Thursday, April 28, 2011

Getting Ready for the Big Planting.

I had some unexpected surgery on the 6th of this month. I'm still on the mend, but I'm doing fine. My son Jonathan knew I needed the garden tilled so I could get my seeds put in. He came over and tilled it for me, even though it was 93 degrees outside. I sure appreciated his help!

Before he tilled the area, he picked the last 10 ounces of broccoli from it. He also harvested the remaining rainbow Swiss chard that weighed in at 2 1/2 pounds.

This is the tiller my wife bought me three years or so ago for just $199.00 from Home Depot. What a deal!

After the tilling was done the next item to check out was the irrigation source for the crops. This required an expert's evaluation of my system.  Jonathan's almost two year old daughter Celie was the expert I selected. It's a good thing it was 93 degrees!

Her question was: "Is it cold?"


Jonathan is tilling between the bean rows to get the area ready. I'll be planting the reliable stringless Fortex green beans from Johnny's selected seeds in Maine. I bought 2,000 seeds for $56 this year. I plan to harvest my own seeds at the end of the season. Notice how nicely the tiller fits in the 36 inch row spacing. I'll use that for weeding purposes again this year. It worked wonderfully last year. When the beans grow up, they shade out the weeds. This makes it easier to control weed growth.

Here are a couple of shots of the bean rows after I finished preparing them for the seeding. Notice the wide row bed. I used this idea last year after the fact, but this year, I plan to water my beans throughout the gardening season by flooding the row beds. I won't be doing overhead watering of the beans this year.

This resembles raised bed gardening, but my rows are narrower than what I see referenced in the books on raised beds. When I plant my bean seeds, each row will have a double sowing of seed. In addition to that, I plan on using the succession method and replanting all the rows about every three to four weeks. That's why I bought so many seeds ahead of time.

Grandaughter Celie is helping me tie up my grape vines so the wind won't break them off. She's a great helper!

As you can see, the broccoli seed pods haven't turned brown yet. The large size is very interesting though. Some plants are beginning to lay over but are still green. They are not as lush a green as they once were. My tomato seeds aren't germinating too well, so the broccoli will get a few days reprieve from being pulled. I have read that if you pull the broccoli plants up by the roots and hang them upside down, you will get viable seeds from the pods. Unfortunately I only read that in one place. Does anyone out there have any experience they'd like to share about harvesting broccoli seeds?

That's all the news about our garden for this posting. Thanks to all my visitors and commentors for stopping by.

Have a great vegetable gardening day and take the time to teach a child about growing vegetables. What you share with them will be remembered later in life if not now. It might make the difference in them becoming a wonderful vegetable gardener!

Veggie PAK


  1. Sorry about your unexpected surgery. I hope you're recovering well. Glad to see you have lots of garden helpers!

  2. Holly, Thank you! I do love having all the big garden helpers. Gotta teach those little helper grandbabies about vegetable gardening!

  3. I'm happy you had help in the garden. I'm glad my broken toe mishap was before gardening season. It would be hard to get the garden up if I was down for any time in the spring.

  4. It's great that you're passing all that knowledge on to the grandkids! My grandparents neglected to do this for me and I'm learning from scratch. Hopefully by the time my grandkids come around I'll have something to pass on!

  5. Lots of good helpers for you in the garden. Sorry to hear about the surgery and I hope you are recovering well and quickly. The worked up garden looks like it is aching to grow things.

  6. Daphne, I'm happy for the help too. There's so much to do in spring to get the garden ready. No one can really afford the down time.

    MilkMaid09, when I was small and my mom or grandmother told me to do something around the garden, they would occasionally provide the reasoning behind it so I would understand its purpose. I didn't understand or care too much because I wanted to play, but now I understand their logic. I'm sure that as hard as you work, you already have a wealth of information to pass on to your kids and grandkids! Your kids see what you do. You're making a big impression on them just by that!

    kitsapFG, Like the garden, I am aching to grow things so today I was able to sow my fortex snap bean seeds... about 900 of them! It won't be long now and their vines will be reaching for the sky!

    Thanks to all for visiting and sharing your comments with me.

    Veggie PAK

  7. Good to have expert helpers to hand when you need them! Hope you'll be back to full fitness soon.

  8. Hope your recovery is going well. Just wanted to stop lurking and say hello. I live in HR too and love your posts. My hubby and I are in our third year of hobby gardening. I can't say we are real gardeners yet since we have small raised beds. But we are learning a lot. :o)

  9. celie is adorable - I'm sure she'll grow up to be a great helper. Hope you're having a speedy recovery and that everything is ok!

  10. Heiko, thanks for the well wishes. I'm back in full swing now.

    Robinella, In your third year of gardening? You are absolutely real gardeners! Learning is the best thing to me. No one can take that away and you can use that knowledge and experience for the rest of your life as well as share it with others. I always look for ways to expand my garden. Since my back yard is full of garden space, now I'm looking to the front yard for planting a couple of dwarf apple trees.

    Wendy, thank you! I agree that Celie is adorable! I'm all better now just a workin' away in the garden!

    Thanks to all of you for the well-wishes!
    Veggie PAK