Jul 05 2011

Raised Bed Garden – July 2011 Update

Posted by Seth in Gardening, Home Improvement

My garden that I built way back when (ok, so a few months ago..) is doing great.  For as much work as I put in, I am starting to reap the benefits, and I can’t wait until next year where I don’t have to focus on construction.   I thought I would update everyone on the lessons learned so far, and some things I will be doing differently next year.

First..  I severely underestimated how tall my tomato and cucumber plants would get. I was used to having a dinky container garden at my old apartment, now that the plants are in the ground and being properly watered, they are growing like they should – and my trellis is definitely not tall enough. Next year, I will be building a much taller trellis, using the 3/4″ electrical conduit and tent parts that I built the protective cage out of.  Total height will be in the 8-10 foot range, it will be the last time I build it for sure!  When the plants were young, I trimmed back the lower branches to promote upward growth – that was definitely successful!

The cucumber vines are ridiculously long, one of them I would guess is at least 10 feet. You can train them to go where you want, but I just ran out of trellis for them – I’m letting them go wherever they want now.  Good news is the tomatoes are already mature and they don’t seem to mind.

For reference.. the random poles holding up tomato plants on the right of the big bed are 10 feet long!

Part of the garden.. holy tall tomato plants!!

Next.. the hops plant will require some sort of extraordinary system to climb up as well, as it’s well over my garage roof already. Some sort of 30′ tall contraption with pulley system is in order.

Probably the best money spent so far is the irrigation system.   I water twice a day, 5pm & 5am, for 95 minutes.  The plants are doing great!  I have been adding some vegetable plant food per the directions on the container at the recommended interval, and it’s helped tremendously, probably because this is brand new soil and was lacking some nutrients.  I have a nice compost pile going that will be great for the next growing season.

Honeydew, Canteloupe, Watermelon vines

The watermelon, honeydew, and canteloupe vines are EVERYWHERE.  Next year, I probably won’t plant as many as they are hard to manage.  There are overgrown weeds in the neighbor’s yard, on the other side of my fence, which I need to cut back, but you can see how the melon plants have taken over this area.

Peas – thanks to my cousin’s advice, I found out why they are not doing so well.. they do not do well in the heat. I just put some seeds in the shade of the tomato plants, we’ll see if they do well or not.  Next year, I’ll be planting these much earlier / later in the season, when it’s not so hot.

 The squash plants are in the main bed with all of the pepper plants.. they have really taken off and are HUGE. They are starting to overtake the pepper plants, I will be keeping a close eye to make sure this does not hinder the peppers at all, if it does, I will cut back the squash if I have to.



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