Sunday, May 16, 2010


Life has been stirring in the roadside vegetable garden for some time now. A good portion of the food crops however are annuals or of tropical origin and do not take well to the notion of cool or slaps of real cold. You must wait to plant produce.

The waiting is over and a vegetable garden is being fully planted. That nice green row is the potatoes which were planted several weeks ago. There are some leeks that survived the winter and the now gone to seed Mache, an extra early salad green that has seeded itself in the garden, behind the newly painted bean poles.

The beans are sprouting. I planted those last week before that spell of low 30's.

The absolute number one search hit that brings strangers to Outside Clyde is "wood chips in the vegetable garden". Here it is folks. This picture should be a powerful testament to the weed suppressing abilities of wood chips. Yes I do a little weeding in the wood chips and I sprayed the edges with glyphosate where the more aggressive members of the surrounding meadow try to creep in. For shame I know. Tough. I only do it once a year in the spring.

My method is to rake out a row or an opening in the wood chips depending on the crop. Then I add some fresh compost/manure to the soil and plant or seed. That row between the white coffee cups and the round openings is my first planting of sweet corn for me and the raccoon. The bottomless coffee cups have seeded cucumbers and are used to keep the slugs and rolly pollies from eating the baby seedlings.

This is not an organic garden. I use what I have to get things past the seedling stage and that includes slug bait. Rows of lettuce, spinach, beets, carrots, turnips and the like can't be cupped.

I also use a bagged, balanced 10-10-10 chemical fertilizer too. Sparingly. Over the course of the season I might use half the recommended amounts. It will take some time to really improve this roadside soil with constant additions of organic matter, mainly the decomposing wood chips. The soil has improved quite a bit already in its third season of full production.

Today's project was the planting of tomatoes, peppers, squash and melons. It is time to turn that field of mulch green.

The surrounding forest has leafed out. The embracing wildflower meadow is in full on growth. Trees and shrubberies are blooming.

Like this roadside rose.

The tomatoes were purchased this year from the Briar Rose Farm in the Kingdom of Madison just up the road a ways. One of the proprietors noticing the roadside vegetable garden stopped by one day to offer me tomato starts for sale on his return from selling them in town at the farmers market. It was two weeks to early. Good thing I waited. I gladly offered to stop by the farm at the proper time for my elevation. Now I need to go back again for a proper tour.

You may notice some green sprouts outside the tomato cages. Sunflowers from last year's plants came up all over and I have left them where the sprouted. What a fun surprise.

The strawberries have been perking up in the new warm. That is one row them to the left of the small logs that line the path. The other row is at the far end with Uncle Ernie. I have even been able to have strawberry snacks while working in the garden. Tasty.

In another week or two I will do my second planting of sweet corn for me and the raccoon in the space above the strawberries.

The tomatoes, four kind, peppers, three kind, squash, three kind and melons, two kind where all planted when this afternoon's wicked thunderstorm arrived. It was only half as wicked as yesterday's. Less wind and rain, three quarters of an inch, but it fell in less time. Water has been gushing around here. Tomorrow is supposed to be worse.

The newly planted roadside vegetable garden looked fine after the deluge, but you know, could you please be a bit more gentle.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Your veggie plot looks good Christopher. Uncle Ernie seems to like the painted poles. So do I.

Antique ART Garden said...

I'm confused lately seeing all these plots with no screens, etc., to ward off birds, squirrels, etc. from eating everything before it is ready ? then I see other people's entries w/ screens, enclosed gardens. Is it more in the city , because of houses being so close, trees so close to the beds or what ? then out in the country different ? Your field of veggies looks like my grandmother's( when I was little ) open still. Help Ms. Confused understand whether to screen off a patch of potential veggies or not ? Thanks ! Gina

Lola said...

Looking good Christopher. Now Uncle Ernie will be more content.
Before you know it you will be picking your own veggies.
Like the poles.
Glad the storm didn't do any damage. At least you won't have to water the new plantings in. Mother Nature did it for you.
I found a peach on the little tree that brother brought me. Will try this evening to get the little apple tree planted. It would have been nice to have it in the ground before this rain we got early this A.M.

Christopher C. NC said...

Lisa the vegetable garden is the lone organized place on this mountain.

Gina out here in the country we do have all the varmints. We also have all their natural wild foods and hunters. So they have plenty to eat and are afraid of people and places near people. Now I do have a raccoon that helps itself to a third of my sweet corn every year and wandering cows that are more likely to stomp on things than eat them. My garden being right next to a fairly busy road also helps, particularly the motorcycles. Still anything could happen if some varmint discovers it.

In more urban areas the varmints have less wild food and lose some of their fear of humans. Whether you need fencing or not depends on what is in your neighborhood.

Lola I hope to be eating salad greens and sugar snap peas soon. Our peach trees are dying from some canker disease and the apples didn't bloom heavy which may be good. Fewer apples could mean bigger ones. This heavy rain is too much.

chuck b. said...

Sunflowers are so worthwhile. Looks like the volunteer nicely, but not too nicely. Did you have different kinds in the garden last year? Will there be hybrids?

I *wish* I had my vegetable garden planted out but this El Nino shows no signs of abating. We continue to have cold, rainy weather half way through May. With more on the way, I'm told.