I was just reading a book by a girl who bought a place in Liguria, Italy, and she mentions that they don't plant their gardens in rows according to types the way we do, but just mix everything up. They feel that that makes it harder for bugs and diseases to take over, but I still don't like the idea.
I have been trying very hard to keep it neat. When we came back from vacation last year the garden was completely out of control. Melons, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and other large vegetables were crowding isles and taking up more than their share of space, weeds were everywhere and it was a mess. I was determined to not let it happen this year! When we laid out the garden the beds were formed, those haven't changed but the way we plant has changed. I pay much more attention to what goes where (never put squash next to tomatoes or eggplant because they both take up a lot of room and it becomes impossible to harvest either)
I love the greenhouses. They are uncovered now because we are getting ready to leave and the caretaker can't pull the covers in case of a hurricane. August-September are the worst months for a hurricane. The covers/frame are designed to take 90mph wind but I'm not taking a chance, those greenhouses cost way too much to lose!
We will start planting again in September. I'll take photos. I plan everything ahead of time due to 12 month growing and necessity of rotating crops. Saves headaches down the line by planning on paper first.
You hard shows, everything looks so wonderful.
Raised beds like yours confound me. How is that done?
I have wooded raised beds and compost in place, some of them are 12" deep with organic matter, however if I were to leave the organic matter alone in would be broken down and flat ground within a year. Do you mix soil in with your compost or bring in soil to get that height?
I need to raise the soil for beds in a new area without building more boxes. Any suggestions?
Calalily, I so admire your garden! Thanks for continuing to post so I/we can stay inspired.
My main stumbling block to having such an organized garden is the weeds. Since mine is a new garden I suppose getting these under some sort of control will take time. Last year at this time I was scurrying across our property collecting manure. I tried to pile up as much as I could in the beds and then rototilled it in. I did get somewhat of a rise by doing this and am hoping that with each year's addition I will eventually get raised beds that way. I certainly have many volunteers for manure production at my place =)! I suppose some of the weed seeds come in with the manure, but I think the benefits of the manure out weigh the weed issue. I still don't have any earthworms to speak of. Either I have very dilligent birds in my area or someone had been Napalming my fields for years before I bought it. Neighbors report that it was definitely overgrazed for many years.
This year, in addition to the manure addition, I'm looking at a winter cover crop for at least one of the beds as I figure that, tilled in, should add to the bulk/raising of my bed. Any suggestions as to which cover crop would work in my area? I'm thinking of winter wheat as it can be tilled in early spring. What do you all think?
I have earthworms, it has taken a while, but we have them. They need moisture and organic matter, add these and they will come.
The raised beds are formed with soil, then compost added. These have been in place for a while, some for 4 years, some for only 3. Once formed they are never tilled or taken down. Here are some photos of Bud building them.
These were taken in 2009 of the last garden we built. The greenhouses cover this section now (plus 2 older sections) I have more photos, just can't find them at the moment.
Cala, thank you so much! The pictures help and has helped me sort out some issues I'v been thinking about!
Terri, we have winter rye that reseeds every year in the pastures, it makes great spring grazing. I over seeded wheat the fall of 2010 on a small plot. No rain, no wheat, no opinion to pass on :0) In case you want to give wheat a try, I found the seed at Atwoods.
I'm going experiment with rye this fall in the field garden. I'm pushing for no-till, as well. However, the rye remains green well into the planting season. I'm going to see if I can do a shallow dig and flip, without disturbing too much of the soil. Some areas, I'm going to build up, like Calla's beds, with a hugelkultur base. I'm a bit worried about seeding that with rye. Once built, tilling will no longing be option if the rye turns out too difficult to turn.
On a smaller scale, I am planting vetch overwinter in the raised beds. Instead of turning it under, next spring I plan to mow it close and plant right in the vetch. The dead foliage will act as a mulch and add nitrogen as well. Sounds good in theory... lol Kristi
Kristi, I have heard that growing tomatoes in vetch is very good for the tomatoes. I have thought about growing hairy vetch over the winter and then mowing it very close to the ground and planting in it as well. I'm afraid it will overtake the garden, tho, so maybe I'll experiment vicariously through you!!