Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Veggie Garden Update-April 2010

From In the Garden

I have a lot to cover in this month's vegetable garden update. But first, the picture above shows my other tree peony. It is a highly fragrant tree peony that has been growing here two years (the pink one has been here one year). The yellow one did not bloom last year but that's okay, I'll give it time. I am most happy with this one bloom this year because I can see things to come. Now on the the vegetable garden...

I think I'll start with planting the hay bales. I mentioned in last month's post I would be planting in hay bales. This is a technique I have heard of and wanted to try. My vegetable garden is finite in space and even more finite in space that gets full sun. I thought a couple of hay bales in the sunniest spot of the garden would be just the ticket for some pepper plants. As it so happened I had two hay bales left over from last fall. The first thing I had to do was remove hay in order to form a 'pot' in the hay for the plant and soil. Removing the hay was not an easy thing to do. I finally resorted to using my clippers to literally pull the hay out of the holes, kind of like extracting teeth. I pulled quite a bit of hay out too. I wanted the holes to be about the size of a quart sized pot or larger. I expect the roots of the vegetables will grow into the hay but also wanted a good sized soil area for the roots.
Once the hay was removed (two holes per bale) I added some 10-10-10 fertilizer, a layer of compost and some good garden soil. Into this went two 'Ichiban' eggplants, one sweet banana pepper and one green pepper plant. No one but me likes eggplant here but I just happen to love it so had to fit one or two plants into the garden. The cages are all in place and my little plants have nothing better to do than to grow. We'll see how it goes. The hay maintains a ton of water as anyone who has ever tried to pick up a wet hay bales knows. This moisture should help the plants sustain themselves this summer. I think it is going to work great!
Now on to the veggies. The peas all came up and are doing fairly well. I planted lettuce seedlings on the outside of the two rows of peas. We love lettuce and fresh peas in the Ramsey household.
Here is even more lettuce, along with green onions. There is more lettuce and mesclun in the coldframe that is also located in this bed. We have plenty of lettuce. Lettuce is one of the most rewarding veggies you can grow. You can pick a big bowl of lettuce in just a few minutes, then pick another big bowl of lettuce from the same plants a few days later. It is known as the 'pick and come again' vegetable in my garden. I just love it. My beds are multi purpose so please excuse the coldframe. I am leaving it in place this summer as it will not harm my plans for this bed. The A-frames are in place as you can see from the above picture. On these I will grow bushel gourds and perhaps some cantaloupe. My hope is the vines will shade the lettuce and I'll have greens for a while. We shall see. Not too optimistic with this plan because it gets so hot so fast that I don't even think shade will keep the lettuce from bolting. In the top left corner you can just barely see the hay bales. They are the ones the eggplant and peppers are planted in. The shade cast by these will not slow down the gourd seeds once I have planted them; which I'll do sometime toward the end of the month. Gourds, cucumbers and beans like it somewhat hot with a good warm soil in order to get off to a good start.
The tomato plants are planted. I may have over planted this year but after last year's dismal showing of the tomatoes you can't blame me for over compensating this year. I planted seven plants total and the varieties are: Celebrity, Early Girl, Better Boy, and Big Boy. I am not much on starting my own tomato seeds so I settle for what is available in the big box stores. I think these should do fine for us. The tomato bed is just past the round banana bed and I also planted a few in the triangular bed above.

Now to the circular bed. This is my banana bed. You may recall the 20' tall banana 'trees' growing in this bed last summer. You can see the dried stalks above in the half of the bed closest to the camera. On the other side of this bed are red cabbage that are growing fine. Well, I had issues with the bananas and contemplated moving them to another spot last summer. I could not find a good spot and so enjoyed the bananas that I left them in place. The problem with the bananas is that they shade my vegetable garden in a really big way. I left well enough alone last summer simply because I liked the bananas and they made a wonderful focal point for this large garden in the middle of my yard. There has been a change this year. Drumroll please...I have decided to remove all of the bananas from my garden.

I have decided to remove them from the vegetable garden not only because of the shade they give to the vegetables (not good for vegetables) but also I want to reduce maintenance and I want the valuable bed space for more vegetables. I will be preparing a post on removing the banana trees but just so you'll know, it is NOT an easy job. I have potted up the baby bananas and will be selling them at the MG plant sale. This bed will be graced with a handmade cedar arbor that I made from trees cut down on this lot of land. I will add annuals to the outside of the circle and either grow vines such as watermelon or cantaloupe, or beans on the arbor. At any rate I'll think of something and won't have to deal with the intense shade the bananas caused in the vegetable garden. Nor will I have to limb them up or cut them down anymore. I can't say I won't miss the bananas because I will, but it was time for a change in my garden. More editing for me I guess. It seems to be the motto for this spring at Tiger Gardens. Edit, edit, edit! Reduce maintenance!

