Monday, May 21, 2012

Growing Garden


Here are some pictures I took of the garden on the 16th of May. I have since added 8 tomato plants and 6 green pepper plants. I am trying companion planting this year such as with the lettuce, radishes and carrots planted together in a couple of boxes. The tomatoes are planted next to the asparagus as companions because the tomatoes produce a chemical which detracts asparagus beetle and asparagus produces a chemical that kills the nematodes that may feed on tomatoes. I’m also trying the three sisters’ method of planting with corn, climbing beans, and a few different varieties of squash and pumpkins. Sunflowers and cucumbers will be planted together because the sunflowers shade the cucumbers. 

The potatoes were affected by the frost and the first row I planted actually has the smallest plants. The middle and left row are Kennebec potatoes which grow well for this area. The variety is highly resistant to blight. So far this year, I have not had a major problem with potato beetles. It is a yellow and black beetle that likes to munch holes in the leaves. Wikipedia says it became resistant to DDT in the 1950’s and other insecticides have been used, but the potato beetle has developed resistance to all of them. The two that I have observed were immediately flicked off and killed by rock-squishing because they are not resistant to that method of extermination yet. I dug up a few plants to see how “done” the potatoes are, but the potatoes were small. I did get a couple meals so far. When a potato plant develops flowers it means it is time to dig them up if you want what is called “new potatoes.” New potatoes have a thin skin and are much more flavorful than if you wait until the potato stalks have dried up and died.

The above picture is of newly emerged peanut beans. It is a half-runner which means it needs about 3ft of climbing room. This year I will plant 5 different kinds of beans. I have already planted several rows of Bluelake bush beans and greasy beans. I also planted something we call magic purple beans which is a kind of butter bean. I have no idea of the actual name of the bean because it is a local variety. Beans are great because they have a symbiotic relationship with a nitrogen fixing bacteria which means it adds nitrogen to the soil reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers.

2 comments:

  1. Wow, your garden looks great! Ours is very small and isn't in a very good location...too much shade I think. Maybe next year I can find a better spot. I see your cats like your garden too! Every time I go to work in ours my cat follows and wallows everywhere. She has sat down on several beans :( I have to make sure she is inside before I garden!

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  2. The cats are annoying because they chase each other and run over the plants. This garden is around 1900sqft. I'm going to measure it again to make sure. I planted a bunch of beans this year because they are one of the easiest crops to store.

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