Urban Homesteading on a Small City Lot: Its a Jungle Out There

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Its a Jungle Out There

I have seven 8 feet by 4 feet raised garden beds.  I have decided to show you, one by one, each of them and how full to bursting they are with plants.  I have tried very hard to keep things under control and not over crowd things, but you will see that things are getting crazy.  I kinda like a bit of crazy, though.

From front to back:

Raised Bed #1

4 types of potatoes and one tomato plant

On the other side there is a buckwheat plant that escaped.  They are kinda pretty, with heart shaped leaves

and beautiful sprays of delicate white and pink flowers.

Raised Bed #2

Garlic, yellow onions, carrots, lettuce, broccoli, brussel sprouts and peas. The peas and broccoli will be pulled out later today and some tomatoes will go in.

This picture shows the peas on a homemade trellis of plum tree prunings.

Raised Bed #3

3 types of kale, garlic, sweet onions, carrots, celery, two tomato plants and romaine lettuce.

This picture shows the last of the romaine lettuce. It is about to go to seed.  I will have to use it or lose it this week.  The three types of kale up close:

Raised Bed #4

Seven tomato plants, one zucchini plant, a row of three types of cucumbers on a trellis, two Cinderella pumpkin vines.

A picture from the other side shows the pumpkins.  I found and killed a squash bug already. I then spent a half hour looking over every inch of every squash and pumpkin leaf in the garden for eggs. I really hate those things.  They suck the life right out of your vines.

I have pruned them to single vines.  They are crawling on the ground towards the fence.  I will let them branch out now.

Here you can see the cucumbers.  They are just reaching the trellis now.  They are having a bit of trouble with aphids, but are doing okay. I am a bit worried that one of the varieties of cucumbers I planted is a bush variety and will not grow up the trellis well.

 These four plants are still only about 6 inches tall.

Raised Bed #5

2 tomato plants, five gourd vines, two warty pumpkins, seven okra plants, and several bush beans.  The beans are cranberry beans.  I recently planted some edemame beans in the empty areas where the cranberry beans didn't come up. They are supposed to grow as a bush also.  They haven't come up yet.

From the other side you can see one of the warty pumpkin plants.  The other is planted next to the trellis.  I am trying to see if I can grow it up the trellis.  This one in the picture is getting pruned for single vine growth just like the Cinderella pumpkins in bed # 4 until it reaches the ground towards the fence.

This is where the Hansel eggplant is.

The gourds are growing up the trellis like pros with almost no help from me.  I have to tuck wayward branching vines back into the trellis to keep them from reaching across to the cucumber trellis or the tomato cage sometimes.  I think I will start trimming those branches off soon.  The plants are getting very large.

This one has reached and passed the top of the trellis.

Raised Bed #6

This bed has been the experimental bed from the start. At one point I had about twenty purple cabbages in here.  I have thinned that down to two.  There three green cabbages left now that I have picked one, about five fingerling golden potato plants, a row of fava beans, two tomato plants and several volunteer dill plants.  There are a few celery plants and cilantro, but frankly I haven't seen them lately.  They may have been crowded out by the potatoes.

The is where I picked the cabbage.  The other three look ready to pick as well.  The purple cabbages haven't started making heads yet.

The other eggplant is next to this bed.

Raised Bed #7

This will ultimately be a strawberry bed with only strawberries, but right now it has a few herbs, a cabbage, a raspberry, and a few fava been plants, also.  I plan to build a raised bed in the back just for herbs later this year.

Every one of the beds also has some marigolds and nasturtiums planted to attract pollinators and beneficial insects.  I also want to make the garden pretty with lots of color.

I have 7 and a half pots full of pepper plants of different varieties: rainbow mixed bell peppers, cayenne, Hungarian wax, jalapeno, and Serrano.

The mint plant we use for mojitos is doing very well despite the fact that we have been drinking a few mojitos already.

Along with the raised beds and pots we also have this large bean trellis and hills of pumpkins, squash and corn in the back yard that we haven't landscaped yet. There are two more Cinderella pumpkins, two more warty pumpkins, a kabocha squash, and three butternut squash.  The trellis has one side planted with scarlet emperor runner beans, and the other with regular pole green beans.  The pole green beans have been really hard hit by the earwigs. I have replanted the missing ones twice. The scarlet runners are less susseptable for some reason and are really going to town.  You can see them in the left of this picture reaching up over 2/3 the way to the top of the trellis.  The trellis is almost eight feet tall.

Here you can see the painted mountain corn.  I have planted pole beans three times now for the three sisters garden experiment.  The earwigs keep eating them off before they get a chance to get started.  This last time I covered them with potting mix, planted half scarlet runner beans and added some pellet fertilizer. I really want them to grow. After those come up I will plant a pumpkin in each center.

This corn is planted in rows around the compost to hide it from view.  It is about knee high.  What is that old saying? Knee high by the Fourth of July? Well, I am two weeks early, so I guess that is good.

The compost is doing  pretty well.  The stuff on the edges doesn't break down like the stuff in the middle, but I have stirred it three times and added more stuff in layers of carbon and nitrogen on top.  The stuff in the middle and bottom is probably ready to use, but I will leave it until after harvest this fall and keep adding to it.

You can see from these pictures that the garden has become a huge jungle.  I am still watering it each night by hand, which is a bit of a pain, but it is my me time.  I kind of enjoy getting out there at twilight and just mindlessly watering for a while. It helps me unwind.  Sometimes my hubby comes out and brings me a beer, and we chat about our day.  That is also very nice.  Twice now, I have been very busy and have had to ask him to water for me.  He hasn't complained too much, but he has mentioned that we should get around to automating some of it soon.  That will be nice.  Right now it takes me about half an hour to 45 minutes to water.  It is very dry here with very low humidity and hot temperatures, so it almost never happens that we get to skip a day of watering.  I don't wish for rain though because it is getting close to cherry harvest here and that is bad for the cherries.  Also, this time of the year rain, if we get any, usually comes with thunderstorms, hail and wind, which are all bad for the garden.

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