So, that is a lot to cover with the hay, veggies and bananas. What's going on in your vegetable gardens this spring?

in the garden....

My daughter is being married to her Prince Charming this week. As such, I'll be in and out of the net with wedding festivities. I'll visit with everyone when I can. Thanks for understanding.

Please let us know how your vegetables are doing. Even if I am not here to respond, there are many interested readers who would like to hear about your vegetable gardens.

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden


  1. Wow, Tina ~ You are busy and I can't wait to see how things grow in your hay bales.

    I know what you mean about 'editing'. I'm sure someone will love your baby bananas.

    Enjoy the wedding preparations and the event itself. Don't worry about visiting in blogland. Congratulations to your daughter and her soon-to-be husband.


  2. Good Morning everyone! Sprinkle rain was all we had yesterday, Bummer as we do need rain in GA....

    Tina, you dont worry about this blog at all lady! You spend time with family as that should always be top on the list!!!!!

    I will miss your bananas but do understand why you had to let them go. The baby's will be happily placed in other gardens for people to enjoy. They are fun to watch grow as they do take off once planted in the right place.

    It will be fun to watch the progress of the haybales plantings.

    I am off to Court today as it is my one day a month time.....

  3. Tina,

    Hoping you get lots of rain, barely a drizzle here right now. Bananas you say, sorry they got let go. I just got a gallon Blood Banana for $7 I'm excited and these are the coolest foliage plants.

    Peas I did not see your peas? Meg said this I quote: "Your peas (mine that is) are better looking than any garden we have visited lately." Mine at almost sparse and 2 foot tall, hers were planted 2 weeks later are 18 inches tall and very thick.

  4. Good morning all! Heading to the bridal shower but wanted to say hey. Everyone have a great day!

  5. We are rototilling up here, not much going on until the first week of May.
    I wish for bananas up here but no such luck.
    Good luck with the wedding, I'll be there in spirit.

  6. Oh, PS. I was going to say to Skeeter, the Georgia rain made our news in terms of subsiding the pine pollen, but not to wash your car yet!

  7. Hi Tina,
    I enjoyed reading about your veggie garden. I'd not heard of planting in hay bales. I look forward to seeing how they do. I dug some flowers out of my veggie garden, and I see I have a sunflower coming up, that I may not let grow this year. The squirrels always take the whole flower heads off before the seeds are ripe and make messes with them.

    I have my post scheduled to come around 8 this morning.

    Have fun with the wedding stuff! Congratulations!

  8. Tina, congrats to your daughter!! I'm going to miss your banana tree too. Love your straw bale plantings. Hope the plant works out with the vines shading the lettuce.

  9. Congrats to your daughter. I enjoyed your veggie update. I have started a bed for the first time and planted lots of lettuce. I didn't know it could be picked and then It grows some more. I am glad to hear that, I was trying to decide when to pick. I think I'll have some tonight. Carla

  10. Well, Happy Wedding!!!
    Looking forward to hearing more of the hay bales and how well they hold up through the summer.
    Not sure if my banana is alive...waiting for some green growth.

  11. Congratulations to your daughter!

    Too bad the bananas had to go, but everyone's priorities change. I know mine do.

    I've got a ton of hay still up in the barn, I should try to plant some also.

  12. Good Morning all.
    I was under the weather harshly but on the road to mending. I've missed quite a few post but hopefully will catch up.
    Sorry about your banana plant, I understand about needing the sun. Will be interested to see the outcome of the hay bales.

    Congratulations to the fortunate couple. My best regards to them.

  13. I've never heard of growing vegetables in hay bales before, Tina, but then I always learn something new when I visit here! Sounds like a great plan, actually. Your veggie garden is really off to a good start; I've only just begun to plant mine, so it will be awhile before I join in on the 20th.

    Congratulations to your daughter! Wishing you and your family a weekend of wonderful memories!

  14. Tina, I love your hay planters. Very clever. Enjoy the wedding! I too have been removing higher maintenance plants to put in more veggies.

  15. But...that banana was so fabulous. I'll so miss it. I'm looking forward to your post about removing it. I'm thinking about dividing my banana pups so I can have more scattered about the yard. I wondered how difficult that process would be.

  16. Congratulations to the happy couple!

    Really interested in how the hay bale planters make out.

  17. Great idea with the hay bales to use as containers! I planted some sweet peppers in containers last summer and they did really well. I had a dismal year last summer with tomatoes too so I'm going to plant more this year too! I've run out of beds to plant potatoes and I just got some fingerlings from Johnny's I'm going to try putting them in containers this year like I've seen a few people do last year.

    Congrats to the happy couple this weekend! How exciting!

