Putting My Garden To Bed

 
It's planting season, but I have to put it off.
 

Decision Time

 
For the first year since 1982, I am not going to have a garden. This was a hard decision to make, but my health situation demands I make changes.  This year the growing season will be used for a succession of cover crops to enrich the soil in all the beds. In addition, I am going to have a series of raised beds installed suitable for handicapped access so I can garden again next season.
 

Still Fresh

 

Lettuce is one of my favorites.

Nothing says fresh like home grown lettuce.

Meanwhile, to supplement my supply of fresh veggies, I signed us up for a half share in the CSA group I used to sell root crops to.  This was in my better days of large scale gardening in the Coulee.  For more information on CSAs see the link at the end of this post.

 

Good Dirt

 

My husband and I grow buckwheat as our summer rotation crop every year—even in the years when we tend smaller gardens. Buckwheat is about the best all-around cover crop ever—just ask the deer!  We also grow cereal rye for an overwintering crop.  Another good alternative for a summer cover crop is crimson clover as the blossoms and foliage are gorgeous.  Plus, the birds and bees really enjoy them.

 

Of Mice And Men

 

If health concerns were the only reason, I might have made another decision on the garden.  Yet there were several factors to consider: (1) We are having a late and unusually cold spring, which would make for a late start on the garden (not good).  (2) I went to the garage this morning and discovered that all my tomato, pepper and celery seedlings had been eaten by mice (also not good).  (3) As an MS sufferer, I also want to spend as much time and energy as possible trying to capitalize on the benefits of my recent venoplasty.  I need to see if I can rebuild muscle and reroute damaged nerve pathways.  For for information on venoplasty and the hope it is giving to people with MS see:  CCSVI.org.

 

Something New

 

Raised bed kits make gardening a snap.

If you’re not handy with tools, consider a pre-made raised bed kit. Check you local nursery.

My new raised beds will be at least 24″ high.  I once had raised cement beds that were tall enough so I could sit on the edges.  They worked great.  (This was while living in Panama, but that will just have to be the subject of another post.)

 

Making Sense Of It

 

I plan to use the raised beds for my smaller veggies.  I’ll continue to grow corn, tomatoes, and other crops I want to grow intensively out in the big beds in the field.  Believe me, you can cram a LOT of plants into raised beds as long as you monitor the nutrient levels in the soils.  If your soil lacks nutrients, I recommend using liquid fish fertilizer.

 

Good To Grow

 

I’ll grow all my salad stuff in the raised beds.  I’ll also plant cucumbers, peas, carrots, bush beans, spuds, annual herbs and intersperse some edible flowers. We’ll also utilize the border areas of the beds (i.e. the area around the raised structures) for flower planting.

 

Try some rosemary in your raised garden.

It won’t be long and I’ll be back in business.

Moving On

I love gardening, cooking and canning so this year’s decision was a tough one.  However, it is only for one year.  Don’t worry.  We are going to have way more veggies and stuff than we can use each week from our CSA box so we’ll still be eating the freshest, healthiest produce around.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to read:

Community Supported Agriculture
Sprouting Your Way To A Greener Lifestyle
Urban Farming: Fresh Food At No Cost
 

 

One Response to Putting My Garden To Bed

  • gweny duke says:

    Great article!
    Would you consider in this year off from gardening you could write more articles on tips and all of your growing knowledge? I am getting a raised bed in a few weeks but have only tried to grow veggies once. So any of your help would be much appreciated.( whats the best soil? what to plant? ect……)
    Thanks,
    Gwen

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