Thursday, May 5, 2011

Progress in the garden

We are making some changes in the way we do things in the garden this year. There will be more wide rows, mulch and raised beds. It is so much work to get this method started but I think we will have greater success in the long run. It has taken me a couple of days to get this all together for my blog so I will start the tour with a photo of my pretty cabbages above and then continue with the new stuff. There is nothing prettier than cabbages at this time of year. We have been treating them with BT to kill the worms that start about this time of the spring.

The big change is the wide rows with a paper barrier and plenty of mulch. Above, the wide row. We dug out a trench on each side and put the soft dirt on the center and then smoothed it out to form a raised bed. I always thought that if you had to pick up a shovel, the back-breaking work had begun. I found that wasn't true in this case. This was the easy part.

On top of the bed we laid down four layers of paper. This is newspaper -- not the shiny or slick circulars but the regular kind. This paper was some end rolls I had but printed newspaper works fine. It doesn't matter about the ink because it is most often soy based. Do not try this on a windy day unless you are prepared with large stones or pieces of wood to keep it in place until you lay down the mulch.

Now for the hard part, mulch. Putting the mulch in wheelbarrows and spreading it out was the hard part for us. My muscles are groaning, just thinking about it. We smoothed a nice, thick layer of mulch. Wheat straw is probably better, but this was free so it is what we used.

We then dug a hole for our plants through the paper and staggered the plants on the beds. In the hole we poured our fertilizer, inserted the plant and rearranged the mulch around the plant.

These are the Celebrity tomatoes we raised from seed.

In the center we are putting cardboard and will top it with mulch to prevent weeds from growing. No more nut grass, I hope! We haven't gotten all the cardboard we need, yet. We are probably going to the dump to pick up some boxes.

This is a finished photo. We will be adding more mulch here but our tomatoes really are looking good. We have sixty-plus tomato plants and about twenty-five pepper plants -- all of various types and sizes. We planted Heirloom Red, Celebrity, Kellogg Breakfast, Jubilee, Roma, Green Zebras, Big Rainbows, Purple Calabash and Strawberry tomatoes and we will be planting some cherry tomatoes of various types and colors in other spots. We may plant some in our beds at home around our homes and on the deck. It would be nice to pick fresh tomatoes for salads and snacking by just walking out the back door.

Yes, we did get carried away by the vast array of tomato varieties. We need to restrain ourselves next year, but when I see a seed packet for an unusual variety, my imagination runs wild.

The mild pepper varieties: Green, Red and Yellow Bells, Pimentos, Sweet Bananas and a mild Jalapenos. The hot varieties: Cowhorn peppers, Jalapenos, a giant Jalapeno, Cayennes, a Cayenne Bell and somehow we picked up a Pablo Ancho. I think that might be mildly hot, but I will have to research it a bit. It was an accident, but the kind that might lead to something good. I can see a stuffed Mexican pepper dish in my future.

We planted a few eggplants, too, Black Beauties and Ichiban.

Now for the rest of the garden. Our peas have just exploded. Our pea vines are just loaded with peas.

We are waiting for them to fill out.

I couldn't resist showing you these pretty vines.

Our squash are looking good. We are monitoring closely for pests and spraying with BT once a week.


We staked our green beans, too. They haven't started running yet but climbing will begin soon. Now we have to devise a staking plan for the tomatoes.
I am hoping that the time we spent on this gardening method will benefit us by adding the needed compost material and will stop our weed problem. Weeds are a backbreaking chore, much like mulching. 

I have to go and rest now.


  1. i am so impressed!! i look forward to watching your garden grow here as the season progresses. thank you so much for sharing!
    charlotte from newnan

  2. wow Deberah, your garden looks great! Good tips too. I am learning so much & thank you for sharing, Joanie

  3. Hi Just read your account of wide row gardening I love to hear from folk that try something different. I have been doing wide row gardening since reading John Jeavons, "How to Grow more Vegetables" Where he has brought together traditional gardening methods from the Myans the Chinese and from Europe, added good gardening practice and research of there own to make and a wealth of knowledge that everyone should read. Hope you keep on bloging I'm 60 and still got to try somthing new.