Cleaning Up The Home Garden For 2014

red peppersWell everything in our vegetable garden has been picked. The last of my pepper plants have been picked clean and now on the windowsill turning bright red. I roasted some with the supper I made last night. So tasty.

Once I was done picking the last of the veggies I started pulling out plants for the compost bin and then I started turning over a section of garden that only had sunflowers in it and had not been tilled last spring.

I turned over two rows using the garden fork. It was fairly easy but then I hit a spot that was as solid as rock. When I hit that with my garden fork the shock wave went up my left leg and nearly brought me to tears. Now I can barely walk.

It is a little better today so I’m thinking I will be fine by the weekend but I won’t be doing any walking and taking photos for a few days.

last of the peppers

Transplanting Mid Summer – DOH!!

raised bed gardenI am in my 60s and still have a great memory but I have to say that spring and summer 2014 has to be the strangest I can remember. Our vegetable garden was just a big rectangular mud hole.

The spring rain started, of course, but then it just wouldn’t stop. Before the garden could drain and dry there was more rain. You can read about our spring conditions here.

Ooops Veggies Way Too Close Together

The first raised bed of tomatoes is doing fine but the second raised bed was looking way too crammed for space. The crappy looking peppers and tomatoes I bought grew like weeds once they were in the raised beds and before long I realized they were way over crowded and the tomatoes had completely covered up the peppers.

I decided to try and transplant the peppers as I was sure they wouldn’t survive being covered up in the tomatoes.

Transplanting Our Green Peppers

green peppers in raised bedI built a third raised bed and put this one right on the lawn between two flower beds I started last year.

Because I put it directly on the lawn I put black landscape cloth under the bed to keep the grass from growing through the bed and then filled it with organic mulch and garden soil we bought earlier in the spring.

Jenny and I started by adding an inch of organic compost in the bottom and then mixed in an inch or two of garden soil. Then we almost filled the bed with garden soil we had purchased in the spring.

I dug up the pepper plants and Jenny moved them the new bed where I quickly got them back in the ground. Even going as fast as we did it only took about 10 minutes for the pepper plants to start looking dead. I gave them water twice a day and just two days they were already looking better than they did when I transplanted them.

Transplanted A Row of Yellow Pear Tomatoes

Once we had transplanted the green pepper plants from their original bed I could see just how close together I had planted the Yellow Pear tomatoes. So while I was in the transplanted mood I decided to move one row of tomatoes to the spot the peppers had been in.

I planted size of the tomato plants and still had two left so I put those two into separate flower pots big enough for them. A very risky move I know but I was certain they would produce very little if I left them crammed together so tightly.

They looks so sad by the time I was done and for the following three days. Didn’t think they were going to make it but still felt it was the best choice if we want some Yellow Pear chutney this winter.

This morning which is 5 days later they are starting to look better and very few withered leaves so I’m thinking they are going to produce some tomatoes after all.

Mother Nature Nearly Beat Me Out of My Summer Vegetable Garden

raised bedSo it’s the last day of June 2014 today and my vegetable garden is looking pretty sad. We’ve had so much rain that it’s been under water or so muddy I couldn’t work in it at all.

We had a few days of dry weather and sun so I did get the first 8 feet of the north end tilled and then I added the first 4 x 8 foot raised bed and got two rows of tomatoes planted.

No soon had I planted the last tomato plant the skies opened up and flooded the rest of the garden but my new raised bed and the tomatoes looked just fine. That was the first week of June so things are really late. Hope we have a warm Autumn so we get to enjoy what I have just planted.

I added a pretty thick layer of mulch around the new raised bed so we could walk on the dark mulch instead of sinking in the mud. Worked great but I will need to add more mulch once I have what it there tramped down. Was great walking around the raised bed once that mulch was there.

A Week Later

It was an entire week before I was able to start working the second 8 foot section of the garden so I could build and place the second raised bed. I had to work in the rain to get it completed but I did. For this section I used plywood under my feet to keep from sinking in the muddy soil.

I got it done and added green peppers and yellow pear tomatoes before I was forced out of the yard by the pouring rain. I didn’t even get the chance to surround it with mulch like the first one. I’ll get to that once I can get back in the garden.

Planting Flowers In The Veggie Garden

I’m a bit sad that we are so late getting things going this year but I will get it finished before next spring and that makes me happy because we should not need to worry about flooding any longer.

The fact that we have raised beds now means we can cover the top of the beds with plastic in the early spring and heat the soil so we can plant earlier than we ever had. We can even turn the beds into little green houses in case we encounter frost. Getting exciting already.