This past month has been ridiculously busy, but Julie and I took some time last week to work in the garden. This podcast is all about starting my 2018 vegetable gardening season, and if you think that everything is rainbows and unicorns, you are wrong. I had immediate trouble including rotting raised beds, dead plants and rabbits. Can anyone relate to this?
Even when there are troubles and challenges, there is no place I would rather be. Digging in the dirt and planting new seedlings is therapeutic and relaxing, and these small setbacks are easily overcome. A rabbit eating a zucchini and some peppers are easily replaced with new seedlings or geraniums, and fences and raised beds can and will be replaced.
If you want a virtual tour of the garden, please see the Small Scale Life YouTube Channel below.
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Raised Bed 1 – Alcatraz
Raised Bed 1 is my easternmost 4’x6’ raised bed. To start our 2018 vegetable gardening season, Julie and I planted out Raised Bed 1 with the following plants: zucchinis, red peppers, yellow peppers, orange peppers, jalapenos and three tomato plant varieties (cherry, San Marzano and Opalka tomato plants).
When we started planting it out, Raised Bed 1 had a plastic fence around it. Unfortunately, the rabbits chew right through that plastic and use it as an appetizer. Julie and I found that out the hard way: the rabbits did some damage to this bed on the first night.
Frustrated, I ripped the plastic fencing off the raised bed, and in doing so, I discovered that the planks making up the side walls of the raised bed were rotten. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. I made a Facebook video documenting my frustration, and that video can be found in the Small Scale Life Facebook Group.
I was able to replace the plastic fencing with trusty old chicken wire and the old, rotting stakes that held the plastic fence in place. To be honest, I think the chicken wire is holding the raised bed together. With the new fence in place, I named Raised Bed 1 “Alcatraz.” That is a bit grim, but I named it in frustration and it will stick until that garden bed is replaced.
Since creating the podcast and YouTube video, Julie planted some geraniums in the bed, and it looks great! The plants are starting to grow, and I can’t wait to see how it looks on Sunday this week.
Raised Bed 2 – Fort Snelling
Raised Bed 2 is my westernmost 4’x6’ raised bed. Julie and I planted out Raised Bed 1 with the following plants: kohlrabi, basil (lots of it), broccoli and three varieties of tomatoes (cherry, San Marzano and Opalka tomato plants). Since I recorded the video and podcast, Julie planted a row of geraniums between the broccoli and the tomato plants. Nothing like companion planting!
Julie’s dad constructed this raised bed at the same time as Alcatraz, so it has the same issues. The sidewalls are rotten, and I replaced the plastic fencing with chicken wire last year. I named this raised bed “Fort Snelling” after the historic fort on the bluffs at the confluence of the Minnesota River and Mississippi River (http://www.mnhs.org/fortsnelling) in St. Paul, Minnesota. I named it Fort Snelling because it was the first fortified raised bed in the yard.
If you have been reading and listening to the Small Scale Life Podcast and Blog, you have had a front row seat while I planned my 2018 garden, planted seeds and grew these seedlings under grow lights. It’s time for these seedlings to move from their seed trays to solo cups. The bigger containers allow these plants to grow bigger and better root systems, which will result in bigger and better plants.
This week after planting the raised beds in the gardens, I focused on the remaining seedlings growing in their seedling trays. I transplanted all of the tomatoes, herbs and a large group of peppers. Unfortunately, I have more peppers to go!
I have noticed that the transplants a growing rapidly since getting more space. They are really putting down roots and growing each day.
Since my beds are planted out now, I am planning to give the extra plants to my brother and my mom. Does anyone else in the Twin Cities area want or need plants for their gardens? Send me a note at realsmallscalelife at gmail dot com or on the Contact Us page here at the blog.
Putting It All Together
A little over a month ago, we had 22” of snow in Minneapolis. Since then, we have had a series of 70-degree and 80-degree days. This kind of weather is unusual for late April and May in Minnesota, and it makes a person think that they are desperately behind in the garden. One just needs to remember that the last frost date in Minneapolis is around May 11, so Julie and I are right on time!
The two garden beds are planted out, and even though we had some bumps in the road, we replaced all of the dead or damaged plants and ineffective plastic fencing.
We started our 2018 Vegetable Gardening Season with a bang. How are you doing? Let us know in the comments below!