[gardeners] my raised bed garden

Margaret Lauterbach (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Tue, 04 Sep 2001 10:40:09 -0600

I just picked a large gorgeous red Big Jim pepper, the sight of which I 
want to enjoy for a few days before I roast it for the freezer.  As for the 
rest of my raised bed gardens, I had some successes and failures.  I think 
the failures were due to haste since I had to wait until the raised beds 
were finished before I planted. Planning then became haphazard and "there's 
a hole I'll fill" situation. I planted podding radishes right next to 
beans, for example. Not a good idea.

My Aconcagua peppers are not the right color, and the flavor is a bit 
off.  They should be pale green, ripening to red.  Nope, these are a nasty 
yellow.  Something wrong with the seeds.  Also, my Cherokee Purple tomatoes 
were scared by a cherry tomato. They're supposed to be large, 12-ounce 
slicing tomatoes. These are about one inch in diameter, although the flavor 
and color are correct.

However, I harvested about 40 pounds of shallots, mostly quite large 
bulbs.  Those I plant in a double row, sort of zigzag fashion, thumb to 
pinkie distance, with the soaker hose down the middle.  Basil and lettuce 
grew under a large green shadecloth raised 18 inches off the soil, and they 
did beautifully.  I have a big crop of celery, the food bank will get a lot 
of it.  I grew early lettuce, chard, mache and beets under floating row 
cover, and they were gorgeous when i pulled back the cover.  Next year I'll 
do the same, but I will immediately start harvesting the chard when it's 
tender.  Exposed to sun and wind it gets tough and chewy.

I grew some alleged bush beans that decided to run instead, and since they 
threatened to overwhelm my chiles, I pulled them out. I harvested a couple 
of gallons of yellow wax beans out of a partial row, and from a 17-foot row 
of Contender green beans I picked 9 full corn pots of beans.  These are 
large enameled pots, not as large as canning pots, but darned big.  Up to 
our ears in beans we were.
Garden is still producing, but I'm beginning to pull out the cole crops I 
don't know what to do with since the cabbage aphids are here in force, and 
the few active wasps in the garden just shrug.  I won't plant stuff like 
spigariello again.  I did taste a leaf and didn't like it. I loved a leafy 
unknown called "Bietina," and it's gone to seed, but the seeds are not 
turning brown yet, darn it.

We have discovered our dog is a connoisseur of fine melons and overripe 
cucumbers.  We've been lucky enough to have saved two Charantais melons 
from his jaws, as well as two Rocky Ford cantaloupes.  We let him pig out 
on the overripe cucumbers he found. He ate nearly half of the melons before 
we caught him in the act.  He's not a bit embarrassed, and is reluctant to 
accept our puny "bite" offerings of the melon he gulped down.  He finally 
has his surgical collar off (his biopsy was benign, thank God) so he can 
hunt mice too.  That Zephyr squash from Johnny's Selected Seeds is a 
pistol. I think it produces even more than zucchini, but it is a very nice, 
buttery squash.  And I've been harvesting little Burmese okras about every 
other day. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange sells seeds for this variety 
they claim is not as slimy as other varieties.  But it is pretty slimy, 
though. I'm going to use the okras in Indian dishes, curries and Cajun 
dishes (the name slips my mind). Hope your gardens did well...Margaret L