09 July 2012

Everything's Coming Up Veggies

Sadly, part of moving back to western Massachusetts meant giving up my garden beds I had created and used the last couple of years. I am still renting, but now in a duplex and I have not been able to address any sort of planting over the last months, except to place my various houseplants out on the shared porch.

However, I am very lucky to have a girlfriend who owns her own place, and graciously gave up side yard space to veggies! I admit I had been eyeing the space as it gets great sun through the day. We both agreed that raised beds would be best, and since we weren't sure where we wanted to start, we would start small.

Really. This time I meant it.

Look, it takes a lot of dirt, people. Yards and yards of it. I swear. This is not even all of it. 

We decided to cut out the sod, which was moved to other areas in yard that were grass-deficient. We also stacked two kits together, to give us a raised bed that was 4 ft. x 4 ft. by about 14 inches deep.

These kits were easy to put together, and stacked like Lincoln Logs.

All complete with soil, manure and compost that was already accessible.

Then it was time to decide what we would actually use to plant this season. We finally decided on tomatoes, basil, and jalapenos. We like to make salsa and use basil and tomatoes on a regular basis, so it was a pretty easy decision.

In they went! We went with standard Genovese Basil, jalapenos and four kinds of tomatoes. We did San Marazano Paste and Brandywine for full-size and Supersweet 100s and Black Cherry tomatoes.

Needless to say, with the sun and heat they have been thriving! I am so, so happy. While the initial cost for the soil was a large investment, the rate of growth has been worth it. We have had to do little for pest control, only one application of neem oil about two weeks after they went in. The surface leaves are still a bit chewed, but no major outbreaks.

This is how they look as of yesterday. I have not had plants that have done so well in my previous years of gardening. We are already making plans for next year, like knowing the tomatoes will need their own bed. There is only four of them, but we still crowded them a bit.

The San Marazanos are adorable with their shape. These are supposed to be great paste tomatoes, and will add them to our canning endeavors the next few weeks.

The cherry tomatoes are coming along well too! I am not as much of a tomato snacker, but we definitely have kids that are.

Jalapenos ahoy! These actually mature to red, but we are thinking of pulling some now to try out. Guacamole anyone?