Early Summer Veggie Garden

Here are a few pics of the veggie garden beds, they look pretty wild, and I have a few issues with bugs, viruses, and shade but have collected lots of bush beans, tomatoes, mustard greens, anda couple cucumbers. I don’t have much time to put into the garden to remedy my issues, it’s been raining ALOT and  I have to keep turning off the drip irrigation timer. I try to go out there for 5 minutes or so everyday to pick weeds and harvest. My neighbor sourced some straw from a friend’s farm and I am really intrigued with deep mulching methods. Unfortunately the hay had seeds in it so weeds are popping up, I try to pull them so they don’t go to seed and become a continuous problem. In the fall I plan to mulch with shredded leaves since we have leaves in abundance with all the trees.

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Speaking of trees, I have a sweet gum tree whose leaves are a radiant kaleidoscope of color in the fall that I adore but is shading the beds from the west and my neighbor has a lovely pecan tree shading my garden on the east. My neighbor actually kindly trimmed some of the branches that were hanging over the beds yesterday. Nonetheless, I will probably have the gum tree removed next spring and build even more raised beds. Ultimately, I want a backyard that is low maintenance, high yield and keep all the trees to the periphery. I already have peach, plum, 2 banana, and an orange tree back there so don’t feel too guilty for eventually removing some mature trees that are problematic for the vegetable garden. We will still have plenty of mature trees in the very back of yard. That won’t b3 until next spring though, when our landscaping budget recovers. Anyway, here are a few more pics of the veggie beds, I had to snap them quick, the mosquitoes were swarming!

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Seedlings and Sprouts

So its been about 3 weeks since I last posted update on the new raised garden beds.  I didn’t have the mental clarity to be super organized and plant according to the square foot gardening method and really just tried to plant stuff in a reasonably spaced way (but still intensively).
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The bed on the left side, Station 1, has 5 zones, approximately 4 sq. ft each and numbered 1-5, front to back.  In zone 1 I have some mustard greens, and a few random seedlings that I haven’t taken the time to identify exactly, zone 2- yellow squash, eggplant, and cucumber, zone 3-crimson sweet watermelon, zone 4- abe lincoln tomato and cucumber, zone 5- tightly packed corn that I have staggered 3 batches by 2 weeks difference, I would say approximately 30-35 corn in 4 sq. ft.
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The bed on the right side, Station 2, also has 5 zones, but the front one is 4 sq ft, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th zone are 4’x6′, and the 5th zone is actually the part connecting to Station 1 way in the back, it is 2’x4′. Zone 1 is compost, Zone 2 is sweet potatoes, small white potatoes, and red potatoes, Zone 3 is All Sweet watermelon, and Zone 4 is Peppers, Okra, and Eggplant, Zone 5 is Zucchini and Tomato.
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Some of the seeds may not have come up or been poorly so I plucked them up when I was thinning. Being inexperienced I am not sure what is what, and will just wait and see. I’ve been mulching with grass clippings and currently need to spread it thinner. I plan to mulch the potatoes with mostly leaf mold as soon as its dry enough to rake some up in the back of my yard. We have had extremely heavy rain on a regular basis here in Houston for the month of April and I have turned off the drip irrigation for the most part.

In the next few weeks I will continue mulching and will be putting together some type of trellis structure for most of the trailing vegetables. I hope to use mostly tree branches from some pruning we did to our mature trees to build them and possibly twine or metal wire. I have already spent so much money on soil and amendments this year that I would like to not spend another penny on those garden beds this year, I may have to get creative:)

Raised Garden Beds

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The past few weeks we have been getting our raised garden beds together. I built two 22ft x 4ft boxes, going lengthwise north to south. They are running parallel to each other and are spaced 4 ft apart. I will attach them with a 4ft by 2 ft box at the south end. I have installed drip line irrigation on a timer.

How they were constructed:

The first, most eastern box, was constructed using 40 cinderblocks which costs a total of $60, so that the internal dimensions are approximately 4x20ft. The second was constructed using 2×4 braces and cedar fencing boards, these materials were salvaged and free:) I used weed blocking lining paper and recycled cardboard to line the bottom of the cinderblock bed and the wooden bed has no lining since it is 18″ deep.

How they were filled:

The cinderblock bed was first filled with as much homemade compost and leaves as we had, which only filled the bed 1/3 of the depth. The rest of the depth was filled with 2 ($22 each) bags of vermiculite, 15 ($2 each) bags of manure humus, and 2 ($8 each) bags of peat moss.

The wooden bed was filled with yard waste and compost to about 1/2 the depth. I plan to fill them 3/4 of the way with manure and then top them off with homemade potting mix.

How they were irrigated:

I used SoakerPro System ($25) an additional 25ft line ($10) and this Orbit watering timer ($45).

Today the plan is to finish constructing the compost bin that will be at the northern end of the wooden bed and the 2×4 ft bed that will connect the two beds at the southern end. I will also go buy about 20 bags of manure and fill the beds with them. I will also start some more seedlings today.