Candace: what are you planning to grow?

As of today, I've got two of my 4'x4' boxes planted with vertical trellises and chicken wire cages. So far I've planted:

  • 9 Beans
  • 16 Beets
  • 9 Broccoli
  • 3 Cabbage
  • 2 Jalapeño
  • 4 Lettuce
  • 13 Onions
  • 5 Peas
  • 9 Radishes
  • 4 Spinach
  • 3 Summer Squash
  • 4 Swiss Chard
  • 2 Watermelon
  • 3 Zucchini

One tomato plant purchased (still indoors), need a couple more. Pumpkins to be started in a few weeks in time for October. We also purchased 4 dwarf fruit trees this year: 2 apple, one peach, one plum. I don't expect any yield this year, but you never know.

This year is the first year we're being serious about it - and surprise (to me), it's a hell of a lot of work!

But I did solve the problem of making a cage that fits a box with a vertical trellis. I made a 4'x4'x18" goalie net of wood and chicken wire. Then I tied chicken wire around the other side of the trellis so that the net and the trellis fit together to form a cage (with a one-inch gap for vining plants to grow up). It looks like it will work.

§463 · May 21, 2008 · Life · Tags: · [Print]

1 Comment to “What Are You Planning To Grow?”

  1. Fyrd says:

    Wow, that’s quite a variety. Should be interesting to see how well that works out.

    My wife’s a big gardening freak, and over the years I’ve gotten more into it myself. Our garden’s usually focused on heirloom tomatos and peppers. For a while we were growing 50/60 tomato plants every year, though it’s only about 30 this year (less time available due to baby). Also have about 30 peppers right now.

    Then there’s one onion, and a couple of basil plants. We usually do more, but…baby. 🙂

    Our tomato cages are triangular things made ourselves out of 1/2″ PVC tubing. Was a lot of work when we started making them several years ago, but now at least now we have them for forever! We also have a couple of chicken wire trellises (trellii?) for viney things we grew in previous years.

    Oh, and have you considered lasagna gardening? That’s what we do, takes a lot of the work out of weeding.

  2. Fyrd,

    Wow – that’s a lot of tomato plants (we had 8 last year and I thought that was too much, though we didn’t can any).

    I’ve never heard of ‘lasagna gardening’ – thanks for the tip. We’re doing square foot gardening (wooden boxes on top of existing soil with a weed barrier underneath to prevent weeds. Following his book, we are using “Mel’s Mix” which is equal parts peat moss, compost, and vermiculite. This results in a very rich soil. Apparently one of the benefits of SFG is the really easy weeding (since we’re starting with no weed seeds in the soil, any time I see a weed starting to sprout, just pull it out).

    I think all the work that this year is costing me (the boxes, the vertical trellises, the cages, planting trees) is mostly a one-time cost, so I hope following years get easier. Yes, you can call me naïve 🙂

    Again, congratulations on the baby – I know how that is – thankfully we’re over the hump and I’m sure you will be soon too.

  3. Candace says:

    Hey Jeff — I’m still in progress and it’s dark out right now so counts will have to be estimates, but so far in the veggie garden I’ve got

    – about a dozen tomatoes, mostly romas

    – 8 or so sweet pepper plants

    – 4 cayenne pepper

    – 4 eggplant

    – about a dozen broccolis

    – piles of marigolds (and garlic and onions to come) in between, especially around the broccolis (have you read about companion planting for pest control? I’ve learned to do everything I can to keep up with the cabbage worms…)

    – a patch of peas — about 30 plants, not yet up

    – a patch of green beans — about 60 plants, not yet up

    (I’ll be doing a second planting of peas and beans in about 2 weeks to keep the harvest continuous)

    – about a dozen Kentucky runner beans, seeds soaking to be planted tomorrow

    – calendula and nasturtiums galore for salad

    – cucumbers will go in this weekend — about half a dozen

    – lima beans — about 20 plants

    – a patch of carrots

    – and a pile o’ Jerusalem artichokes that will hopefully reach 10 feet tall

    The flower gardens are mainly perennials, with lilies, irises, phlox, hostas, columbine, echinacea, and dahlias with a handful of annuals like morning glories, more nasturtiums, cosmos, snapdragons and four-o’clocks. I’ll put some more kentucky runner beans on the trellis in the front because they’re such excellent climbing vines and I don’t think the clematis I transplanted are going to make it.

    It sure didn’t take me long to outgrow the space I prepared.

    Oh and chocolate mint! My number-one-favourite herb. It’s on the edge of the grass and I’m hoping it will eventually take over the lawn. It’s low growing so needs less mowing, but when it does get cut it smells amazing.

    I’ll be mulching around all the plants in the upcoming weeks because it helps keep the moisture in and the weeds down.

    So Jeff, if you’ve made it through this long reply I have a question for you: have you seen any worms in your dirt yet? I’m curious to know if they’ll find their way through your box bottoms.

  4. All I can say is … wow – next time I’m that way you’ll have to give me the tour…

    I actually found my first worm-like thing this evening when I was removing some leaves/tree seeds and a couple little weedlings. It was lying on top of the soil at the edge of the box (not near a plant). It was the size of a caterpillar but it wasn’t fuzzy and it moved more vigorously than a caterpillar. I think it might have been a cabbage worm, I should have paid closer attention to its markings. Does that mean I have to spray? ugh!

  5. candace says:

    You don’t need to spray — what’s the point of trying to grow healthy food for your family if you’re just going to spray pesticide on it?

    You can experiment with cayenne pepper and soapy water though. I’ve never tried it but I’ve heard it can help. I just watch for the white cabbage moths and when I see they’ve been spending time around the plants I just pick off the eggs and baby worms before they eat the leaves.

    But I was actually asking about earthworms in the dirt. Worm castings are good for the soil, good for the plants and all that. I’m wondering if your boxes will thwart them?

  6. I haven’t seen any earthworms in the boxes. I doubt they could get through the weed barrier cloth. However, I’ve seen enough of them in our regular soil that I was tempted to throw a couple into the boxes. This thread suggests that earthworms would provide little benefit to the mix we use in SFG (equal parts compost, peat moss and vermiculite) and they might actually starve! I think I’ll just see what happens this year.