  18. Hi Tina -great veggie gardens. I love lettuce -it's great anytime. And, congratulations on the wedding -pictures, pictures, pictures -no forgetting the camera:)
    Hi Lola, glad you are on the mend -incredible weather up this way -cool mornings but warm afternoons -finally feels like spring:) And, not summer yet, lol.
    Have a great day! Ciao

  19. Congratulations to your daughter. I hope it's a wonderful day!

    I've never heard of planting in hay bales and I'll be interested to see how it works. Sounds like it should work well.
    I also love the idea of your new arbor. You can always grow bananas again one day if you want. That's the fun part of gardening, it's ever changing!

    Now go have fun with your family :)

  20. I planted a banana tree from seed this year but I know it will not grow here like your huge onbe did and I will have to bring it itdoors for the winter but I loved yours so I just had to do it.

    I will also try the bale of hay thingy this year as it sounds like a good idea to me. I tried the potatoes in the tires last year and it worked very well so hope this will also as it makes for more space.

  21. I really like the hay bale idea! Definitely something I will try. I am growing tomatoes, pole beans, beets, lots of lettuce - love those salads! — a few carrots as most didn't come up, sweet peppers. basil and various other herbs. And two apple trees! I will soon plant squash and lima beans. That's about it. I hope the wedding goes great!

  22. Dawn, I'll be looking forward to seeing your vegetable garden!

    Sue, Your veggie garden is doing fabulous. I am not posting links anymore in an effort to reduce my load on here but I'm always happy to come and visit. Thanks for letting me know you posted on all your vegetables.

    Lzyjo, Thanks so much. I'll miss those nanners too no doubt.

    Carla, Looks like you are doing something very right with all that lettuce.

    Janet, Thanks. give the nanner some more time-it's a coming.

    Marnie, You couldn't have said it better. My priorities and tastes have changed. Think less work:[]

    Lola, so glad you are feeling better. We missed you.

    Rose, We'll learn on the hay bales together. A neat idea I think but definitely not mine. Thanks on wedding. A really big deal for our family and one we've not experienced before, at least I haven't.

    Gloria, Thanks. Yes, high maintenance-no thanks. Your garden looks like no maintenance to me and it's all beautiful.

    Megan, I'll miss those bananas a lot too. Dividing pups is something I've done regularly but usually not too successfully. The tubers/roots go down so deep I always behead the babies:( Some occasionally live though for some of my friends. It's not easy digging these guys.

    GSS, Thanks!

    Jackie, Thanks so much. I am hoping I really like the hay bales-I'm thinking no more vegetable garden Ha! Glad to hear the peppers do well in containers.

    Anonymous, I don't know how the weather could get any better. Looking mighty good out there. See ya next week, probably Thursday. Wedding this weekend and pictures, yes. Do you remember Liz? You guys met at the Jimster's party many years ago. Neat some of my friends know her. Skeeter has met her twin but not Liz. They are really different, as I guess all people are regardless of whether they are twins. I don't need to tell you though:)

    Catherine, Yes indeed, gardening is a change all in itself every day. It's never permanent until the trees get too big but even then they aren't safe from gardeners now are they? Thanks on the wedding. We hope all goes well of course and then even better really.

    Mom, Pleasure seeing you. You look fabulous as does the rest of the family. Really weird seeing my Mainer sister in Kentucky and her two beautiful daughters so far from their home. I'm sure they'll love Kentucky and Tennessee even if we say our rrrrs and don't have an ocean:)(

    Deb, Thanks so much. Much appreciated. You know I never ever have luck with carrots. Now that my nanners are gone I may give them another try. You sound like you are off to a great start. Send your extras just north of the border pretty please?:)

  23. First of all congratulations to your daughter! A very big and happy event! You have been extremely busy in your garden. I have heard of using hay bales before, but for us unless we have a fence around it the chickens have a field day!! I have a lot of things in the greenhouse though they are slow growing with this weather lately. I planted extra of everything since a lot of times they will die when small, get scratched up by a chicken, or just not grow! Love seeing what is in everyone's gardens!

  24. Congratulations to your daughter! Best wishes to the happy couple!

    I'm looking forward to seeing how the hay bale garden works. I'm interested in trying it someday. If you have a banana baby you could spare for the plant swap I'd love to add one to the garden!

  25. Wow Tina ~ you have a HUGE weekend coming up. That's so wonderful. Congrats to everyone. What an exciting time ~ I don't know if I could have made a veggie post with something that big going on!
    Anyway, back to gardening. My mouth dropped open when I read you are taking out the bananas. Huge change. They got so enormous ~ I guess I was envious because I'm lucky if mine gets three feet high each summer before the frost comes back.
    I'm sure you thought long and hard about it tho and like others have said, you can have them again someday if you change your mind. Otherwise sounds like your veggies are off to a great start! Have a magical weekend.

  26. Aren't tree peonies great? My neighbor has some and sometimes cuts me a bouquet. Congrats on your daughter's wedding. The photos on fb look wonderful. I love your circular veggie garden in the patio--a good place for heat lovers, I bet!