Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I have vegetables!

If you went by the silence of this blog, you would think that I've given up on gardening altogether. Au contraire, mon frere - or something like that. I've been working my freakin' ass off this long holiday weekend and after putting in the days I have, blogging just sounded way too exhausting.

But, now the vegetable garden is in, looks to have taken, I've watched Iron Man 2 with the sniffiliest kid in a nearly empty theater and feeling just enough recharged to catch up on here on  ye old blog.

Saturday was a relatively nice day. Overcast so the sun wasn't blinding, but it was a little muggy and not much of a breeze. At least the temperature didn't get over 75 so it all worked out.

Last year I experimented with raised beds and, well, it wasn't my best moment:

Straight lines are so boring...and hard!
Not only were the raised beds crooked, but they weren't level and I wasted a lot of usable garden space by having five small beds.

This year, I decided to try the raised beds again, but with fewer number of beds and dammit, they were going to be straight and level this time. My husband had the good idea of using twine and staking it so that I would have a reference but we forgot to buy twine Friday night and I wasn't going to go out on a Saturday afternoon of a holiday weekend. (I'm not 'up with people' in case you haven't noticed).

So, I proceeded slowly and measured everything out and used a bottle of water for my level - which works amazingly well, especially if the bottle has a label.

I layed out the bottom layer of the beds first, like so:

The Foundation Level
It may be hard to see in this picture, but I even 'tiered' the beds. The ground of my vegetable garden slopes and since I was working so hard to keep the beds level, I had to bring the second bed down, which meant starting that bed over and digging deeper.

Tier-ing the Beds
It added at least an hour to my work but it was worth it.

The third bed was only slightly lower than the second so the effect isn't as dramatic but I think it still turned out well. Most importantly, those beds were level AND straight. Check it out:

You'll need to turn your head - I forgot to rotate
If you're wondering about those rocks, I added those to support the structure. I'm still not sure I want to keep using the wood I bought for the vegetable garden and I'm not fastening it all together until I'm absolutely sure.

All that took me about 7 hours on Saturday. I was bit sunburned and I had four mosquito bites at the hat brim line on my forehead but I was happy with my progress.

Sunday was sunny and just a bit warmer but there was a nice breeze. It didn't feel muggy but there was a haze. I found out later that night that it was smoke from the Quebec fires.

Now came the fun/easy part - planting!

I'm not nearly as ambitious of most of the bloggers I read, but I planted more this year than ever before: Four kinds of tomatoes, two kinds of squash, Green Bell Peppers, Radishes, Peas, two types of Lettuce, two types of Cucumbers, Onions and pie pumpkins.

Around the birdbath I place in the center bed I planted Bachelor Button flowers and a ring of Marigold seeds. I'm going for form and function. 

Tomatoes, Squash and Radishes - living in harmony
After all that I still had some time, so I used up the rest of my mulch and started on the pathways around the beds. I still need to finish them up but that's a job for this coming weekend and it shouldn't take long.

So, here are pictures of the final product, minus a few bags of mulch:

I also need a couple more trellises for the cucumbers and possibly the peas - the package said that they were 'bush' peas, but sometimes bushes need support too. That'll get done this weekend as well.

Monday, I rested and celebrated the holiday with the family. I did a little weeding but for most of the day I relaxed and enjoyed the nice, sunny weather. There was low humidity and the temperatures were in the mid-70's so it was near perfect.

Since then it's been overcast and rainy but that's actually welcome. We had a dry May and needed the moisture, which is certainly a big change from last year. Last year was a wash out - literally.

So, here's to a good start for a productive summer of vegetables and flowers! Good luck to all you gardeners!


  1. Your new raised beds look fabulous. I agree, it's so much more fun when you can finally get around to planting. Looks like it was all worth a little sunburn and few mosquito bites though.

  2. Your new raised beds look awesome! Soon your garden will fill in. More rain predicted for us this weekend. The gardens can use it.