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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

2010 Garden Season Update #1

I’ve been busy watering and weeding our spring garden.  It’s all looking good, but I did learn a few lessons…
Lesson #1 – Peas are vines.  Yes, this may be common sense knowledge to most of you; however, to my non-gardening self…well, I didn’t know.  So, I spent Saturday making sure there was something for those sugar snap and English peas to latch onto so they could grow up. 
Lesson #2 – Squash gets huge.  Again, having been unsuccessful with our squash last year, I didn’t realize how big the bush variety would get.  Because of this, I had to move my 3 green bell pepper plants to another bed.  The squash was just overtaking that part of their bed.
Lesson #3 – Cabbage loopers are NOT my friend.  Those little boogers are so darn aggravating.  Caleb and I have spent numerous minutes picking all of them off, and he then puts them in his bug catcher.  However, in only a few short days, there are MORE!  They will eat your cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage leaves to pieces.  The aforementioned plants have holes in the leaves.  In fact, I went as far as digging up and tossing my 4 cabbage plants this afternoon.  After further inspection, I just didn’t see much hope for the cabbage.  Besides, we only use cabbage for coleslaw, and I can do without it or buy it at the store.  I did manage to buy a garden safe read organic and okay to use pesticide; however, I’ve yet to put it on.  I think I’ll do that as it cools off this evening. 
Lesson #4 – Strawberries are not fool-proof in the home garden.  I tried to plant strawberries last year, and it didn’t go so well.  We tried again this year, and I ended up digging them up and tossing them.  You see…unless you have the time to use the plastic and hill method that those big strawberry farms use, it’s not worth your time to plant them in your regular garden bed.  You can’t keep the fruit off the ground, and soon enough they will be covered with ants…pesky little ants.  Brian did buy me a Topsy Turvy; however, here where we live, they don’t keep strawberry plants available too long.  Unless you buy your stuff in March – mid-April, then you’re out of luck for the most part.  So, we’ll have to wait until next year to attempt strawberries again.  Luckily for us, there are several strawberry patches around, and we’ve been able to pick some.  We hope to pick some more soon if they are available.
Lesson #5 – Raised bed gardening is definitely the way to go.  With the exception of the few issues mentioned earlier in this post, our plants have really thrived in our raised beds.  I think a lot of it can be contributed to the soil which is a mixture of topsoil, mushroom compost, peat moss, cow manure, garden soil, and dirt from our yard.  It has really made a difference in the growth of our successful plants, and the ground stays softer and retains moisture better.
Lesson #6 – Once you find out what you can grow successfully, then stay within those bounds.  There’s no need to continuously waste time and money planting produce that just won’t work in your garden.  After this garden season is over, I will have a much better knowledge of what works for us.  I will also have some idea of how much produce to expect from what we’ve planted.  This will let me know what to remember when it’s time for the 2011 garden season.
Okay, so there you have it…just a few gardening lessons that I’ve learned this year.  Combined with what I learned last year, I should be all set for the 2011 season.  LOL!  Here are a few pictures of our garden.

Northeast bed with tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce, and squash.IMG_5516 Squash blossomIMG_5517 Big Beef TomatoIMG_5519 Cherry tomatoesIMG_5520 Romaine lettuce (We put grits in that little plastic container.  It is supposed to help with ants because they can’t digest it; therefore, it sort of blows them up).IMG_5523
Southeast bed with squash, zucchini, broccoli, and cauliflowerIMG_5518 Broccoli floret (I actually had to cut this off today because you’re supposed to cut the center head off before it flowers…this one was about to flower).IMG_5528 Northwest bed with cabbage, peppers, sweet potatoes, onions, and lettuce (the cabbage is no longer there since I tossed it this afternoon). IMG_5521 Green Bell PepperIMG_5522 Southwest bed with green beans and sugar snap peasIMG_5524 Southwest bed with carrots and English peasIMG_5525
So, how is your garden growing this season?  Have you learned any lessons that you’d like to share with me?  I’m always up for a learning adventure. 


Heather said...

I only have container tomatoes this year, but I have big plans for a garden next year. I think I'll take notes on what works for you this year :)

Tracy's corner said...

Your garden looks great. our garden has some vegatation coming out.

SuzyQ said...

Wow! Everything looks so good! You will have to come help me next year when I try my hand at gardening. Can't wait to come over again and have a veggie lunch. Hint! Hint! I just went to the Kauffman's farm website. We should go there to pick some strawberries.

bluewhitelife said...

I love this post. Can I add "pumpkins get ENORMOUS" to the list? haha, I kinda planted them without having any idea they were going to take over my apartment :)

Beth said...

Wow, I wish our garden looked like that right now. We can't even put anything in the ground until after June 1st where I am (way Northern California). Can't wait to have some yummy fresh veggies.

Oh, and we have a strawberry Topsy Turvy. I haven't put anything in it yet, though.

April W Gardner said...

Lovely garden beds! My one cabbage plant is doing just fine, but not because of any special effort on my part. Didn't know to be looking for loopers. Will keep my eye out now!

Lin said...

Can you introduce a bug that eats the loopers?? I don't know how big they are but sometimes you can introduce ladybugs or praying mantis to keep the bugs under control. Beats insecticides.

April W Gardner said...

The loopers heard me bragging about my beautiful cabbage. Just grand.

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