The last few years, I’ve taken off a week in May to get the garden in and take care of other outside jobs that need warm weather to complete. This year has been challenging, as we have seen rain most days this past week. Denise and I did get all the bedding plants in early last week, during the two days we didn’t have rain.
I also added two new beds this year, one 30 feet long and 18 inches wide, and a second 20 feet long and 18 inches wide to practice the Mittleider method of gardening. In order to add these beds, I had to rent a rototiller to chew up the area being added to the garden, as seen in this picture.
The tiller was large and did the work very quickly. I also used it to clear the area for my greenhouse, and till around the outside of the garden fence line so Denise can move some perennials to that area to make way for another project. A third 20 foot by 18 inch bed will be added later this week.
I used 2×8 boards to give some good depth to the soil. I put about a two inch layer of compost over the cardboard at the bottom (to stop weed and small tree growth) and then added organic top soil bought at a local big box store. Each 10 foot section required 10 bags of soil, each weighing 40 pounds, so I’ve had quite a workout this past week loading, unloading, and moving those bags around until they are finally in place. This bed was planted with bean, peas, and the far section has pole beans, and will have a A-frame trellis over it, as soon as I can get it built.
I’ll let you follow the link to learn more about the Mittleider type of gardening that has been used around the world for over 40 years to grow vegetables in some of the most difficult environments. I first started using this method last year, to grow tomatoes, which is why you will seen the posts in a T form in some pictures. The indeterminate (keep growing taller unless you pinch them off) tomatoes grow up and around the small ropes and produce more tomatoes per plant the regular methods.
Yesterday morning, the forecast was for rain to begin by 10 am, so I hustled Denise and the munchkins (who had spent the night) out to finish filling and planting the last beds. We finished just as the rain began. They planted the pole beans, spinach, lettuce, and a variety of melons. The 3.6 inches of rain really helped get those seeds jump started, as well as the sunshine and very warm temperatures we’ve had this afternoon.
Through all of this activity, Princess was close by to lend moral support and catch a quick nap. The chickens were usually around, and were a real hassle when I was planting beans and peas, as they would jump up on the bed, start scratching and trying to eat the seeds. I finally had to have Denise stand guard until I was finished planting and we could put up a temporary fence.
All in all, it’s been a good vacation, and am looking forward to the vegetables growing and providing us with lots of fresh produce this year, as well as some to put up for over the winter. Next big project is the greenhouse, and I’m sure constructing it will take a good part of my “free” time this summer.