The new kitchen garden is finally planted! I am excited to get some of my many hundreds of plants in the ground. I still have lots of perennials to go in the ground so I will keep plugging along. I may get done by the end of summer. I know, too many plants.
I planted one raised bed full of miniature peppers, green bell peppers, jalapeno and chile jalapeno peppers. I decided to test out the red plastic that is said to help your plants produce more. I am a bit skeptical but saw one gardener use it last year and they had loads of peppers. It’s a finicky thing to do and after working on three feet of the bed, I gave up. I am one of those old-fashioned gardeners I guess. Cutting x’s and trying to dig a hole for each pepper plant was very time-consuming. The plastic is held down with landscape pegs so it doesn’t blow away. It has tiny perforations in it so water can get through.
I no sooner planted all the peppers and remembered that I wanted to plant some Marigolds as companion plants around the sides of the bed. Sigh, it was time to roll back the plastic at this point.
I sure won’t run out of basil this summer. I think there are about seventy-two basil plants in this garden. I alternated the Red Rubin basil with the green leafed varieties to give this bed a nice colour scheme.
Over a three day period the garden was planted. Two beds of heirloom tomatoes were planted and another bed with cucumbers of different types. One bed of tomatoes are varieties that I am growing for a seed bank. The other bed of tomatoes is for personal use.
I planted cucuamelons at each end of the cucumber bed as I know they need to climb. I will be growing these tiny melons for seed this year.Hopefully I will have cucamelon plants available for next year’s plant sale. Cucamelons are tiny grape-sized melons that you can eat by popping them into your mouth. As you can see the vine is quite delicate and won’t need heavy supports. It is said that you can let it clamber up through other plants. I look forward to harvesting my first cucamelon. My sister and I are both growing them this year. Are you?
In this bed I planted Crystal Apple cucumbers, Lemon cucumbers and Persian Baby cucumbers. The Crystal apple cucumbers germinated in four days. After a week the Lemon cucumbers were not up so I have replanted with fresh seeds collected last summer. The Persian Baby cucumbers were transplanted from the greenhouse and are a mini cucumber. More food straight from the garden!
Today the raspberry canes went in. There are only three canes but they will produce new canes later in the season. I was able to propagate a few raspberry cuttings in early spring by cutting some canes off established plants. I took the canes and stuck them in a one gallon pot of soil and kept them watered. Three out of five took so I am happy with the results. Nothing beats fresh raspberries from the garden. So what comes next? Keeping this bed watered is a daily chore until the seeds are up. Once the seeds germinate they can go longer without water. With a dry summer on the way I will be mulching the garden with straw or hay. I tried straw last year and only had to water once every two weeks. Straw has less weed seeds so it’s the best choice for mulching your vegetable garden. I may try hay as well. Hay grown for feed has a lot of nutrients so it makes sense to use it instead of straw. It makes sense to feed the soil so it can be enriched at the same time as conserving moisture. As I look at how our new kitchen garden has evolved I can’t help but remember this post from late winter called My Garden Dreams for 2015. Take a look at what I called the back forty last year. That’s where the kitchen garden is now. What a transformation! We are still working on getting bricks down for the paths and trying to decide on a type of mulch for the sides. It was a big decision to build the kitchen garden. We could have laid sod at a third of the cost. But then, you can’t eat grass now can you?