Monday, 30 May 2011

Triple It!

We decided at the very last minute to add another vegetable garden to our property effectively tripling our garden space from what we had last year.   I've run out of room in my main garden for planting squash and pumpkins and I'd really like to grow more corn and potatoes.   Corn takes up so much space for a fairly small yield, so I tend not to plant much of it in my main garden, saving the space for more productive crops.  With the addition of this new garden bed, I'll have lots of room for those bigger plants to roam and grow without shading out other crops and as a bonus, we can easily add on to this new garden bed next year should we need to - there's plenty of room!

We chose an area that is far away from the main garden, on the opposite side of the property, in full sun, and as a bonus, there is water to the site.  The crops I'll be planting will need very little in the way of daily attendance, just a quick check every few days plus watering and hoeing on a weekly basis.  Not too terribly time consuming so having it far away from the main garden shouldn't be a problem.

Kelly was busy plowing to break ground with the big diesel tractor and the kids helped to haul the cut sod off the area.  Tilling in amendments to the soil was light work with the tiller attachment on the rear of the small tractor.  We added peat moss to the whole area and some dry chicken manure to the half of the bed that will be planted with corn and squash.  I chose to leave the half of the bed where the potatoes will grow as an experiment.  Last year, our potatoes had some scab issues and I think it was due to the rich soil in the main garden.  I'm curious to see what happens with this crop in the new garden.

The time is finally nigh for planting squash and pumpkins.   I find if we wait until the VERY end of May to direct seed, the pumpkins and squash germinate quickly and grow vigorously, doing better than transplanted seedlings.  I've got a winter keeping squash, a summer longneck, plus an acorn variety.   I threw caution to the wind and planted a row of watermelons!  The potatoes were planted yesterday, as evidenced in the photo below and I was able to use up all of the gifted seed potatoes from my neighbour.  I just hated to see them go to waste so I'm really glad we were able to get this new garden in this year.  It was a huge project spontaneously added to our already busy to do list but will hopefully pay off in a very large winter store of potatoes :)

My parents are in town for 10 days and they have been a tremendous help!  Mom has tended the garden with me and she helped me set up my new potting area made from the base cabinets that my husband was able to get from work.  It's much more functional and neater looking that my previous set up, and it's a pleasure to work at with all my tools and pots handy, with excellent workspace for seeding and transplanting.  The photo below shows the location of the work area, adjacent to the gate.  The sprouting seeds are too small to see from the roof, but they're there!  That's our chicken coop at the back left of the photo, and the white fabric you see is the row cover for the brassicas.

This next picture is a continuation of the garden, the front of the coop now just visible with the hens resting in the shade for their afternoon sleep :)  The rolled up sod all along the chicken wire is to keep them from digging under fence to get into the garden!

This next photo shows the new hen run out under the fruit trees.  They love it out there, but as it's not as shaded yet, the girls retreat to the are closest to the coop for their afternoon rest.  :)

I'm considering investing in a wheel how now that my garden area is triple the size of last year's garden.  Hoeing weeds will be a major task for many, many weeks to come and with such a large garden, I'm concerned about keeping up. A wheel how will certainly make the job fast and less tiresome, freeing up my time to pick and can the (hopefully) bountiful harvest.  Do you have a wheel hoe?  If so, what brand is yours and do you like it?

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