Posts Tagged ‘Beets’

How does my garden grow?

ImageMaybe I have more ambition than sense. Or perhaps I just like variety. Then again, it could be related to the way I often order sampler platters or combination dinners when we eat out. Whatever the reason, I have a lot of things growing in my garden. And I do mean a lot. Forty different varieties, in fact, in my vegetable garden alone. And that doesn’t count what I have in my butterfly garden, my flower bed, my rose bed, or in any of the little nooks and crannies around my yard into which I have tucked a plant or two. Okay, I’ll admit that three of these are varieties of marigold and five are actually herbs, so that leaves thirty-two kinds of veggies. I guess that sounds more reasonable.

What I call my “vegetable garden” is actually a set of five separate areas connected more by theme than by geometry. Four of these areas are enclosed in raised bed structures, leaving only one traditional garden plot planted as rows and hills, with open space in between, from which the goal is to evict all weeds. Together, these five areas add up to a total of 126 square feet, which is about the size of a typical bedroom.

Putting it that way, it doesn’t sound like much of a garden. However, within that small space, here’s what I have growing:

  • Beans (3 varieties)
  • Beets (3 varieties)
  • Blueberries (2 varieties)
  • Collards
  • Cowpeas (2 varieties)
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Herbs (5 different kinds)
  • Lettuce (I had two varieties but the squirrels got one)
  • Lima Beans (2 varieties)
  • Marigolds (3 varieties)
  • Okra
  • Onion
  • Peas (snow peas, actually)
  • Pepper (2 varieties)
  • Spinach
  • Squash (2 varieties)
  • Swiss Chard (2 varieties)
  • Tomatoes (6 varieties)

Believe it or not, I still have a few open spaces!

So, how do I manage to squeeze so much variety into such a small area? The use of raised beds is a big part of it, as the beds lend themselves quite naturally to intensive gardening techniques such as “square foot gardening” (known simply as SFG by its proponents). A closely related technique is vertical gardening, which takes advantage of many vegetables’ capacity for growing up, as in “vertically”. I will discuss these techniques more in subsequent posts.

I haven’t decided yet whether to add more space overall or even what to do with the spaces that currently remain open. For the time being, my focus needs to be on tending to what I have planted. A few plants were only recently planted have yet to peek up over the soil. At the other end of the spectrum, a few plants are currently producing foods. In particular, three of my tomato plants made it through the winter and are still producing tomatoes now and then. I also have some beans which I planted in the middle of March; they have contributed to our dinner menu once so far. Most everything else is in that in-between state, which strikes me as a metaphor for so much else in life, this blog included.

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