Raised Bed #3
Last fall (2011) I started some kale and Brussels sprouts seeds inside and eventually put them out in #3. They didn’t have time to grow big enough to be harvestable, so I just left them where they were over the winter. We ended up not really having winter, and everything survived with no protection at all. As soon as the weather started warming up in February/March, the kale and Brussels sprouts came alive. In my 2012 garden plan I hadn’t counted on having kale and Brussels sprouts in part of the bed, but since they were already growing I just made that portion of the bed my greens section.
That turned out to be a very good decision. The greens section is on the east side of the bed, where in the spring it got a good amount of sun. Later in the season, though, this area of the bed was shielded from direct sun from most of the day because of tall trees to the east and the tall tomatoes to the west. All the greens (including last fall’s kale and Brussels sprouts) continued growing well all summer, in spite of the heat. I think this is at least partially due to being protected from the summer sun on both sides. So this plot ended up being a good place to grow greens.
In addition to the curly kale and Brussels sprouts from last fall, I also transplanted Lacinato kale and rhubarb Swiss chard. These were very vigorous plants, and are still growing strong.
On the north side of the greens section we put up a cattle panel and grew purple podded pole beans. The beans didn’t like the heat (or the fact that we weren’t watering them), but they’re coming on now. We don’t really eat green (or purple) beans because I tend to make one-dish dinners rather than an entree and sides, so I don’t really know what to do with them.
The majority of the bed was dedicated to this year’s tomatoes. We took a risk and set them out on March 18. We grew ten plants:
- 1 Favorita red cherry
- 1 yellow pear
- 1 Sungold
- 1 Purple Cherokee
- 6 Amish paste
This was our first year growing Amish paste and WOW, they are a keeper. Even though our plants got hit with early blight in July because of my cage sanitation neglect, the plants had already put on a ton of fruit. So much fruit, in fact, that when they were coming on strong I had to can every 4-5 days to keep up with them. This variety is ideal for canning. The fruits are really large for paste-type tomatoes, so they reduce the time required for blanching and peeling.
The pear tomato got taken out first by the blight, so we didn’t get much off of it. It’s not my favourite, but last year it was extremely vigorous.
The Purple Cherokee is delicious but not vigorous. We only got a few fruits off of the plant. It’s starting to make a few more now.
The Sungold and red cherry have really bounced back since we cut them back hard, and are now doing extremely well. Unless something traumatic happens (again), we will have cherry tomatoes for a long time.