One of my big takeaways after using my new raised beds for the first time last season was that everything seemed pretty crowded from mid-season on. This season I’ve carefully planned the layout to make sure that doesn’t happen again when plants really start adding mass and foliage mid-season. Last season I had 4 tomato plants in each of the smaller side beds. This created several problems, (a) it was near impossible to secure the plants w/ cages and (b) there was so much foliage that it was near impossible to keep the plants pruned so that air could get to the plant, and (c) my irrigation system that I had carefully designed didn’t put out enough gallons per hour for that much plant growth. Just by cutting back to 3 plants (and smarter variety selections) I think I’ll be in pretty good shape.
I love Celery
Another big takeaway from last season for me was that I love celery! This was my first season growing celery and it actually did pretty well. The really cool thing about celery is that if you are careful when you harvest stalks is that if you leave enough of the plant intact it will continue to regenerate itself and produce all season long… or at least mine did until the armyworms moved in while I was out of town on business. This season I plan to triple my celery production and will be using two varieties.
Last season we also had a lot of issues w// our cucumbers not producing as well as normal and apparently some type of disease kept giving us issues and dominating the plants energy. I’ve done a lot of research in the offseason and found two varieties of cucumbers that are (a) good producers, (b) good disease resistance, and (c) require less space than previous varieties I’ve planted. I’m also going w/ two varieties of cucumbers this season.
Obviously tomatoes are a really big deal w/ me. My two favorite varieties are (a) Better Boy and (b) Bigger Boy. These varieties both have great disease resistance and produce very well. This season I’m adding a third variety, which is a hybrid of the Better Boy and the Bigger Boy, that has gotten great reviews. I’m anxious to see how it performs.
Drip Irrigation System
The biggest project last season for me once the beds were established and planted was the implementation of my drip irrigation system. I have buried lines running to the garden area that run up into each of these raised beds. Depending on the plant, I have various tips that deliver different amounts of water per hour to each plant. For instance, my tomatoes and cucumbers require much more water than my onions, so I’ve been educating myself on the various types of drip irrigation tips that are available. This season I’m planning on upgrading my irrigation timer to a newer model rainbird system. stay tuned…
Custom Built Raised Beds
Lastly, my raised beds… as I’ve mentioned several times in some of my posts, I designed these beds and had someone locally build them for me. I had a particular look in mind, basic wood w/ galvanized aluminum sides. It’s kind of a neat country look. I’ll share some photos of the progression below. Obviously, everything is a work in progress so stay tuned for more updates…
Miscellaneous Photos from Last Season…
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