Bed 3


Bed 3 as of 25 July 2011

Bed 3 -- 25 July 2011

This is Bed 3. Added 6 x 5 gallon buckets = 4 cu. ft. of home-grown compost (probably the weed compost) to Northern 1/2 of Bed before planting black beans purchased  from Native Seeds/SEARCH.  The beans are spaced roughly 6-in. apart.  The front half of the Bed had cabbages (small, but they headed up!), cauliflower (which I should have, but didn’t harvest in time).  These were hybrid transplants, so the seed could not be saved.

Bed 3 Fully Planted 2 May 2010Here is Bed 3, fully planted with starts purchased today at OAEC’s Plant Sale.  In front are eggplants, peppers, a couple of green scalloped squash, and the rest are all different, interesting heirloom tomato varieties, including Al Kufta at the very back. Spacing is about 18-inches between the plants.

Bed Preparation: After “single-digging” (pushing a spading fork 12″ into the bed and moving it around to loosen the soil), raked in 6 cu. ft. home-made compost, 2 cu. ft. of  Fox Farm Planting Mix, 12 oz. Agricultural Lime, 2.5 oz. sulfur, 11.5 oz Gypsum, + 0.4 oz Boron (with the rest, 0.4 oz, to be added in the Fall).  This is all per the Soil Test recommendations from Timberleaf Soil Testing.

Home-made Compost:  Given that Beds 3-8 will require 6 cu. ft. (= 9 x 5 gallon buckets full) of compost each, that’s 36 cu. ft. of compost.  At 11.95 + tax per bag, Fox Farm Planting Mix (the only compost on the market that’s decent), that would be more than $430 just for those beds, and just for the Spring planting. Turns out that we’ve not only been composting our kitchen scraps and our bunny’s toilet (which makes beautiful compost, but not nearly enough). we’ve also composted all of the weeds we pulled last fall. And, guess what, they’ve produced “Black Gold”, the most beautiful compost you’ve ever seen, crawling with different varieties of earthworms! So, I sifted 9 x 5 gallon buckets and applied it to Bed 3. That’s why its soil looks so luscious.  My task over the next week will be to sift the huge mound of compost under our walnut trees into useable compost for our growing beds.  I think I’ll tackle about 9 x 5 gallon buckets full per day (that’s enough for a single bed) and see how far I get by next week-end.  Stay tuned.

We have 10 growing beds up front.  This one is poetically named “Bed 3.”

bed3_24jan09_smallUp front are some parsnips, behind which are Bibb lettuce and a few spinach plants (most of which were consumed by us for dinner the night of 1 March 2009). You’ll note these are under “bird netting”, if these plants had not been protected by netting, they would all have been consumed (as was the fate of the winter “snap peas” on the trellis at the rear of this same bed.  Most of the bed is occupied by a winter “cover crop”–fava beans.  On either side of the trellis are broccoli raab (or broccolini).  We’ve had some of these for dinner on 2 occasions, the rest are going to flower.  The cauliflower at the very back of the bed never “headed up.”  To my dismay. I realized the seed I had saved and grown these from, one “Snow Queen” variety, is a hybrid, which means you get a fairly useless plant from its seed!