Bed 4

Runner Bean Climbing Sunflower

Runner Bean Climbing Sunflower

This volunteer, very hardy, runner bean took the opportunity to climb the sunflower stalk that happened to be in its vicinity. Excellent companion planting!

Bed 4 25 July 2011

Bed 4 - 25 July 2011

Added 8 cu. ft. of home-made, sifted, kitchen-waste compost to this bed before planting.  The front is planted with lemon cucumber starts acquired from the OAEC (Occidental Arts & Ecology Center) plant sale in May.  Although these took a long time to get started, we are now (12 August 2011) experiencing a veritable “lemon cucumber bonanza!” These small, round, yellow (when ripe) cucumbers are delicious raw in salads–they really do look like lemons when ripe! I also transplanted pickling cucmbers (immediately behind). However, I did not harvest most of these in time, and they grew to be giant and turned orange! Also, I did not have my act together to make pickles–I wanted to make the salty, dill kind you used to be able to reach down in a big barrel to get in old “deli”-s. For that, I’m still looking for the right barrel/pickling jar with a lid you can weigh down to keep the pickles submerged…  Behind those are pumpkins and squashes of various sorts, also from OAEC. I planted cosmos on the sides, for decoration. A volunteer runner bean, whose ancestry is from Native Seeds/SEARCH appears with its beautiful orange/red blossoms among the squash in back. There’s also a volunteer sunflower in the front of this bed. Along the back, I also transplanted 2 rows of sunflowers acquired from the OAEC plant sale.  At their feet (not visible) are several rows of various onions–I’ve been weeding like crazy! I swear, onions seem to attract weeds.

Bed 4 -Fully Planted

Bed 4 -- Looking South, fully planted with potatoes

Each little hillock you see in this bed has a piece of potato buried 6-9 inches deep. Furthest away, towards the South and away from the little orange tree, are 25 sq. ft of Burban Russet seed potatos, then 50 sq. ft. of little, organic, red potatoes purchased at Bohemian Market in Occidental–these I treated w/sulfur fungicide like Shake N Bake in a plastic bag; the last 25 sq ft. closest to the little orange tree are planted with yellow fingerlings (purchased at Raley’s and also treated w/sulfur fungicide powder). I’m hoping these turn out to be my very favorite, Russian fingerling. I also interplanted sweet peas (Pioneer variety, started from seed in our greenhouse about a month ago), and direct-sowed a 5 foot length of Red Scarlet Runner Beans harvested in 2008, with the original seed from Native Seeds/SEARCH in Tucson, AZ. Finally, in the area closest to the orange, I planted 4 lemon cucumber starts and 4 cantelope starts.  I’m trying companion planting this year–I read in “Carrots Love Tomatoes” that beans, peas, and squash are good to interplant with potatoes.

Perhaps the hardest work was the bed preparation. I’m afraid I’ll have to delay the details to a later post, since I left the binder that has all of that information in it in the garage, and it’s late, cold, and raining. The good news is:  The potatoes are planted!

Bed 4 before de-weedingHere’s Bed 4 (the middle one, right in front of the little orange tree) before I proceeded to de-weed it, in preparation for spring planting.

Here’s Bed 4, several hours later, after I’d succeeded in the de-weeding!

Although you couldn’t tell at this scale, the two plants I left in the bed are potato plants. I left those to remind me of  2 things: 1) The right time to plant potatoes is NOW, in the Spring, not inf the Fall (as my hubby did in this bed, with essentially no results, except to kill the tops of the plants with the cold weather of winter, and 2) Now that is is Spring, I’ll purchase some of my favorite varieties of organic potatoes (e.g. Russian fingerlings, German Butterballs, etc.) and plant this entire bed with potatoes!