Gardening Begins … Kinda Sorta

We’re both pretty sore today, ’cause we spent all day yesterday rototilling & then cleaning up rows to make high beds – they’re about a foot and a half above the level of the paths between. It took us just about all day to get watersorb, gypsum, slow-release fertilizer, and blood meal added; everything rototilled twice; and to form up the beds. But it’s now ready for planting, and all we’ve got to do is to get the tomatoes from the nursery & to lay in the major drip lines and we’re ready to plant.

In addition to what I listed in a previous post, we’re planting Collard Greens, Red Potatoes, and Sweet Potatoes. Most of those seeds come from Kitazawa Seed, which is a seed company here in San Francisco which specializes in Asian vegetables. They’re pretty cool, and I suggest that you grow some Kabocha squash if you grow anything at all, ’cause they’re truly fabulous – way better than pumpkin for making pies.

Here’s a diagram of what the layout is like. It’s 25 feet from top to bottom, and about 45 feet from left to right. The spaces between the rows are about 1 foot, so that should give you an idea of what you’re looking at.

The space is shady towards the top left corner (where the Celtuce is to go), and we’ve had to balance out where to put things based upon where they’ve been before (no tomatoes nor potatoes can go in the same place they’ve been unless you’ve had three years in between, for example), but we’re pretty sure of this layout.

One thing we learned last year was that you can’t really trellis more than two tomatoes in a row, because you lose fruit where the plants intermingle, and you end up with plants being dwarfed by their neighbors. So, we’ll be planting the tomatoes in short beds, with only two tomatoes in each bed, and stretching two support beams above the three beds. It should let us trellis successfully, and give us a better harvest. We’ll see.

We’ve also made the beds much higher than we’ve been able to make them in the past, which should make it easier to harvest and to weed. AND we’re only planting one thing in each bed. We’ve tried to mix things in the past – tucking basil beneath the shade of a tomato, for example – and it just doesn’t work all that well. Not only do you end up with things competing for resources, you also end up with an inability to plant things in replacement. For example, if you’ve already pulled all of your beets out, but you still have greens growing, you’re stuck with leaving that bed to the greens. If you plant just one thing, however, you could plant a replacement crop, better utilizing the space.

These are things we think about. And lie awake thinking about.

Happy Gardening!

9 Replies to “Gardening Begins … Kinda Sorta”

  1. i am so impressed! i barely keep my potted plants alive and you have the whole big garden AND thinking about what should go where when! very lovely! would love to see them as they grow! happy harvesting!

  2. I’m planning to take pictures every week or so, from the same perspective (on the deck, with the camera positioned at the corner of the railing) and aimed in the same direction (at a join in the fence), and with the lense zoomed all the way in to 28mm, so that I can post them up in a separate set on Flickr and everybody can see them in progression. They’ll look from the bottom left corner of the diagram, there, across the whole of the garden at once.

    I took the first shot today, with the beds all finished. I forgot to bring the camera before we tilled & formed the beds … but, well, we can all envision a flat spot with lots of weeds.

    Of course, there’ll be lots of closeups too.

  3. So impressive – we’ve managed to put ONE small raised bed in – but you’ve got to start somewhere, I guess.

  4. There’s no reason to feel bad – especially ’cause these aren’t really raised beds, per se. They’re beds, yes, and they’re certainly tall … but raised beds would be with a border ’round them, to hold in the dirt, right? Ours are merely wide rows, really.

  5. Ah, gardening. We have to wait for the flood waters to recede before planting. But seeing as the last frost date in this area is in late May. I’m not getting too stressed about it. Except for peas. I want my peas in NOW so that I can eat them soon. I can’t wait to see how your garden grows. How long do the Kabocha squash take to mature? Asks she with a short growing season.

  6. The maturity rate of Kabocha varies, depending on the particular variety. Ours are: Akehime = 35 days from flowering; Sweet Mama = 45 days from flowering; and Delica just says 105 days … and I’m guessing that’s from germination, ’cause that’d be a heck of a long wait!

    Can’t you start your peas inside? It’d give them a good jump, and they’d be happier about it than not, I’m sure. You could try two crops… OR you could try some Long Beans!

  7. Wow, it’s a HUGE garden! And here I was feeling proud of myself for finally putting three herbs into a long rectangular pot for the kitchen. We’ll see if Orchard Supply herbs actually thrive…

  8. My dear girl, we at Wish I Were Baking do not believe in half-measures of any kind. We have to drive fifteen minutes to our garden. You and your rectangular pot will be fine; you can see if things go wrong a lot faster than we can…

    Last night’s excitement included another exploding valve and PVC shards all over. Good fun for everyone…

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