Maintenance during garden season
I have talked about how to start a garden and what element to look at when planning your gardening season. In a gardening season, there is not only the prepping of a garden and your good for the rest of the season. There is also the maintenance of a garden and all that comes with it. Today, I will talk about the maintenance that we need to do in a garden by showing what work I do in my garden.
Raised bed reparation
Having a raised bed made from wood comes with some maintenance. My raised beds are made from recycled wood pallets. Over the years, the wood will rot, you will need to replace it. Also, the screws can get loose. It is best in spring to check around all your raised bed garden boxes before the gardening season starts. Even if this year is my first with raised bed garden, I will take time to look around my raised beds makes sure it is tight, replace the woods that need to be replaced. Tight the screws that are loose. Put soil around the raised beds wall to solidify it in place.
Depending on your garden type, you might need weeding a little or a lot. I have different garden raised bed with different sowing intensities.
The garden, in the picture at the right, has been sown with high intensity. Rows between vegetables have about 6 inch spacing. When they grow to full maturity, they are all close one from the other. This reduces the number of weeds to remove since vegetable grows there instead of the weed.
The picture at the left, shows a raised bed with a sowing density less than the other bed. There is more weed to remove. For all my garden raised beds, it takes about 1h if I do it quickly (removing the biggest weeds). If I do my job well and removed all the weeds it takes me about 2h to 3h.
There are also weeds to be removed between the raised beds. What makes it easy for my setup is that I can just use the weed eater (weed wacker) or the lawnmower.
In my garden, there are many different setups. Here are some of them. I will show you what needs to be done for certain vegetables during the gardening season.
For peas, I put 2 or 4 sticks on each side of the row. I attached cords to help the peas climb. This way the peas will not fall. Having the pea plant upright helps to harvest the pea pods. Each level can take about 2-3 minutes. If I wait until the vegetable is fully mature it can take much longer. This is why I tried to keep on track.
For the runner beans usually, I do the same as the peas. This year I have bought bamboo sticks and trying the make they climb the bamboo trellis. Runner Bean makes beautiful red flowers. When they climb and are flowering it is easier for the pollinators to go from one flower to another. Also growing beans upright takes less space and you can grow more vegetables.
Usually, for the cucumbers, I just let them crawl on the ground. This year I am trying to let them climb on the trellis. Letting them climb allows better air circulation and helps the plant doing more flowers and more cucumbers. In one of my garden raised bed I am trying to do a wall of cucumber so that it will create some shade. I will then grow vegetable that prefers more shade than full sun.
In the photo at the right, you can see I have planted in the middle lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets. Creating shade with the wall of the cucumber plant, helps the vegetable to grow for a longer period and prevent them to bolt too quickly.
Setting up these trellises can take time. For the peas, I add one layer of cord gradually as the peas grow.
For the tomatoes, there are 2 options. There is a tomato basket cage made from metal. If you don’t have one you can make it from bamboo like I did. See photo below This will help the tomato not to fall on the ground but grow in height. If tomatoes grow crawling on the ground, their rod will create more roots and will anchor in the soil. The hair on the rod has the potential of doing roots. So if there is a branch touching the soil there are chances that they will do roots.
Harvesting to make room for vegetables
If you want to harvest big vegetables at the end of the season such as carrots, beets and radishes, what I do is that I harvest some of them during the season. Why? You might ask.
At the sowing time I don't take the time to sow each seed individually. Carrot seeds are very small. Radish and beets can be sown individually and you can space them correctly, but I find that they can germinate well or a lot of seeds not germinate at all. For this reason, I like to sow less spaced between. Plus, harvesting small carrots and beets are so good and helps to wait the end of the season. You can do small meals. With beets the small one I eat it with a good steak. While the biggest I like to preserve them in a concoction of vinegar and brown or white sugar.
Another maintenance to do in the garden is adding manure, fertilizer. This helps to boost your vegetables. I like using manure from animals and not fertilizer like miracle grow. I will talk in my next blog about the difference, when to use them, advantages, and inconvenience as well as examples.