The garden with two rows is the new area we put in a year ago. Here I'm growing various squash (spaghetti, acorn, 8-ball, yellow, black zuc), watermelon, and some cantaloupe melon. Just yesterday I put down soaker hoses along the tops of the rows and covered the hoses with compost to help with water conservation. This bed gets a LOT of southern wind, which is very hard on the plants. So, just out of view on the right side of the garden I put an aluminum windbreak in place. You'll probably see parts of it in other photos.
Last year we pulled the two large metal troughs out of the barn to use in the garden. They're completely full of holes and I thought they would make great beds for the garden. I was RIGHT! There are two tomato plants in each trough, as well as either spinach or radishes to fill in the growing space. This trough happens to be a Sweet 100 tomato, and a yellow pear tomato, along with spinach (which I need to pick!) I have a couple pieces of plastic roofing temporarily clipped to the trellises to block the strong southern wind we were getting today.
Behind the troughs are nine 4'x8' beds (two I'm not using this year), three 3'x5' beds, and lots of large containers.
This is the main area of the garden (click photo for larger view). Where we live does not have the best soil for gardening, and we don't have a tiller, so I do my best to grow in raised beds or large containers with a mixture I create using our soil, farm compost, and sandy soil we had delivered a couple of years ago. The large blue tubs are not my favorite visually, but they are great for what I use them for. Alan buys the tubs in the winter for the cows. They're filled with a hard sticky mess that the cows just love to lick on. When the tub gets emptied, it becomes mine for the garden! We drill holes in the bottom for drainage, set them on a couple inches of gravel, and I fill them up!
In the tubs I grow things like tomatoes, mint, small cucumbers, herbs, and even flowers. This is a new tomato variety for me this year. Husky Cherry Red -- and boy are they not kidding about this thing being "husky"! Some of the branches are as big as my thumb! It holds up GREAT in the wind, so I'm hoping it puts out some nice fruit. It might be a good variety to grow here, if the tomatoes are good!
In front of the chicken house are two 4'x8' beds. The back bed is filled with three black zucchini and three Cherokee Purple tomato plants. The front bed has some small watermelon (backside), and three monster sized Patty Pan squash plants. I also have a small grouping of cucumbers set to climb up a half circle trellis in one corner.
Here is the backside of the bed that is just in front of the chicken house. Plants always do super well in this bed, where they are protected by the chicken house from the southern winds. What a jungle.
In front of the chicken yard is the tee-pee trellis we built last year. This year I decided to just plant a grouping of sunflowers in that area. The HUGE plants closer to the fence are volunteer sunflowers that popped up in the grass. As far as I'm concerned, sunflowers can grow any where on the farm they'd like and volunteers are always allowed to grow. In the blue tub is a Black Cherry Tomato, just transplanted and trellised today.
Back in the main garden area, I have a 4'x8' bed of red beets ready to harvest. They're destined for pickling! Yum! Not sure what I'll plant in this bed once the beets are pulled. Decisions, decisions!
I had several OLD packages of basil and dill seed I thought I'd just toss into this large aluminum tub. I wasn't sure the seeds would germinate ... the packages said 2005 on them. I guess they were OK afterall! Haa!
This year instead of trellising all of the cucubmers, I thought I'd try growing an entire bed of them on the ground without a trellis. We just get so much wind here and the vines get really dried out. I thought maybe they'd do better if kept lower to the ground. We'll see. They're just now starting to flower. I'm already battling cucumber beetles, and have lost a few plants to wilt. I have cucumbers in several locations, so hopefully we'll get enough for us while battling the bugs.
I haven't been short of challenges this year. I thought we'd be able to get a good jump on the garden, getting seeds in the ground in February in time for some good spring rains. But, I was wrong. We didn't get the rains we expected, and the ground temperature wasn't ideal for sprouting seeds. Much of what I seeded didn't even come up. And then we had a frost, and I lost a good portion of what had sprouted.
I think I was expecting a spring like we had last year, where the garden was in full harvest by the first of June. So, mid-April, I reseeded most of the garden (even using old seeds, if I had them). We might have some surprises, since when I replanted, I didn't exactly write down what I planted in every location. I'm sure I have a few of the squash plants mixed up. Oh well!
I sure hope we have a good harvest this year.... and if you garden, I HOPE YOU DO, TOO!!