Lately I’ve been working on getting everything up and running with my vegetable garden. I followed the raised bed layout I made and filled the beds several weeks ago. I’ve already planted lettuce, tomatoes, marigolds, peppers, beans, cucumbers, watermelon, catmint, and squash. In the picture to the right you can see the little cucumber sprouts popping up through the soil. They’ve been interplanted with the tomatoes.
The peppers and tomatoes I started from seed were more than ready for the garden a week ago. I used the system you see in the picture to start many of my seeds this year. I had a very high germination rate. The only vegetables I start indoors are the tomatoes and peppers, the rest I plant directly in the garden.
Some of those plants should probably have waited a week or so, like the squash and watermelon, but since the weather has been so warm and I’m planting in raised beds I decided to go ahead and plant what I could. One of the advantages to raised beds is that the soil warms up faster which allows you to plant certain plants sooner.
I am trying to use companion planting techniques to help fend off unwanted insects and improve the yield of the plants. The marigolds are a good companion plant to deter various insects. The catmint (Nepeta) is good as a pest deterrent also but this batch won’t be staying in the vegetable garden. It will eventually be transplanted to the ring around our garden and maybe some other places in the yard. I may add some basil in with the tomatoes since they are just a natural fit, or at least they are in my spaghetti sauce!
This past week I had to add a new feature to protect it from rabbits, a fence. It’s not the most attractive fence and I would much rather have wood with pickets but it will do for now. This fence will double as a trellis for many other plants.
In the far bed you can see where I have planted beans. I put together a makeshift trellis (Is it really makeshift if it works?) out of a sliding glass door window grid and a few bamboo stakes. I weaved the stakes through the frame and stuck them in the dirt and there was an instant bean trellis. In the closest bed I planted the catmint on the lower edge and marked it off with some twine. I’m not sure yet what to put in the rest of the bed but I’ll come up with something! In the corner bed I have lettuce and radishes planted. The lettuce is coming up pretty good and some should be ready in a week or two for the dinner table. It’s a Romain mixture. You can see several different color mixtures in the leaves. After all, who likes a boring salad?
In the next picture you get a bird’s eye view of the garden. If you look over to the left side of the fence you can see a spot of dirt I’ve cleared of grass. I planted some sunflower seeds there with some zinnias. They are the beginning of the circular bed. Now imagine a bed with various perennials (like salvia and Russian sage) and annuals ringing around the outside of the bed with an herb garden at the gate and a nice picket fence keeping the garden neatly in bounds. I’ll be working on the ring bed and herb garden as I can this year but the fence will have to wait. Money doesn’t grow on trees, but if it did you can bet I’d be propagating a few!