|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