginnings!

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July 10, 2013...Spring veggies harvested, soil spaded and leveled, drip watering in place, this bed is ready to plant our winter garden.

July 7, 2013…Spring veggies harvested, soil spaded and leveled, drip watering in place, this bed is ready to plant our winter garden.

When we planted  turnips, lettuce and kale in July for our winter garden little did we know we were planting for the bees as well as ourselves.

July 28, 2013...turnips are growing nicely in the center, lettuce and kale are on the sides.

July 28, 2013…turnips are growing nicely in the center, lettuce and kale are on the sides. Deer netting over pvc hoops.

January 16, 2014...We had eaten most of the turnips and just left a few to go to seed.  We never thought the bees would be enjoying them in mid January.  What a welcome surprise.

January 16, 2014…We had eaten most of the turnips and just left a few to go to seed. We never thought the bees would be enjoying them in mid January. What a welcome surprise.

February 9, 2014...My apologies for posting such a fuzzy picture of a bee on the catkins,but it was rather high up.  I wanted to show where the pollen was coming from that is going into my log hive.

February 9, 2014…My apologies for posting such a fuzzy picture of a bee on the catkins,but it was rather high up. I wanted to show where the pollen was coming from that is going into my log hive.

February 9, 2014...Many colors of pollen entering the hive.  In the video you can see the bright yellow from the turnip flowers.  It's possible this is from the pussy willows that are just starting to blossom

February 9, 2014…Many colors of pollen can be seen entering the hive. In the video you can see the bright yellow pollen from turnip flowers. It’s possible this shot is from the pussy willows that are just starting to blossom.  The darker orange might be from early gorse.

February 10, 2014...Yellow turnip flowers have been flowering since mid January.  Pussy willows are starting to blossom already.

February 10, 2014…Yellow turnip flowers have been flowering since mid January. Pussy willows are starting to blossom already.  Second bed is producing greens for our salads.  We can eat them 15 minutes after they are picked…can’t get much fresher than that.  We cover them with plastic film (partially visible on far side) on nights of sub freezing temps.

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Squash and corn area 6-1-13, with water grid.

June 1, 2013…Squash and corn area with PVC water grids.

July 6, 2013...Squash and corn growing well after mulch added to keep soil from drying out.

July 6, 2013…Squash and corn growing well after mulch added to keep soil from drying out.

July 24, 2013...Squash and corn bed, almost ready to harvest some.

July 24, 2013…Squash and corn bed.  Corn is starting to tassel..

Despite the fact that the Oregon Coast gets about 60 inches (1500 mm) of rain a year, we still are very frugal about watering.   Overhead sprinklers not only waste water but can invite plant diseases.  We’ve found drip watering works well…but how do you water squash which is spaced so far apart?  Over the years, we’ve developed a method that gets the job done with a little effort at the beginning of the season.  It’s as easy as playing with tinker toys.

PVC can deliver straight to the customer...but these connections are the screw-in type that I started with about 15 years ago.  I've since graduated to slip-ons...cheaper and easier to work with.

PVC can deliver straight to the customer…but these connections are the screw-in type that I started with about 15 years ago. I’ve since graduated to glue-less slip-ons…cheaper and easier to work with.

This connection can swing in any direction for the water hose connection.

This glue-less connection can swing in any direction for the water hose connection.

You don't usually need a water pressure reliever, just turn the shut-off valve on your hose if the pressure is too high.

You don’t usually need a water pressure reliever, just turn the shut-off valve on your hose if the pressure is too high.

The garden hose adapter slips on the length of PVC.  Use the thinner type of PVC (cheaper as well) because you'll be drilling holes in it and it doesn't have to hold pressure.

The garden hose adapter slips on the length of PVC. Use the thin-walled type of PVC because you’ll be drilling holes in it and it doesn’t have to hold pressure.

Tees, couplers, and ells, are just about all you need besides the hack saw and 10 foot lengths of the thin walled Schedule 20 pvc.

Tees, couplers, and ells, are just about all you need besides the hacksaw and 10 foot lengths of the thin walled Schedule 20 pvc.

You can economize by sharing a hose connector between two grids.

You can economize by sharing a hose connector between two grids.

Need new holes, just drill where you want it...be careful though, it's a little tricky getting the bit to stay put on a round surface.

Need new holes, just drill where you want it…be careful though, it’s a little tricky getting the bit to stay put on a round surface.  Don’t hold it in your hands or on your lap.  If you slip…well, you get the picture.

Too many holes?  Wind electrician's tape to block off extra holes in unwanted places.

