Country Living Series

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Progress in the garden

I've been spending long hours working in the garden. We aren't going to be moving in any new tires this year, so I've been busy planting and weeding and mulching and watering the tires we already have in.

Smart gardeners in north Idaho know better than to plant a garden sooner than June 1 because it's often too cold and wet to do much.

Around June 6, I planted corn.


I have nine tractor tires dedicated to corn.


At three seeds per hole, spaced six inches apart, I was able to fit about 156 (give or take) seeds per tire. A quarter-pound of seed planted almost three tires.


This is what the corn looked like this morning:


Meanwhile Don and I worked on finishing up the deer-proof fencing. Here we're laying out field fence to reinforce some spots.


Don also ran a high-tension wire around the entire perimeter of the garden at eight feet.


We had a six-foot roll of chicken wire, so Don cut it in half...




...then I took the three-foot rolls and aproned the top perimeter of the garden, wiring the chicken wire to the high-tension wire.



View from on top the ladder.


The blueberry bushes are producing heavily.




I mulched the entire bed to help with water retention.



I also brought out loads of straw from the barn...


...and mulched all ten strawberry tires.



I packed the straw very carefully around each strawberry plant.


I found this colorful specimen on the handle of the shovel. Any arachnophiles out there know the species?


I got two rows of peas planted.



Then I went through and mulched everything.


Halfway done.


Then I gave the peas a good watering.


I got eight tomato plants transplanted and mulched.


The herbs that over-wintered -- thyme, sage, oregano -- are growing luxuriously. I still need to plant rosemary and basil.


The horseradish (which also over-wintered) is huge.


I finally got all the viney tires planted (by "viney," I mean plants that vine out and sprawl). Some I started from seed, others I bought already started. In these rows I have pumpkins, watermelons, and cantaloup.


Yesterday I transplanted and mulched the broccoli...


...and the peppers.


The potatoes are doing well.



The raspberries are positively luxurious.


They've dropped their blossoms...


...and are forming tiny green fruits.


Onions.


The garlic, planted last fall.


What's left to plant? Beans. I want to plant four types: green, navy, black, and pinto beans. Beans are fairly short-season so I've left them until last. I can't plant until I weed out last year's beds. As you can see, they're wildly overgrown with weeds.


You can see the dramatic difference the tarps and gravel has done with weed control. Here's a row with weed control:


...and two rows down, without.


The ironic thing about the progress we've made on the garden is I've discovered I'm allergic to hay. As in, handling it with my hands to mulch around the plants. After I mulch, I come down with a vicious itchy rash on my arms and face, resulting in puffy fingers, puffy eyes, and other issues. I think I'll have to restrict myself to handling hay with a hay fork while standing upwind. Talk about an occupational hazard!

32 comments:

  1. It all looks so neat & tidy (well except for the weedy a part). That's a lot of work, you guys rock!

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  2. The gardens are looking great! I've been following your blog for several years and was always concerned you were hardly growing any food. So glad to see you are tackling that hurdle! I'd like to recommend a watermelon variety, Blacktail Mountain, bred specifically for Idaho with its cool overnight temps. Maybe you're already growing it :) As a gardener, I'm interested in different varieties I haven't tried, perhaps you would share the names of varieties you're growing?

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  3. Oh, it's so good to see that you are just putting in your tenders, too. I thought I was waaaay behind. (I've usually got everything planted by this time of the year.) Our new deer fence isn't finished (sheered the pin off the auger yesterday) and probably won’t be until Thursday or Friday at the earliest. Meanwhile the tomato, pepper, broccoli, cabbage, basil, B. sprouts and melon starts are languishing on the front porch biding their time until the fence can be completed. I REALLY hope fall weather is late this year! The potatoes and corn look good, however. Yippee!!!

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  4. That looks like a lot of work.

    You must be very TIREd... Heh...

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  5. Noticing the high chicken fencing around the garden, do you generally let the chickens roam throughout the farm and fence them off from the garden?

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    Replies
    1. Yes exactly. However the high fencing is to keep the deer out, not the chickens. The amount of damage a single deer can do in a night (as far as eating tender young plants) is astounding.

      - Patrice

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    2. Absolutely on high fences for the deer, but my sister-in-law keeps her chickens roaming around but claims they can fly higher than she expected when she first started keeping them.

      I like the idea of the chickens roaming all over enjoying bugs & other goodies but not the garden.

      Thanks for your advice!

