May 15, 2014

The Garden is Planted

The raised bed garden is planted! Well actually, like 95% planted. I would like to get another 1-2 dahlias for the flower cutting garden bed because I only have 1 bulb in there now and they were out of the small affordable ones when we were at the nursery. Considering how bad I am at keeping these alive year to year (despite the fact that I dig them up, put them in a paper bag with dry dirt, and keep them in a cool but not cold dark basement), I am not paying for the big fancy gift ones.

Other than the missing 1-2 dahlias, the flower bed is in good shape. There are zinnia and snapdragon seeds planted and thanks to the warm humid weather, I'm already seeing a few zinnias sprouting after a few days. We're already off to a better start than last year.

In the herb/lettuce/pea/green bean bed, we have basil from the nursery, transplanted oregano and thyme. I planted seeds for chives. I also wanted to buy a rosemary to put back here, but they were out of small ones and I didn't want to buy an expensive big bush. I'm also on the fence about planting rosemary back here - it might be nice to have it as a bush in one of the perennial garden beds or in a nice pot and actually let it grow.

We also have peas growing rapidly from seed are are about to start climbing. My first planting of lettuce is taking shape and my second planting is sprouting. I've also planted rainbow lights swiss chard again and that's sprouting as well. I did the first planting of green beans too. Once the peas are grown and done I'll do more in the summer.

The vine bed this year is cucumbers (on a trellis), musk melons (on a trellis) and watermelon, all from seed. We tried watermelon once before and it was a disappointment of rotting fruit, but we're trying again. I heard that lifting the fruit up off the ground really helps, so we'll see. We're deliberately skipping squash and zucchini this year to try to help break the cycle of squash vine borers. I also decided to move my carrots over from the over-crowded herb/pea/bean/lettuce bed to give myself more room over there. The watermelon might choke them out, but I thought it was worth a try.

In the tomato bed we have 12 tomatoes and some marigolds. The tomatoes are all from seed, unlike last year we were able to keep Oliver from destroying them. I've over-planted again, but last year when I had the "perfect" number, it was such a bad year for the garden that the plants were stringy anyways. This year I decided to go back to the higher number and let them crowd each other. We have Chadwick cherry, sweet 100s cherry, yellow pear, bloody butcher, Italian paste, green zebra, pink ponderosa, purple cherokee, brandywine, arkansas traveler, big boy and zapotec.

After hardening the seedlings off for a week (getting them used to being outside), I planted them as deeply as I could in the beds. I dug each hole all the way down to the bottom where the wire mesh is and put them in. This will give them the best root system possible, tomatoes can sprout roots from their stems!

Lastly I bought 3 peppers for the patio pots (with plenty of fresh dirt in the pots since peppers are nightshades and nutrient hogs). We're doing an orange bell and a red bell pepper in the big pot and a jalapeno in the smaller one.

As for the fruits in our garden - the raspberry, blackberry and blueberry bushes are leafing. The strawberries are flowering. The lemon and lime trees survived the winter of pesticide-resistant aphids and are officially outside for the season. Now the squirrels are stealing my limes again (ugh). The mint is up and taking over. The rhubarb is finally becoming a healthy size and I'm hoping for a harvest. And the fig tree... well... I'm not sure. They always leaf late so it's hard to tell if it survived the coldest winter we've had in like 20 years. We've had some serious damage to much hardier zone friendly plants. We'll see. If not I'm going to try one last time and order a Chicago Hardy Fig - I've read that those can survive up to -15 and come back year after year. I want some figs darn it!


  1. I envy your garden. It looks great. I was told along the way to put plants like watermelon and squash on a straw bed to keep them drier. It seemed to work.

  2. Alissa, your garden is an inspiration! I let life get in the way of my gardening for the last two years and just today started reviving my square foot garden raised beds. I'm coming back here for more inspiration to keep me going!

  3. Thank you! That's so nice of you both to say. I'm hoping this year is better than last for gardening.

    I will definitely have to keep straw in mind for my melons! Fingers crossed they grow well. :)