Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Growth Spurt

A couple of weeks ago I had the exciting job of beginning the Fall planting in our brand new raised beds. I found the Mel's Mix soil a bit weird to work with because it's so fine and moveable and very unlike the weird heavy thick sandy soil we had in our rows. I planted mostly seeds this time, but bought a couple of seedlings at Lowe's to jumpstart the garden and give me the instant splash of green I need to feel good. The thought of planting a seed-only garden gives me a serious case of gardening anxiety. I am just not "there" yet in my gardening journey.

Here's what went in:

Yellow bush beans - seeds
Green bush beans - seeds
Kentucky something-or-other pole beans - seeds
Garden peas - seeds
Black-eyed peas - seeds
Leeks - seeds
Carrots - seeds
Swiss Chard - plants
Parsnips - seeds
Cabbage - seeds
Romaine lettuce - plants
Green, Red and Yellow Bell Peppers - plants
Radish - seeds
Broccoli - seeds and 1 plant
3 types of tomatoes - plants

Turns out that I hadn't planned on the whole trellis system necessary for some of these climbing plants. Apparently the Kentucky-something-or-other beans and the black-eyed peas that my oldest son insisted on are both climbing, vining plants. Luckily I used my fine gardening skills to plant them in different boxes, so now I need to figure out how to pull off some sort of trellis in both boxes. Both plants have two side-by-side squares dedicated in each box, so I am clueless as to how to cheaply and effectively trellis these suckers. We bought a couple of trellis nets, but I'm not what to attach them to. This will not come as a surprise to anyone who's read this blog in the past, but I never had to worry about a trellis before because everything died before getting tall enough to need the trellis. So I'm prancing around in new territory. I assume the bush beans need no support.

I'll admit to being quite guarded when it comes to all of these plants. Since I've had such crappy luck in the past, I don't have a lot of confidence that any of these will grow to the point of producing anything. But I'm going to continue as if I know what I'm doing and let nature take its course. Let's just hope that nature doesn't get lost.

Surprisingly many of the plants have sprouted already and look quite strong. I thought the seedlings would thrive nicely in the slightly cooler October weather, but the heat has been a bit overwhelming. The heat index has been around 100 degrees every day for about two weeks now so my youngest son and I have been watering the garden often and hoping the new sprouts don't get burned in the heat. We're about to set a record here in Central Florida for the most consecutive days in October with temperatures over 90 degrees.

Honestly, Fall in Florida just plain sucks. It's just Summer part II. Let's hope my Summer Part II garden falls into place because I could do with something to boost my gardening confidence.


Engineeredgarden said...

The boxes look beautiful! Good job, Farmer B! Those are Kentucky Wonder pole beans, and the same kind I grew this year. You'll definitely have to trellis them - and quick! For a quick fix, you can just do as Mel suggests in his book - by using EMT electrical conduit from Lowes or Home Depot. It's cheap to do, but you'll wanna use something else for bigger veggies. Let me know if ya need any help.

Dani said...

It has been down right miserable with this heat! Hopefully, the weather people aren't lying and it will be a nice weekend in the 80's.

Out of all the pole beans i've grown, KW is our favorite hands down.

Daphne said...

I agree with Dani, I love Kentucky Wonder beans. I grow them every year. I can't believe that you are getting such record heat while it is colder than usual up here in the north. While I appreciate your offer to send up the 90 degree weather. I think I'd be quite happy with weather in the 60s. 90s would just be weird this time of year.

Erin said...

Try some simple bamboo canes tied into pyramids, they are easy to stab into the boxes, and don't blow over as easily as heavier stakes. I am so glad your veggies are looking so wonderful! You will really love how well behaved fall veggies are in your beds. I love tending to my beds this time of year, as opposed to the tomato jungle of a few months ago! Everything looks great! How are the eggs coming along?

Sue said...

Erin has a great idea with the bamboo stakes. You might also try just screwing some 1x2's on the sides and tacking your trellis netting to that.
Best of luck.....I hope you have better luck with a fall crop. The only thing we can grow up here in the autumn is our waistlines!!

Worknprogress said...

Good ideas for staking...i'll share one more with you too. You'll have plenty of options to price out. :o)

We use the wire sheets that they place in concrete for "reinforcement" for a lot of our staking purposes. I think you could mount it like Sue suggested, only in place of the netting.

It's a bugger to splice, but a handsaw will take to it, and they'll last almost indefinately! We use them to stake our toms--Next year i am going to try growing melons up it.

Sooo envious of you right now--not only do you get a second planting, but a flashy new garden box to boot! Lucky girl, you!

May the Garden Gods be on your side this time around!

Kelly said...

I have used a couple of methods for trellising this year. My beans climbed up 2 wooden stakes latticed with twine, they were not very heavy.

For tomatoes we used the metal T bars/posts, used up this way for snow fencing etc...I tied the trellis netting to those an they held quite a bit of weight.

All the stakes/posts were inside the boxes, but my soil is not Mel's mix so it gave them some support.

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