Too many holes? Wind electrician’s tape to block off extra holes in unneeded  places.

Need to get over a raised bed?  With the slip-on connections, it's much easier.

Need to get over to top of a raised bed? With the slip-on connections, it’s much easier.

Don't plant first and then figure out how to water it...it takes more work like this one.

Don’t be tempted to plant first and then figure out how to water it…it takes more work like this one, a real mess.  My SO was in a hurry to get the seedlings in.

July 6, 2013...I'm trying a new compost tea.  It's made from soaking comfrey for three weeks.  I've added it to the right row of corn only for comparison.

July 5, 2013…I’m trying a new compost tea. It’s made from soaking chopped-up comfrey leaves for three weeks. I’ve added it to the right row of corn only for comparison…it sure smells bad, if it doesn’t work I’ll know why.  Footnote…my wife doesn’t think much of it.

An example of drip water PVC that didn't work.  I tried this on the Hugelkulture bed.  I'll have to work on this a little more.

An example of drip water PVC that DIDN’T work. I tried this on the Hugelkulture bed…back to the drawing board.

I space the potatoes at 9" apart.  The holes are drilled in the pvc at that distance.  This stick is the length of all my potato beds.  When I finish with one, I can move it to the next row.  I use it year after year, but you know, you have to rotate your crops.  Don't follow tomatoes with potatoes, or potatoes with potatoes.

Drip watering potatoes…I space the potatoes at 9″ apart. The holes are drilled in the pvc at that distance. This stick is the length of all my potato beds. When I finish with one, I can move it to the next row. I use it year after year, but you know, you have to rotate your crops. Don’t follow tomatoes with potatoes, or potatoes with potatoes for at least a year, preferably two.

This is how I water all my tomatoes.  You space the holes where you want the tomatoes, lay the grid in the bed, plant where the water drips out.

This is how I water all my tomatoes. You space the holes where you want the tomatoes, lay the grid in the bed, plant where the water drips out.

The start of our winter lettuce...This year I'm determined to grow enough for the winter...might be a little early though.

The start of our winter lettuce…This year I’m determined to grow enough for the winter…might be a tad early though.

July 28, 2013...time to thin lettuce and turnip greens.

July 28, 2013…time to thin lettuce and turnip greens.  I had to get the deer net up, the deer are hungry, and we are on their dinner route.

This new fawn was frisking around like they do.  I was able to catch it by waiting it out.

July 28,2013…This new fawn was frisking around. I was able to catch it (on camera) by waiting it out.  It’s momma was showing it where the best places to eat were.

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This is how the garden looked in August 1998.  All those beautiful raised beds are rotting into the ground after 15 years and need to be replaced.

This is how the garden looked in August 1997. All those beautiful raised beds are now rotting into the ground after 16 years and need to be replaced.

Trex-built raised bed 5-5-13

Trex-built raised bed 5-5-13  Don’t look at the background…it’s messy.  I’m linear.  I can only work on one bed at a time!

We built most of our raised beds in 1996 and ’97.  The lumber came from a small sawmill using white cedar that had been passed over by the big timber companies.  It was sawn to a full 2 x 10 x 16′ (5.08 cm x 25.4 cm x 4.87 m)  It was beautiful wood.  We had less personal time then but more energy…lots more.  As good as that wood was, it still rots when in contact with the soil.  So after 17 years all those 16 beds have got to be replaced.  We found this decking material on close-out.  It’s not cheap but is supposed to outlast wood.  It’s a little wobbly so I had to set the corners in concrete, but if it outlasts wood, it’ll be worth it.  We’re trying to replace ONE raised bed a year now.  The green one was built last year out of old siding…much cheaper than this one, but won’t last as long.

Soil leveled, drip water grid laid out, tires centered over drip holes in pvc.

Soil leveled, drip water grid laid out, tires centered over drip holes. The tires extend the warm temps into the cool evening.

Hoops added with 1x2x8 re-enforcement.

Hoops added with 1 x2x 8 re-enforcement.  I use this to hold the tent open  too.

Don't glue any of the pvc like I did for many years.  That way you can have more options like this swing-away hose connection

Don’t glue any of the pvc like I did for many years. That way you can have more options like this swing-away hose connection

Clear plastic over hoops, held up rope and the re-enforcement wood.

Clear plastic over hoops, held up by rope and the re-enforcement wood.  Why have ‘tents?’  Our night time temperatures will dip to 45 deg. F (7 deg. c)  even in the middle of summer.  Use 6 mil UV stable greenhouse film. It’ll last for years of opening and closing every day.  We like our tomatoes to be warm and happy.

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