Wednesday’s Walkabout (a day late): Spring Veggie Patch

Posted on Apr 21, 2011 | 1 comment

Spring garden is going strong at Larrapin thanks to the wonderful light table! I’ve been able to start with seedling vs seeds and the immediate gratification factor has been exquisite. The pics above are a row by row walkabout a couple of days ago. (If you are reading on email and the pics don’t show up, click to the actual post here to see them…)

Starting with the top left and moving across is the most recently dug bed with little rock piles still nearby. Don’t be fooled, those handfuls represent about the third rock-clearing sweep. At least rocks don’t grow back right away….  Anyway there are potatoes under the soil in the trench, planted quite late…like, um, a few days ago vs the traditional St. Patrick’s day planting. The next two beds are peas, kale, broccoli and collards—yum. I’m crazy for cole crops, as you’ll soon be able to tell.  In the top-middle pic there is the happy accident of using large tomato cages turned on their sides as a makeshift pea trellis. Will use this again.

Second row, starting on the left: garlic!! I love garlic. Why did I plant so little last fall? What was I thinking? Note to self, plant about 3X that much this fall!  Middle pic: not done. Those beds have to be rearranged to run in wide rows so the irrigation t-tape will work. Oh, I love t-tape and it saves SO much time come summer, not to mention water and the plants just love it. Well, heck, spring too since there hasn’t been much rain. That’s a huge pluffy bed of chickweed going to seed in back. Don’t laugh, I love chickweed and make wonderful salve from it. It’s actually kind of rare on our rocky terrain so collect the seeds and plant little beds of it wherever there’s enough soil to support it. Also a great salad green, though I’ve never tried it. Finally, more cole crops. You can see the t-tape down in this bed..

Third row, starting on the left: Spinach and onions (red and texas super sweet). That’s my very favorite spinach “Monstreaux de Viroflay,” a heritage variety from Baker Creek that I LOVE since we can’t grow any faint-hearted spinach around here during Spring planting. The leaves of this will get as big as your head and it’s vigorous. Love it. Middle pic: that enormous green mass is what will happen if you don’t cut down your cover crop of Austrian Winter peas in time! But will make compost when I clear it and meanwhile it’s provided chicken greens for weeks now. Lastly, that bare looking row has cilantro, parsley, beets and other stuff. The blank spots are from the banty hen flying over the fence and eating the chard, which apparently was her favorite and she clearly doesn’t care for cilantro. Wing feathers clipped: check.

Fourth row, far left: new strawberry bed, all June-bearers so we can net them while the berries are green…otherwise the squirrels eat them green. In the middle, the old Ozark-beauty strawberry row, which I’ll be pulling out after they bear (which they will if I go out and put the net down!). They are ever-bearers which means they keep putting out berries a little at a time, which doesn’t work if you have to net them for squirrels! So I’ve switched to June-bearers which come off in one big burst. I refuse to grow more strawberries for the squirrels than we already have…  Lastly, the ‘bad’ row. Plants don’t like this row, haven’t figured out exactly why. Will probably just cover-crop it for the season (with bee forage of course) and see if it gets better…  As you see, the garden overall is not mulched yet, and it needs to be. See: to-do list.

Bottom row left: this is one way to kill bermuda grass: weighted tarps for many weeks. This is actually a wide path (made necessary by a tree stump) right beside the new asparagus bed. Asparagus hates weeds, hence grass killing in progress. Will mulch this in a few weeks with wet cardboard covered with straw.  Boards are nice way to walk over the tarp without disturbing the snakes beneath. (Just kidding, kind of!) Next is the new Asparagus bed in it’s second spring. Asparagus key: Year one-take none. Year two-take a few (but I don’t). Year three: W00-Hee!!  Made that last one up, but you get the point. If you can be disciplined those first two years, you’ll be rewarded with really strong plants that third year. We’ve eaten Asparagus all month from the three-year old bed (not shown here) and it’s nearly time to let it grow and recover too. MMMMMMM, it’s been delicious!

And finally, last pic on the bottom right — blackberries!  They have been covered with blooms and I’m nearly drooling at the thought of berries to come. The bees have been all over them too. Thanks for taking a walkabout in the veggie patch!  What’s going on in your garden about now??

—A Larrapin Garden
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One Comment

  1. wow! soooooooooooo impressive! you go girl! i didn’t have much luck w/ my starts from seeds this yr. i started in my greenhouse (not heated but it was warm enough) but then one nite it got down to 30’s so i brought them all inside into my bedroom in front of the french doors. i also have window there so they got tons of light.but i think i should have gotten a grow light for extra warmth/light. i kept them inside a few wks and then outside to harden off. not many worked out :<( but i did do some direct seeding and also got some starts.i'm still gettn kale/chard/mustard greens/brocolli from my fall garden. just pulled out the arugula today, too spent now but i enjoyed for mos! i have cherokee and sugar orange cherry tomatoes, peas, beans, corn, japanese eggplants, cukes, jalapeno, serrano and cayenne chilies.basil, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, oregano, thyme, tarragon, marjoram, sage.the past 2 yrs my squash (zuke, yellow, acorn) all looked lush, full of flowers and then died. i think it was those squash borers that start out flying even thou i didn't see them. didn't wanna deal w/flying row covers or bt so i'm growing zuke/yellow in my greenhouse. it's not sealed so technically they could still get in but i'm hopn they don't notice ;<). i also have 3 volunteer squash growing out of my compost pile! one has huge leaves, hoping it's acorn or butternut!