Friday, March 19, 2010

Preparing the Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

I went to Home Depot and purchased some new topsoil and a humus, manure mix to work into my small vegetable garden.  They had only one employee in the garden center, and he had to call to get someone else to put those really heavy bags in my trunk (40 lb.)  They are absolutely not expecting us this year!  I am getting ready to plant my cool season crops. 

I need to tell you that I have daylilies at one end (Ice Carnival) and some chives at the other end.  The plants I have in the nursery will stay for awhile until I can move them to a perennial bed.  I also must dig out the parsley from last year.  Oh, I almost forgot, there are some onions that I planted from seed in there also - I may leave them if they look like they are going to grow.

I even bought some plant markers so that I can mark the rows as I plant.  After I have mixed up the topsoil and humus mix I will plant radishes, lettuces (green oakleaf panisse and red rose romaine),spinach (bloomsdale long standing) onion sets and onion seeds.  I am into only planting what we will eat. 

A layering method is an important procedure when the garden is as small as mine.  I planted carrots (a shorter Nantes variety) between the lettuce and seed onions (guardsman) in with the onion sets, parsleys layered with the red emperor radishes.  I do not know if anyone else has the problem of the onion sets deteriorating.  I have even tried putting them in the refrigerator to no avail. I use a vegetable fertilizer that I work into the soil in front on the rows as they sprout.

In May I will plant four tomato plants along the back of the bed, two Celebrity (determinate) one on each end, a new heirloom mix called Brandy Boy and I have to have a Beefmaster.  Some hot and milder peppers will be interplanted between the lettuce across the front (about four or five plants).  I will sow bush cucumber and basil seed right into the soil (has to be warm or they won't germinate).

I used to plan my plantings by spring break for the schools, and I can't tell you how many years my garden did not get planted, cold, snow, etc.  But, this year I was determined to get my cold crops in earlier than ever.  They are in for better or worse - lots of rain and cold weather coming this weekend.