We have almost got the third 22 feet long by 3 feet wide by 2 feet high raised bed completed. We worked on it last night and then this morning in the rain. It was supposed to be nasty all day, but of course the sun came out a 1/2 an hour ago. We got the steer manure in and then used up the rest of the garden soil mix from GroSource. Unfortunately the are not open on Sundays so we will have to wait until tomorrow to pick up another pickup truck load.
DH priced it all out and while a 1/2 a load (about what we'd need) is $30, a whole load is $40. If we did bagged soil from the garden center, it would cost $60. So we decided to go with the $40 option. It will all get used eventually. So DH will get some on his lunch hour and then we will have it for Tuesday, which is supposed to be the next nice day.
We discoverd a way for me to help with moving soil in the garden. If I sit next to the wheel barrow, I can use an old feed scoop to move the dirt into the raised bed. I feel useful again.
On the last nice day, DH and I cut the climbing rose bush down to waist high. That probably took off half the height of it. So he did the lopping off of branches and I cut them up into smaller pieces and put them in the wheelbarrow. Then we used them in the raised bed. We put about a two inch layer of garden soil down and then spread a bale of old, rotting hay down, and then the rose clippings, and then layered garden soil on top until we were six inches from the top of the bed, and put down a two inch layer of composted steer manure, and then topped it off with more garden soil. I like doing a lot of biological inputs.
So we got it all the way up to the top for the first 2/3rds of the bed. I was able to plant the one tomato plant I picked up, which is Million Pears, a yellow grape type tomato. I've had it in the past and it was prolific plant. Then I planted my eggplant. I forget the type but it is one of the long, skinny Asian varieties. I figured I'd give it a go. Then I planted the orange blaze bell pepper and the cayenne pepper. That's all I've bought so far. I am going to do three more tomato plants, probably Early Girl or Big Boy, maybe a Yellow Boy if they still have them. I don't know. I'm only doing four this year, but I will focus on fertilizing on a schedule, so should get better production. Then I want to get a jalapeño, an Anaheim, and a couple of bell peppers. Possibly a poblano, but no serranos this year.
The rest of the bed will be zucchini, but I will put some calendula between the tomatoes and zucchini to encourage pollinators to come into the garden. I will probably tuck basil into the understory of the tomatoes and between the peppers. We'll see. It is too cold to plant basil or zucchini yet. I need the nights to be at least 50 and they've been running in the 40's. Either that or I'd have to put cloches over the plants or some kind of green house plastic hoop thing. It is too cold for May. The rain is pretty normal, it's one of the main reasons we use raised beds, for drainage, but usually we'd be having temps in the low 60's during the day and 50 at night, not low 50's during the day and 40's at night.
Even if I have to build 3 foot to 7 foot (for the tomatoes) tall hoop tunnels for everything in the raised beds, I will. We need a great harvest this year, not just a good one, what with the state of produce in the stores and food shortages.
The garlic is doing fantastic, the best I've ever had garlic do, and the onions are starting to get bigger. They were itty bitty when I planted them, thinner than a blade of grass. But each one has gotten bigger than that and I see a third blade starting to form on some of them. I have planted enough onions, that I shouldn't have to buy much for the next year. They are good keeper varieties, except the Walla Walla's which I will freeze. And if the others get close to sprouting, then I will cut them up at that point and freeze them.
There are lots of flowers on the strawberries, so I think we will have a good year there. I hope so. I want to freeze a lot. I'll go to the berry farm if I have to, though. They freeze in one or two gallon buckets. The blackberries are coming up very nicely from the bottom, but we need to get all the weeds away from them. I can see the start of itty bitty green berries on the blueberry plants. The raspberries are getting tall. The apple tree is in full blossom and it is gorgeous. And the plum trees did flower this year and there wasn't a storm during the days they flowered, so hopefully that means lots of fruit, because there were tons of blossoms. It would sure makeup for the nothing of last summer.
We are still prepping the potato plot. We'll be harvesting in October again, but it doesn't usually freeze until Halloween here. Then we'll move on to the area for green beans. As long as we get them in before mid-July we will have plenty to can. I am growing blue coco pole beans. They are a purple colored green bean that turns green when cooked or canned. I have found that the beans are a lot easier to find than green on green and I misplaced my Kentucky Wonder pole bean seeds, anyway.
I wish it would just warm up so I can get on with it. I also want to plant the sweet potato slips I've been growing, but it needs to be much warmer. One of them is so long that we have it propped on some cup hooks to keep it out of the way. They are in the window above the kitchen sink and have a tendency to want to go into the sink. It'll be my first year growing sweet potatoes. I wanted to do it last year then herniated those discs instead. I did grow my own slips this year for the first time from a sprouted sweet potato so that was interesting.
Not much else going on here. I did the banking and the bills on Friday and then bought produce and shrimp and that was it. I'm still not looking at the retirement accounts. I don't want to know.