Hey, friends! It’s one of my favorite days every year when we get to plant the garden. I mean honestly, let’s face it – I love planning the garden, I like prepping the garden despite my fights with Troy, I like planting the garden, I like harvesting the garden—you get the idea. This time of year while we have been harvesting some early items like onions, chives, asparagus, and jerusalem artichokes, we’ve also been watching the fruit trees bloom and some of our seeds start to germinate.
The pear tree has started showing signs of life, though we’re still waiting to get fruit. I believe we planted this about three years ago but only planted a second pear tree last year. Here’s to hoping this is the year we get some little pears off of it, though we may have to wait another year or two.
We also added some infrastructure to the garden this year to help with pests, and to maximize our space. First we put up the hoops we built (and a few more we bent recently), and covered them with Agribon. Underneath of these are our greens we direct sowed. We covered them because we didn’t want the seeds to wash away when it rained. We have since moved the center one over our cucumbers we planted. We’re doing a test where we planted the same cucumbers open, and some under the Agribon so we can see how much of a difference it makes when it comes to cucumber beetle damage.
To help save space we also built a vertical grower. The more I read about vertically growing cucumbers/squash the more I decided I really wanted to give it a try. Using some 1/2″ galvanized pipe, I came up with a basic design and screwed everything together. This admittedly is hand tight and isn’t the best way I could have put it together but it works. Once our plants are established and need training, we’ll be stringing twine from the center post and staking it down to each plant to encourage them to grow vertically.
Finally, we’ve always used wood posts to stake up our beans and tomatoes. This year however I decided to invest in t-posts. They’re really affordable at Tractor Supply (and I’m sure plenty of other places). I like them because they have hooks right on them to stringing multiple rows of twine very easy. We’ll likely be getting some more for our tomatoes. We prefer not to cage our tomatoes for easier harvest, but I really like the idea of having a t-post I can use year after year that has hooks which will make it easier to tie the plants up. We may stick with wood for the tomatoes though, as it’s pretty easy to tie them to the post.
At the time I took these photos (about a week ago) the beans hadn’t quite popped through the surface, but I can tell you that right now there are a TON of them that have surfaced. We are going to be in serious bean mode if all of these germinate and produce! The end of these two rows (closest in the photos) are a new french bean we’re trying to grow. My plan for those is to actually let them dry right on the stalks and then thresh them later on to get dried beans from. We’ll see if the weather cooperates (I don’t want them rotting). If not, we’ll eat them or blanch and freeze them.
All in all, this years garden is all about experimenting. Trying new infrastructure, diversifying our drops to help with disease and pest management, and trying to maximize our space. Our garden last year was nice but we didn’t get anything to preserve, so the goal this year among everything else is to attempt to get plenty of produce to “put up” for the winter.
We’ve already vacuum sealed and froze some green onion tops, so we’re already ahead of the game!