Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Big Change in Garden Plans

I re-built my entire raised bed vegetable garden this year.

It was a lot more work than I expected and it has put me behind schedule on much of my planting. At the end of June I had one major construction left; building the corn bed and the fence to go around it. It was one of the things on my 2007 garden to do list, and was to provide protection for the corn and trellis space for cucumbers, melons, pole beans, miniature pumpkins and flowers. It was an idea that began when snow was on the ground and I was excited to do it. Even though I was way behind schedule, I set out to build my 6 foot tall fence.

It was hard work driving the fence posts in with a sledge hammer. The posts were so long that I had to get up on a step ladder to drive them!

Finally the fence posts were in and it was time to attach the fence.

I had never done this before and had no idea how to do it. I tried attaching the fence with the little hooks built in to the post but that didn't work. It was also near impossible to stretch the fence taught by myself. I kept getting scratched by the end of the fence. Also the posts were level and straight but the ground sloped. Bottom line, I was in over my head.

By now it was almost the 4th of July and time for our family vacation. So what did I do? A pessimist would say I admitted defeat and threw in the towel. An optimist like me would say I improvised and switched to plan B for the garden design.

I took down the fence (getting scratched even more) and dug out the fence posts.

I rounded up my scrap wood and built two more garden beds.

I decided we would have to wait another year to find out if Mirai 301BC corn is really the corn that everyone talks about. I planted my root-bound cucumbers in one of the beds along with another sowing of bush green beans. I used the other bed to solve another problem. I had planned to till an entirely new area for a pumpkin patch but hadn't done it yet. So instead of engaging in all of that extra work, I planted my pumpkin plants in the other bed where the corn was to go. It is at the far end of the garden so the pumpkin vines will grow out into the yard. I will try to stay ahead of the vines and put down tarps and old carpet to kill the grass and allow the vines to lay on top. Next year, I will then make more garden beds in that spot.

So here is the finished product:

You can't see the plants very well but they're there. In another month they will take over the entire area!

These changes are indeed a compromise from what I had hoped to have, but isn't that how gardening goes? Does it ever go exactly as planned? I am just happy that finally - in July - I'm finished with my spring plantings. I hope its not too late to get a Fall harvest before frost.

It is just about time to begin the Fall planting for the Winter harvest!

9 comments:

Carol

Marc... I tried the Mirai corn last year. It was my first serious attempt to grow corn in a small space, and I learned quite a bit doing it. The corn was good, but (for me) the ears were small. I think I planted the corn too close together.

This year I'm trying a variety from Pinetree Garden Seeds called Bon Appetit. It's tasseling now.

Your garden is looking good. It's always good to have a plan B.

Carol from May Dreams Gardens

Tracy

Marc: Even though you've had to move to plan B, your new garden looks great. Just remember that you're building for the future, and as you finish planting for this year, start dreaming about how great it will be next year!

Anthony

Marc, next year when you try again with the fence you should look into plastic zip ties or sometimes they're called tie wraps. They'll be in the electrical section of the store.

I used to have metal fencing like yours and I would attach it to wooded posts with the zip ties and never had any problems. And with a quick snip of a wire cutter, you'll be able to easily take your fence down in the fall.

And by the way, your garden looks great!

Marc

Thank you Carol, Tracy and Anthony!

I will try the plastic zip ties next time. I'm actually thinking of fencing in the entire veggie plot instead of just the corn. That way I'll have something to do in the garden in the off season. This year was terrible trying to build the garden in the Spring/Summer.

Wrenna

You really can't garden if your not flexible enough to change your plans when things don't go well. Gardens are like computers, if there's a pissing contest they will win every time.

I'm amazed at all you did in one season. I'm exhausted from digging two new hosta beds and planting ten trees.

Dawn

Wow! What a lot of hard work you've done. Your new garden plan looks very tidy and organized. Well done!

Jeph

Definitely go with Anthony's suggestion on the zip ties - I used old tomato stakes, a scrap piece (maybe 8x6') of the mesh I use for my tomato cages, and a bunch of zip ties last year, and made a great wall for my cucumbers (and some stray pumpkins!) to grow up. Just zip-tied the mesh to two stakes I'd buried a couple feet into the ground, and while struggling with the curved mesh, zip-tied some stakes across it lengthwise, and voila, a straight mesh climbing wall! At the end of the season you can just cut the ties off if you want and put it all away for winter.

And your nice-and-tidy garden is an inspiration! We just got moved into our new house on 1/3 acre a few weeks ago, and I bought a tiller last week. After using it for hours to "harvest" all the rocks in a 12x12 foot area, as well as work in a bunch of peat, manure, friend's grass clippings, and kitchen scraps, I've put in a mini garden to go with all my potted veggies. I figure with time I can expand out and really make the garden I envision, but for now, this'll have to do... I keep checking blogs like yours for the inspiration and reassurance that, with time, I can come up with something really nice (I hope!).

Scarecrow

Hi Marc
I've nominated you for a Bloggers for Positive Global Change Award.

Apologies if you have already received a nomination but you can have another one anyway. I think your work with the Veggie Garden Info site is worth it!

You can read about it here:
http://scarecrowsgarden.blogspot.com/2007/07/bloggers-for-positive-global-change.html

lisa

Looks great! I've had some very great improvements come from "plan B" situations...kudos to you for going with it! That zip-tie tip was very helpful, I can't wait to use it!

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