ButterflyLady29
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1031
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:12 am
Location: central Ohio

ButterflyLady's 2017 garden

I've been working in the terraced garden during all this beautiful spring-like weather. This is a sloped shady area under a large sycamore tree. Once upon a time this was a fenced in duck pen but now there are no ducks. So I decided to try growing a salad garden in the spot. The soil is rocky clay, terrible for planting anything, even grass never grew well there. Any time the soil was disturbed it would be washed downhill, exposing the roots of that beautiful tree. I decided terracing was the only way to keep the slope from washing out. Shortly after I decided this I found some raised bed kits on clearance at a local store. I bought several kits and set them far enough apart to give me some room for planting wide beds of crops. About the time I got some nice loose growing soil built up in the beds I found that there is something that loves to build tunnels through the area which killed anything planted in those lovely beds. Back to the drawing board. I ran across another incredible sale, this time large flower pots. They hold about 10 gallons of soil! So I set the pots in lines along the terraces and filled them with potting soil. It worked pretty well, if I had time to get anything planted. Last summer I had to quit my part-time job because of health reasons so this is the first year that I've had time to do much of any gardening in quite a while. Needless to say, I am very excited and hopeful for this growing season. There are 28 pots there. Sure they are ugly plastic pots in bright colors, mostly hot pink because those were on clearance at an unbelievably low price. It works for me.

I am surprised at how much potting soil breaks down over a year. Last year those pots were full, this year the soil level is around 6 inches below the rim. Again, time for experimentation. I took the wood pellet bedding from the rabbits litter pans and mixed in coffee grounds, ashes, potting soil and some coir fiber. I bought several bags of organic fertilizer (again, clearance sale) which I will sprinkle on top once crops are up and growing.

Since the soil is newly mixed it's workable. And the weather is perfect for cold tolerant crops. I've got half the pots ready for plating and already planted in some of them. Spinach, parsley, leeks, radishes, and lettuce are planted. Most of the seed was old stock and I'm not really sure any of it is viable. If nothing comes up I'll dump the rest of those packs and replant. If the seed sprouts and gets frozen at least I'll know the seeds are still good. If the seed sprouts and grows I'll have extra early salad fixings.

Once this garden is all set up I've got 3 others that need tending and planting. The worst one is the one that got eaten by black raspberry plants. 900 square feet of black raspberry plants. I do not look forward to that task. Maybe it will be workable by the 2030 gardening season.

ButterflyLady29
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1031
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:12 am
Location: central Ohio

Re: ButterflyLady's 2017 garden

Today I cut some pieces of 1x1 inch hardware cloth to fit over some of the containers. Last year I had issues with squirrels and chipmunks digging in the pots and tossing expensive potting soil all over the place. I need to buy another roll because I have more pots that need to be covered.

Last year I put tomato cages upside down in the pots for pea trellises. That didn't work very well, squirrels dug the pots up, the pea plants didn't grow together on the cages like I had envisioned, and it was a mess to clean up when the peas were done. This year I am laying the hardware cloth on the tops then sticking the legs of the cages through the mesh. I did get a pretty decent pea harvest last year but hope to get a better one this year. I need to remember to label which kinds of peas I plant where. I didn't last year and left some of the snow peas grow too big.

ButterflyLady29
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1031
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:12 am
Location: central Ohio

Re: ButterflyLady's 2017 garden

I couldn't resist temptation any longer and dug out 3 packs of peas and planted them in pots. I used what was left in each package and stuck the package in the edge of the pot. I got all the pots in the terraced garden covered so this year should be squirrel and chipmunk free, at least in regard to digging. We've had some good rain the past couple days and nearer to normal temperatures are predicted for the next couple weeks.

This week has been wacky, weather wise. Yesterday it was t-shirt and shorts weather. Today it's long underwear and parka weather.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28040
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: ButterflyLady's 2017 garden

Oooh good luck! I was SO tempted today, but then we had a terrific thunderstorm -- the lightning warning in the nearby athletic fields was going off. So I think it was just as well that I resisted. But I made some paperpots.... :wink:
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

ButterflyLady29
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1031
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:12 am
Location: central Ohio

Re: ButterflyLady's 2017 garden

I didn't mind the rain. I don't have a hose set up to run down there yet and dry seeds won't sprout. Hopefully the rain will get everything growing. I'll give them a week and see what happens.

The rabbit's leftover oats are coming up in a couple pots. I thought the oats would freeze when we had a couple frosty nights but they are still green and growing.

St. Patrick's day is now just over 2 weeks away. That's our typical time to plant cold weather crops. I hope to have green in the pots by then.

ButterflyLady29
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1031
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:12 am
Location: central Ohio

Re: ButterflyLady's 2017 garden

Still nothing growing except the oats. The temp last night was less than 25*F and I thought the oats would be dead for sure. Amazingly this morning they were still green. Sick looking but green. It's still early and the temp is supposed to be normal for March for the next week. If nothing is up by the middle of March I will replant with newer seed and toss the remainder of the old packs.

I need to get the kale and broccoli started. I keep telling myself that and I still haven't done it. But I did get my cold frame shelving unit cleaned out so I can put pots in it. I planted a bunch of old flower seed in pots and set them on the shelves. Even if nothing comes up at least I have some of the old seeds out of my rather extensive inventory. No sense in keeping seed forever.

ButterflyLady29
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1031
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:12 am
Location: central Ohio

Re: ButterflyLady's 2017 garden

Looks like I need to replant everything. Even the newer carrot seeds haven't sprouted. Oh well, the pots are ready to plant so it won't take long. And I have lots of newer seeds. I will need to buy carrot seed if I want to try them in a container but I probably won't.

I did get the kale and chard planted. I've been transplanting the little seedlings into 4 cell packs to give them a chance to get a bit larger and to make it easier to harden them off. They can be planted out in a week or so.

SQWIB
Greener Thumb
Posts: 937
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2016 2:21 pm
Location: Zone 7A - Philadelphia, PA

Re: ButterflyLady's 2017 garden

ButterflyLady29 wrote:Looks like I need to replant everything. Even the newer carrot seeds haven't sprouted. Oh well, the pots are ready to plant so it won't take long. And I have lots of newer seeds. I will need to buy carrot seed if I want to try them in a container but I probably won't.

I did get the kale and chard planted. I've been transplanting the little seedlings into 4 cell packs to give them a chance to get a bit larger and to make it easier to harden them off. They can be planted out in a week or so.

I feel your pain, I also tried taking advantage of the warm spell we had. Pretty much everything perished in the ice age that blasted through. Looks like some of my lettuces made it though.

Return to “Vegetable Garden Progress + Photos & Videos”