Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Uber Urban Farmer

Well, we planned on having two garden beds but with work, a kid and a yard that needs a lot of attention the second raised bed only has the 5 sunflowers I planted, dozens of maple saplings, and the wild garlic growing in it. The first raised bed came out nicely though. But still will need work.

The bed is a mount of dirt about three to three and a half feet high, 6 feet wide by 10-12 feet long depending how you measure this ovalish bed. The beds are designed around a landscape that took into account vertical, horizontal and curving lines.

I was impressed with the insect diversity. We had insect eating ladybug and wasps everywhere. There were at least 3 types of bees. I saw a variety of other insects too. I did not have a slug issue. I think it might of been because the bed was raised and did not stay moist. Also the sharp hairs on the pumpkin vines were everywhere. The hairs would of made it impossible for the slug to glide its soft body across them.

I did have a technique when planting. I wanted the garden to block the view straight into our back yard, hence the raise bed. I also wanted to intermingle the plants. I am not into monoculture. The main part of the mount including three side hosted the three types of sunflowers. I clustered them by variety Mammoth at the top, Yellow Heirloom around one side and the Red Heirloom around the other side/top. I then planted pole beans at their base. Two beans per sunflower. The bean grew up the sunflower using it as a trellis. The beans also provided nitrogen in the soil for the other plants. Then for a ground covering and then some I planted a squash...pumpkins for later use at Jake-o-lanterns. This worked out relatively well. Next time I will give the sunflowers a few more weeks head start before transferring the beans into the ground next to them. All plants were grown from seeds.

My spouse sequestered a flatter section of the garden (on the end) for his plantings. He grew a packet of seed that had mixed lettuces. He also had 4 kinds of rather hot peppers and celontro. All from seeds. I was beginning to think that he had adopted the four varieties as long lost children. Luckily our real daughter squeaked into the number one spot. But it was close at times.

There are still fresh beans on the vines. I let some of them dry there to collect later. I will see if I can get them to grow next year. Our harvest so far includes the following.

100 pole beans - Kentucky red and a green variety
52 plants of celontro - herb
7 pepper with a dozen more on the plants (habenero, jalepeno, peruvian heritage, cayenne)
4 the equivalent of four pre mixed salad packages you get from the store
3 dozen sunflowers - red heirloom, yellow heirloom and mammoth
2 pumpkins on their vines

dozens of gone wild lemon balm
dozens of wild garlic

The only thing that didn't make it was the tomatoes. Never even left the pots. Next year.

Things I will change:

1. Get the composter working
2. Get a Rain Barrel
3. Frame in the raised beds

I would like to point out no synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or the such were allowed in my garden. The few 30 lb bags of soil we introduced to the garden, well my spouse's part of the garden was organic, bought fromUrban Roots but was sourced from a farm in our area. All our seeds, pots, etc were all from Urban Roots

1 comment:

Corso Family said...

I didn't realize you guys had a veggie garden growing out back. We will have to check it out next time we see you.

I like the pole beans growing on the sunflowers idea.

Great blog by the way, except that it may keep me from getting my work done ;)