Our spring has been exceptionally cool and damp with only one week of temps above 65F. It’s lush and green here! While I eagerly await the full bloom some warmth will bring to peonies and roses, there’s plenty to enjoy in the perennial beds and harvest in the veggie garden. Yesterday while watering pots of tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers in the greenhouse (which was a cozy 85F), I looked out at all this growth and realized it’s time for an update.
The biggest change to this fenced area this year is the addition of four new 3’x8′ raised beds in what used to be one of two small fields. We made the decision to add the beds because we were tired of fighting persistent drainage issues, bindweed, and grassy weeds. Starting with heavy-duty landscape fabric topped by three inches of alder chips, Hubby constructed the beds nice and high — appropriate for two gardeners soon to enter their 60s. Here he is in early March working on the first layer of the beds.
The field that before held various squashes, cukes, and way too many weeds, is now much easier to manage.
This area of the garden contains 18 raised beds all on drip irrigation from well water. If you’re bored by long lists of varieties stop now, but here’s what’s growing in 2020: 2 beds of Shuksan and Tristar Strawberries; 1 bed at entry for flowers, including unidentifieded dahlia tubers and apricot stock; 2 of Yukon Gold, Yukon Gem, and Dark Red Norland Potatoes; 1 of Zuleima Kraut Cabbage, Astro Arugula, and Olympic Hybrid Spinach; 1 of Red Swiss Chard with Red Leaf and Romaine Lettuce; 1 of Danvers, Imperator, and Nantes Carrots; 1 of Stuttgarter Onions; 1 of Apollo Broccoli and Broccoli Rabe; 1 of Chioggia and Golden Beets with Sparkler White Tip and Watermelon Radishes; 1 of Tom Thumb Dwarf Peas with Red Malabar Spinach and Romaine Lettuce; 1 of Lacinato, Redbor, White Russian, and Winterbor Kale; 1 of Snow Crown Cauliflower with Astro Arugula and Ringmaster Onions; 1 of Duganski and German Red Garlic; 1 of Giant Musselburgh Leeks with Walla Walla Onions; 1 of Roodnerf Brussels Sprouts and Tiara Cabbage with Ringmaster Onions; 1 of Fava Beans with Broccoli Rabe.
The two trellis areas contain more peas and beans. This year I’m growing Alderman, Sugar Anne Snap, and Oregon Sugar Pod Peas. Chilly temps and over-enthusiasm means I’ve started green beans twice this spring. I’m growing Kentucky Wonder, Blue Lake, Scarlet Runner, and Cannelini Beans. We shall see which ones thrive! Normally by the end of summer these completely cover their trellis.
The remaining small field beside the beans holds some struggling zucchini and pumpkins, including Long Island Cheese, Winter Luxury, and Baby Boo. I have dotted extra kale plants everywhere there’s space, since there’s never too much kale for our chickens.
We’ve covered up the former test garden and front side of the veggie garden fence where I grew some lilies and gladiolas in years past. Creeping buttercup weed was way too comfortable in the boggy soil downhill from our garden shed and conquered everything else. Here’s how we solved that issue for the foreseeable future with pots of sweet peas (Lathyrus), leaf lettuces, and a trellis all set for cucumbers to climb:
The veg garden is bordered on one side by our long raspberry trellis which is buzzing with pollinators and by the small orchard which boasts thousands of tiny fruits.
On the opposite side of the veg garden tucked into a corner, a newly-planted David Austin climbing rose, ‘Graham Thomas’, is looking heathy. We’ll need some warmth for it to bloom!