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  6. I tried some Rockey mountain corn this year. It has a 90 day growth season and it just gets to hot down here to keep anything alive after June. It does not get very tall as you would expect with the shortness of the variety. It is a heirloom flower corn variety so I hope I get some good ears this year. I will let you know how it turns out.

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  7. JUNE 1ST?!?! That's crazy. I'm always amazed at the difference in planting times. Down here in Texas our poor garden is pretty much pooped out for the summer except for the tomatoes and cucumbers. We'd be nuts to plant some of that stuff this late.

    Enjoying the garden pics!

    Jason

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  8. That spider looks like the dreaded rogue, Man-Eating spider of Borneo. They attack without provocation and always growl before biting.

    Huggs..

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    Replies
    1. Think it's not actually a spider but rather a predatory mite.

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  9. Wow. You make me tires. ;-)
    Congratulations! Everything looks fantastic!

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  10. Looks great, Patrice! I envy you your raspberries!

    I am no arachnophile (eek!), but I think that is a Johnson jumper, or red-backed jumping spider. See link: http://www.bugsinthenews.com/Texas%20Spiders/Red-backed%20Jumping%20Spider%20%20San%20Isidro%20TX%20%202%20June%202007%20Cat%20T.htm

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  11. How exciting to see so much progress in your garden and the seedlings strong and healthy. I've so enjoyed following your garden's progress - thanks for sharing the photos and updates. It's a rather ingenious idea having those tarps down. Best wishes for a good harvest this year. Jenny

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  12. That looks you had a lot of work in your garden but we don't have a garden to do these stuffs but I love gardening.

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  13. What do you do with the horseradish? I recall the summer my father dug up a single root and attempted to put it through the hand food grinder in the kitchen. He HAD to take the project outside because the fresh dug root was so potent. I don't have any idea what he added (vinegar?), but I do recall that just the tiniest bit was POWERFUL. This was the first and last time he processed the root. LOTS of TEARS it was so potent.

    Great idea with the tires. Love it.

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    Replies
    1. We make our own horseradish sauce with ours. And yes, the home-grown stuff is WAY powerfull!

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  14. I am SO JEALOUS of your tires btw. I've had absoutely NO LUCK finding a regular source for tires. Not one company wants to talk to me about getting rid of the old tires. I've been able to get a bunch of car and small truck tires via craigslist, but only one large tractor tire.....

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  15. Your garden reflects hours and hours and hours of hard work, awesome!

    I'm also allergic to hay, it's annoying to itch and swell up with welts afterwards.

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  16. Your garden reflects the many hours of hard work you've put into it, awesome!

    I'm also allergic to hay. It's annoying to itch and end up with swelling and welts.

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  17. Red backed jumping spider - is venomous, but not deadly. May need medical attention if bitten. Is an aggressive spider.

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  18. Spider sure does look like Phidippus johnsoni:

    http://bugguide.net/node/view/611507

    Scroll down to the "Red abdomen" subsection to see two very different red abdominal markings. The one on the left looks more like the one Patrice photoed than the one on the right.

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  19. Have you read Granny Miller lately? She suggests that planting in tires may cause cancer.

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  20. Patrice, I love your blogging about country life, and I learn so much! If I may make a suggestion about your future bean site? Instead of weeding it, just lay down newspaper all over the weeds, and then cover with dirt and/or compost. Finally, just plant your seeds. Believe me, this works, and with a lot less effort than weeding all of that!

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  21. Oh, and if the weeds are not in the beds but around the beds, just lay the tarp down right over the weeds.

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  22. Hi Patrice, Just wanted to let you know I just received my July/August Backwoods Home Mag. and you have 2 articles there! Congrats! 2 in one issue! Bet you are proud of that. Lots of good info there. And 1 article the issue before that! Keep up the great work, love seeing your writings. .....pigzzilla

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! Lots of work went into that dairy article.

      - Patrice

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  23. I know it has been a huge amount of work but it is also a long term investment. Hopefully when you are too old to work like you do, the garden will be pretty much on cruise control and you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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  24. I have some tires. Thought about planting in them. Then I read Granny Miller and she suggests that tires may cause cancer. I'm concerned as I HAVE Cancer. Anyone that can weigh in about this, I'd appreciate it. I mentioned it above, but did not receive a response. I thought this way of planting might be easier for me as I have limited energy and time due to treatment. Thanks.

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  25. My husband was very impressed with the way Don cut the chicken fence in half. He said he would have rolled it out and used snips. Great idea!

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  26. So far all I've grown is basil, parsley, rosemary, and chives. The chives keep growing back on their own. Maybe, I'll graduate to tomatoes next year.

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