I just spent the better part of a what was a mostly gorgeous spring day prepping the raised-bed vegetable garden. I prepped sections of the garden with compost and Garden-Tone, then direct-seeded carrots and Swiss chard.
This is my second year with a raised bed garden. I’m keeping most of the same vegetables I grew last year, with a few additions. I’ve planned things out so I can use the same space to grow multiple crops. For instance, I’m growing spinach in one section, and when the spinach is harvested by early June, I’ll plant kale in its place.
For 2011 I’ll be growing the following:
Tomatoes (Thessaloniki, Red Brandywine, Marglobe)
Potatoes (Bintje – in a potato bag from Gardener’s Supply)
Cucumbers – Burpless
Green Beans – Blue Lake
Spinach – Bloomsdale Long Standing
Yellow summer squash
Corn – Yukon Chief (in the side bed at the front of the house)
Shell Peas – Alaska
Kale – Lacinato
Swiss Chard – Fordhook
Carrots – Danvers Half-Long
Brussels Sprouts – Long Island Improved
Bell Peppers – Lady Bell
The raised beds are each 12′ x 4′, made with 10″ x 1″ cedar boards. There’s a 2-foot path between each bed for easy access. The beds are divided into three sections with a cedar cross-support to keep the sides from bowing.
Inside the house, my seedlings are coming along nicely. The tomatoes, basil, and parsley are doing great, although my rosemary and bell pepper seeds haven’t germinated (and I’m not sure the rosemary will at all, as was the case last year). Those may have to come from the garden store. Although I did my best to insulate last year’s rosemary plants overwinter with straw, they didn’t survive the brutal winter we had. This year I plan to grow the rosemary in pots so they can be brought inside once the weather gets cold. I’m keeping the seedlings next to a sunny window during the day, and for a few hours at night I place them under a portable grow lamp.
Here are some pictures of the garden’s progress thus far.
The tarragon overwintered just fine, without any insulation whatsoever. New growth started appearing in early April, when I trimmed away the dead branches from last season:
The pea shoots peeking through the soil – behind a massive tipi of chicken wire to deter the squirrels. I’ll remove the chicken wire when the shoots are 6 inches high:
The trio of raised beds – my pride and joy! The garden with the plastic swan is our neighbor’s – you can see a short retaining wall between the raised beds and his yard:
…and the spinach seedlings beginning to emerge. We should be eating fresh spinach by the end of May: