Spring Planting 2012 Part Two

Spring Planting 2012 Part Two

These photos show the vegetable beds a few weeks later during the 1st week of July.  After some very rainy but warm weather some very quick growth has set in.  I love the period of June in early summer when it warms up but keeps raining here in the Willamette Valley.  After that first month when no growth happens, all of a sudden the plants explode with growth.  It’s like you can practically see the plants growing if you stand there long enough.  It’s wonderful!

It’s fun to be creative in the garden and try to construct different things to add some interesting ornamentation that is also practical.  I took some of the leftover wood from my broken down arbor and rotten gothic fence posts and built a little trellis for my climbing cucumbers. It worked out great!

Where my largest Black Locust tree stood, I paid homage to it by keeping a few of the pieces and making myself a little sitting area with some shade from the parasol.  A little tacky maybe, but fun for now.

It took about 9 bales of straw to cover most of the beds.  I’ve covered everything with straw to give the beds some good mulch that will help keep moisture in and reduce the need for watering so often over the next two hot months of summer.   I’m hoping we don’t get that horrible heat wave happening  in other parts of the country right now, but the temperatures will be close to 90 degrees this next week.  I haven’t fully converted to the Ruth Stout method  yet, but this year I plan to really commit and no longer rota till the ground level vegetable beds.  I’ll continue to till the raised beds however, since the areas where I plant the parsnips, carrots and other root vegetables need a looser soil that goes deeper to allow for the longer carrot and parsnip roots to grow downward.

The reason I hadn’t converted over to the Ruth Stout method yet is because I wasn’t at that stage where my beds and soil were in the kind of shape I wanted them to be.  Now that the Black Locusts are gone and all the beds and growing areas are pretty much established for the future, I think now the time is right.  I will not throw anymore of my vegetable matter into the compost (not talking about my kitchen scraps), rather I will leave it all on the garden beds where they fall.  I will cover everything this fall with leaves, and next spring I’ll add hay, not straw.  Ruth Stout used hay because she thought it was more nutritious. When planting time comes I’ll hoe up narrow rows only where I will plant my seeds and starts after I add some manure, and then let nature takes its course.

Who Needs a Compost Pile?

In the book “The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book by Ruth Stout and Richard Clemence, Ruth said that she didn’t feel a need to have a compost pile because she just threw everything onto her garden, but the reason I still want to keep a compost pile going is because I love the concentration of worms that you can get from them.  I don’t really see a need to grow red wigglers in a plastic container when you can get so many of them and other worms in a good compost pile.  The natural vermiculture method that a friend of mine showed me seems to me to be the easiest and most sensible way to get worms going in areas where you want extra worm poop and more microbial growth, especially in your raised beds.

Dig two deep holes about a foot or two in diameter at each end of the bed and one in the middle.  Dig all the way down to ground level.  Fill up the holes halfway with the compost full of worms.  Cover with some grass clippings, and then cover back up with the existing soil.  Voila!  You have several worm colonies ready to go to work in your raised bed, enriching your soil and keeping it loose and nutritious.

Just google Ruth Stout to get plenty of good articles on her and suggestions for books at Amazon.com. Here’s a real quick pdf on Ruth Stout and her method that’s easy to print out:


If you want a really in-depth instructional guide to vermicomposting and vermiculture, I don’t think you can beat this one:


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3 Comments to Spring Planting 2012 Part Two

  1. Ron's Gravatar Ron
    July 7, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Once again WOW you are in your element
    lots of pictures i feel like i m there good job

    Love Ron

    ps when you dig a hole you dont dig down to ground level
    thats where you start LOL

  2. Mia's Gravatar Mia
    July 10, 2012 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Happy, verdant garden Jan! I hope to see it some time!

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