Spring Planting 2012 Part One

Spring Planting 2012 Part One

This year I’ve been expanding my vegetables beds since the Black Locusts came down allowing the sunlight to grace my entire backyard.  I wanted to get some photos up to show what I’ve been up to.  In the first photo you can see how much digging we had to do to get the new area started.  It was quite a lot of work doing it by hand, and it took several weeks to finally finish it.  It was too much trouble to get a big rota tiller, and I didn’t want to put out the extra expense either.  We were also able to take the sod from the new area to the old sandbox area where I had a big 10 x 10 ft. hole waiting to be filled back up.

After digging up the sod, turning and chopping with the shovel, we tilled the area with my little electric Remington Garden Wizard that I absolutely love.  It works great for dirt that has already been worked a bit, but of course it takes a lot longer for it to claw through thick sod, so I don’t use it for that unless I just want to till away the grass and get at the surface.  The third photo shows my son tilling the back area behind my shed.

After tilling the new area and the adjacent area I decided I wanted to bring in some Nature’s Best to add some fluff, so I brought  in a truck load and spread it out before planting.  I put up the pole bean trellis along the pathway so they wouldn’t shade anything else, and then I planted rows of tomatoes, peppers and dry bush beans.  In the area next to my blueberries I’m going to grow more cucumbers since they did so well in that area before, and I’ll try to get a little watermelon and cantaloupe to grow again.  Maybe if I get them in early enough this year they’ll have time to ripen.

This year I decided to try growing my hot peppers, eggplant and a few more tomatoes on my side bed along the arborvitae and peonies.  It gets good sun and the soil should be real good this year, so we’ll see.  We gave that area a real good tilling also and added some extra Nature’s Best (photo four).

What used to be the sandbox is now a new raised bed for some fingerling potato varieties and some yams.   Before adding all the sod that we were transferring from the other area, we dumped the compost pile I had going into the hole which had thousands of worms in it.  The compost hadn’t fully decomposed, but I figure since we will be putting so much sod on top of it that it’ll be okay.  Any gases seeping from the decomposing compost shouldn’t deplete any nitrogen higher up where I’d be setting the potatoes and planting the yams later.  When I finally got the hole filled in I constructed some 2 x 6 x 10 ft. treated boards around it for a 10 x 10 ft. raised bed.  Then I put up some green vinyl fencing to keep the chickens out.  Later I brought in a truckload of Nature’s Best to add some fluffy top soil with good tilth.  I really needed to put in two truck loads, but hopefully it’ll provide enough depth for the potatoes this year and next year I’ll add some more.

The area behind the shed is devoted to most of my cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, brusslesprouts) and the kale, chard, spinach, and more lettuce.  I set aside two small sections for a few fava beans and limas.  Behind the brusslesprouts  is a row of Mammoth Melting Snow Peas, so they have the wire fence to crawl up on.  A friend gave me some celery that I’ll try to grow as well along the edge of my cabbage patch.  Along the fence I’m going to try to get asparagus to grow.    I needed a space where I could have a perennial growing that wouldn’t occupy an area that I might want to use for something else later.  It’s not a huge area, but hopefully we’ll get a few meals out of it.  Organic asparagus is not easy to come by and it is so expensive!

It took some creative thought to figure out what I would do with the area where the Black Locusts use to be, especially since I haven’t been able to get the stubs ground out.  I still need some shade and more ambiance back there so I decided to plant three plum trees since I don’t have any in my back yard and I really need plums.  It always surprises me how expensive plums are at the grocery store, so I have to be able to grow my own to save money.  I planted one semi dwarf Toka Plum and located it in a position that would provide me shade on my back deck behind the shed without shading the growing areas.  The other two are dwarf plums, a Yellow Egg Plum and a Satsuma Plum.  It will look like a little grove of plum trees later, and in the middle I can put something ornamental, or if I’m lucky enough to get grand kids someday I can put in a little sandbox there and they’ll be able to play in the shade!   I don’t plan to ever have the humongous stub ground out, but next year I might be able to get the two smaller ones ground out, so I needed to space the new plum trees in such a way that it would give me room to access the stubs without hurting their roots.

I ended up tilling up that whole area and I couldn’t believe how nice the soil was.  Later I decided it was the perfect place to experiment with a variety of squashes, so I’ve planted  three different varieties.  A Burgess buttercup, golden acorn squash, Acorn Queen Bush, and a Northwest variety of a meat squash that I got from my neighbour.    I’ve got a spaghetti squash and butternut squash growing near my garage.  I am excited to try them all out later.  I’m interested in which ones provide the best yield, are the most disease resistant, and of course which ones taste the best and store the best over the winter.  To be honest, I never liked these kinds of squashes, but I’m going to try my darned hardest to find recipes that are tasty and low calorie.

As a prepper, I always keep in mind which foods are the easiest to store for longer periods of time and also provide good nutrition.  Should we ever have a natural disaster that affects our food supply, or God forbid should any of the other disaster scenarios occur, of which several are very plausible, I don’t want to be dependent on just canned goods, pastas, rice, and those dehydrated survival packets that have a 10 year shelf life! Ugh!

My next post, Spring Plantings 2012 Part Two,  will show how my vegetable areas have progressed over a period of 1 to 2 months.

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2 Comments to Spring Planting 2012 Part One

  1. Ron's Gravatar Ron
    July 6, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jan
    WoW have you been busy and Josh also. You have grown
    so much. sorry about your chicken you responded so well
    and such a hard way to go about it.
    I see Josh is getting taller nows the time to work his growing
    muscels to get them stronger not bigger.
    Your garden is so big i m impressed you could include some
    pictures of yourself so your followers can see whos talking to them.
    Keep up the good work and the newsletters
    I enjoy the brief look into your life you give me.

    Love always Ron

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