Blog Archives

Spacing in Raised Beds

We planted many of our spring vegetable seeds last week, and I planted a few more this week. Mostly beets (Red Ace & Chioggia), carrots (Yellow Sun), and some Asian greens (mustards).

After looking at what we planted several times last week, and then measuring the space between the rows, I decided to plant a couple more rows in between what was already planted.

The seed packets for the beets and carrots said to plant with 12-18″ between the rows, and we left 18″. Usually I’m an advocate for following directions and spacing things appropriately. After all, planting your tomatoes too close together is a recipe for disaster. But…there really is no reason that beets and carrots need that much space. Their leaves grow mostly upright, and the roots will not spread out to 9″ on either side of the row. Really, they won’t. The only thing that much space gets us is more weeds to pull out from between the rows when the plants are still tiny. Any extra moisture the additional rows will use will be countered by the fact that the closer spaced rows will shade the soil and prevent evaporation.

So…one more row of Red Ace beets (After 23 years of eschewing beets, in the last few years I’ve decided that they are one of my favorite vegetables). Also, two more rows of Yellow Sun carrots, interplanted with the rest of the Cherriette radishes. The idea of interplanting is that the radishes will mark the row for the carrots and keep the weeds down while the carrots are working on their slow germination process. Then the radishes are harvested and the carrots can take over the space! I’m going to be interested to see how this particular space saving technique works out.

I can tell you one thing though…we are going to have a bumper crop of radishes in the Family of 4 Garden this year!

Getting Started in the Family of 4 Garden

Yesterday was our first work day out in the Demo Garden. It was beautiful yesterday, and we had lots to accomplish. I’ll be posting about several of the different things we did throughout the week.

One of our priorities was getting the Family of 4 garden started for the spring.

We started out by cleaning up all the weeds and working in the straw remnants from last year.

Then we worked in compost, followed by a very low rate of fertilizer. Our soil test last year indicated that we didn’t need phosphorus and potassium – just nitrogen. The compost and organic matter will probably provide the necessary nitrogen later on, but right now the soil is so cold that some extra nitrogen and phosphorus is going to help our little seedlings.

Then we had to mark out what was going to be planted where. We discovered that we were maybe a little over-zealous in trying to fit things into the garden this year, so I think the onions may get dropped from our planting plan. (For that reason and the fact that I forgot to go buy any plants.)

We planted Cherriete and Easter Egg Radishes, Tyee Spinach, and Wildfire Lettuce Mix on the south end of the garden. We also planted some more radishes and transplanted some leftover lettuce from the garden show into the area where we will have tomatoes in May. No reason to leave that space empty!

The Tomato Garden

We always have one garden that is primarily tomatoes. This year, the tomatoes are growing in our 27″ high raised bed, so we thought that we should demonstrate using compact tomato plants. Then we went crazy and decided we’d show what happens if you plant taller tomato plants! Remember to stop by this summer and see our tomatoes headed toward the roof!

New Garden Plans

If you look up to the top of the page, there is a new tab called “Garden Templates.” There are 21 different garden templates that you can use to jump-start your garden planning for this spring!

These garden plans are all 4 ft x 8 ft gardens, ideally designed to be raised beds. They certainly aren’t perfect, but if you are looking for a little help in figuring out how you should plan your garden, they might be just what you need.

Family of 4 Garden Update

July 23 006Just a quick update to let you know what’s going on in our Family of 4 Garden this week. We harvested 2 tomatoes on Tuesday  totally 12 oz. (1 each of Fabulous and First Light) We also picked another pound of peppers and pulled a bunch of carrots.

This morning I went out for a stroll around the garden and discovered that there are 4 First Light tomatoes ready to pick, and 1 Fabulous! (+1 First Light thathas been munched on by a squirrel or rabbit.) The tomatoes are coming on just right for display at Tomato Day this weekend. We won’t pick those tomatoes until after the event is over.

Anyway, the harvest to date brings us up to $118.84 for the year.