Raised Bed #2
I planted 190 heads of garlic in #2 last fall: 100 German Extra-Hardy and 90 Russian Red. They took up about half the bed until around June.
The other half was planted in carrots and beets in the spring. I experimented with using our cold frames on them for the first time, and learned the hard way how high temperatures can get in a cold frame, even on a cool day. I closed the lids/glazing/lights on the frames overnight because of the threat of frost, but didn’t take them off in the morning. The outside temp got around 65F that day, but got well over 100F inside the cold frame. The leaves on the beets and carrots literally cooked. Devastating.
They eventually grew back, but I can only imagine that getting their photosynthesizing parts killed off couldn’t have helped the roots. We did eventually harvest a ton of beet greens as well as beets, and quite a few carrots, too. The carrots were all deformed and hard to clean and use, though. I don’t know if it’s because of the cooking incident, or because I planted some of them in the fall and they overwintered, or because I tried starting them in soil blocks and transplanting them, or because there’s something about our raised beds that they don’t like. There are so many variables, it’s hard to figure out what went wrong. My guess is they didn’t appreciate being transplanted or cooked, so I’m going to try direct seeding them this fall instead. Google also suggests I may be overfertilizing or watering inconsistently. Boo.
After the garlic came out, the sweet corn, pole beans and melons went in. I did a modified Three Sisters planting, substituting melons instead of squash. I wasn’t sure what spacing to use, so I made an educated guess and then filled in some more corn when they started to look a little too far apart.
The corn did okay. The plants grew, but the heat interfered with pollination. The purple podded pole beans also grew, but didn’t start putting on flowers until the last couple weeks, again likely because of the heat.
The cantaloupe and watermelon vines looked gorgeous for weeks. I started noticing cucumber beetles and reminding myself to use an organic spray on them before they could spread disease. Too late. The vines started wilting. They did set some fruit which, as usual, was ready when I was away. Several of the melons rotted where they sat. (Are you noticing a trend here?) So overall, still not much success with melons. Next year…
And finally, after the carrots and beets came out, sweet potatoes went in. We started all of our own slips again this year from last year’s sweet potatoes. I started the slips early and kept the plants upstairs so I wouldn’t forget about them in the basement. As soon as a slip was ready, I’d pull it off and put it in water to hold it over until the plot was ready for planting. I think we ended up with around 50 slips. The vines are growing extremely well and going crazy. I’ve given up on trying to contain them within the confines of the raised bed, so they are now spilling all over into the yard.
Now that the corn and melons are finished, I can start clearing out that half of the bed and replanting for the fall. That will make the third round of crops this season. I think we’re finally starting to get the hang of succession planting.