Now that the main vegetable garden area is almost all planted, I thought it was time to give a tour. I have ten beds/rows there that are each 4 feet wide by about 40 feet long. Only the first one is a raised bed. It had vining squash in it last year, but this time it is home to the pole beans. I set up the trellis in a zig-zag manner, with each section being about 6 feet in length. Doing that let me get 7 sections in the space, giving me 42 running feet to plant the beans.
I have nine varieties of pole snap beans planted, including Fortex, Musica, Gold Marie, Trionfo Violetta, Climbing French, Rattlesnake, and the yardlong bean Red Noodle. Two more are heirloom ‘greasy beans’ I grew last year called Lazy Wife Greasy and Robe Mountain. I also have two varieties of dry pole beans planted, Good Mother Stallard and Poletschka, though Rattlesnake is a dual-purpose bean that is good as both a snap bean and a dried bean. That’s Trionfo Violetta in the below photo, which is currently leading in the race to see who makes it to the top first.
In bed #2 I have lots of peppers planted, 58 plants in all. I planted them two across in a staggered fashion, with each row being about 12 inches apart and the plants being 18 inches apart down the row. All the plants are mulched with sheets of newspaper then covered with straw. Not all the plants have the folding cages though. Some have wire ring tomato cages for support, which are great for peppers and eggplant but pretty worthless for supporting tomatoes in my opinion. I see a bloom in the below photo and a few weeds I need to pull.
Most of the peppers came from seeds I started back in March, but a few are plants I overwintered in containers. That’s the C. baccatum pepper Aji Angelo in the below photo. It is now in its third season here, and will likely give me the first hot peppers of the year. It’s blooming already and setting on fruit, and dwarfs the seedling you can see to the right of it. In 2014 it grew in a container, then I planted it in the ground last year. I dug it up last fall and overwintered it in a container before planting it out again this year. I have no idea how long I can keep this plant going, but it sure seems to be doing well at the moment!
In bed #3 I have a mix of eggplants, paste tomatoes and cucumbers. The eggplants are supported by the wire ring cages, while the tomatoes are in my homemade remesh cages. The eggplants have about the usual amount of flea beetle damage they have at this stage, and I am spraying them once a week with a neem oil/pyrethin mix. Some of them are starting to bloom also.
In bed #4 I have potatoes, bush beans and black tepary beans planted. The potatoes have been hilled twice now and I could probably find a few new potatoes if I tried. I’ll likely wait until I have some snap beans ready, since I love the seasonal treat of fresh dug new potatoes and green beans cooked together. That’s the 1990 AAS winner Derby bush bean in the below photo, and it is just now starting to bloom.
Bed #5 has the brassicas planted, plus brown tepary beans at one end. I have started cutting the broccoli, and more plants are heading up. That’s Green Magic in the below photo.
Bed #6 is planted in garlic, with snow peas at the other end. Some of the early maturing garlic cultivars are close to being ready to dig. That’s Red Janice in the below photo, a Turban type originally from the Republic of Georgia. Some of the lower leaves are turning brown, so I’ll probably dig one of these next week to see how they are doing.
Bed #7 is planted all in tomatoes. I have lots of cherry and plum types here plus the slicers. The tomatoes are caged in homemade remesh cages. That’s Celebrity and a new University of Florida variety called Garden Treasure in the below photo.
Another slicer, Jetsetter, is setting on green tomatoes and might give us the first slicing tomatoes of the year.
Bed #8 is all sweet potatoes. I’m still waiting on the ones I ordered, but I have planted the Bonita and Purple slips I started myself and they are already taking off. The weeds are taking off too, and I will mulch this bed with straw once the rest of the slips are planted.
Bed #9 is bush and semi-bush squash. Of course most all squash tends to ramble around a bit, even the summer bush types, so I give these plants a generous spacing in the bed.
Several of the bush summer squashes are blooming, including the hybrid zucchini Romanesco in the below photo. It is in the race to give us our first squash of the year, running neck and neck with Bossa Nova and Astia.
Bed #10 is where I planted most of the vining squash. It’s the last bed, and I can let the vines climb up the fencing on the outside of the garden. That’s Candystick Dessert Delicata in the foreground of the below photo. I tried growing this one last year but the vines didn’t make it, so I am hoping for better luck this year. Its parents include Honeyboat and Hessel’s Sugar Loaf, and I am growing those this year too. With any luck I will able to compare the three of them, and eat a lot of Delicatas in the process! Behind the two delicata plants you can see Butternut Rugosa (aka Violina Rugosa) which is a moschata type that also failed to produce for me last year.
I hope you have enjoyed this tour of our vegetable garden. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!
Your garden is looking fabulous! I can’t believe that Aji Angelo, it loves your garden, it’s growing far better for you than it ever did for me. My garden is in a between seasons state at the moment, the spring stuff is just finishing and I’m still getting summer stuff started and even fall/winter stuff is getting in the seeding lineup already.
All your plants are looking so lush and vibrant, Dave! Proof of all the hard work that goes into each of your beds. Thanks for sharing the pictures!
How do you protect your young plants from rabbits and rodents?
The garden is surrounded by metal fencing, and I ran chicken wire around the bottom the keep rabbits from squeezing through the fencing. Voles sometimes tunnel in, but that’s the only critter (so far) that has managed to get in there.
It’s amazing how fast everything grows in the heat of summer. That’s a ton of pole beans and pepper plants, so great! And your 3 year old pepper plant is outrageous.
I love how you’re already getting zucchini. The squash vine borer has already gotten 1 out of 2 of the purchased crookneck summer squash, it might live but I need to start doing something about the borers.
You are so far ahead of us here & everything is looking amazing – can’t believe that pepper plant! I could barely keep mine going for a couple of months the one time I tried to overwinter them. Your broccoli is looking great too – do you cover the brassicas? It must be a bit trickier to cover them when they are planted in the ground rather than a raised bed.
No I don’t cover them, I spray with Bt to keep the caterpillars in check. I have covered them in the past though, but decided it was too much trouble.
Do you happen to have an aerial view of your planting area? My husband and I have many raised beds but he is getting the urge to rip them all out and till the entire space. Since you seem to grow the same types of plants we like, I thought it would be helpful to see your growing process in a birds eye view. Have you done that in a previous post that I missed?
Hi Sarah, sorry but I don’t have an aerial view of the garden. Short of using a drone, it’s not situated in a way I can photograph it. Our garden is about a 40 ft by 45 ft area that I have divided into the ten beds/rows, each about 4 ft x 40, with a 5 ft wide walkway on one end that lets me access all of them. It’s surrounded by a ‘dog wire’ fencing that is covered at the bottom with 2 ft wide chicken wire to keep out rabbits and small critters. The beds aren’t raised, though they are hilled and mounded up for growing potatoes and sweet potatoes. I grow some things in a single row (potatoes, beans, tomatoes, squash), some in a double row (brassicas, eggplant, peppers), and garlic in a four-across row. I rotate the veggies from year to year so different families don’t grow in the same place year after year. I hope that helps!
The thing I like best about blogs like yours is that I can see all the different styles of support-systems that people use for their veg! (I call it the hardware). Those metal cages you use for your peppers look good to me, but I have never seen anything like them on sale here. Even the cylindrical tomato-cages on offer here are very small and flimsy in comparison with yours, and others I see on US blogs. Do they think we in the UK are not capable of producing a big tomato plant???
The garden looks wonderful, very healthy. You plantings are way ahead of mine. My Trionfo Violetto beans are just germinating and I just seeded the summer squash this weekend. Amazing how big the male flowers are on the Costata Romanesco. Can’t wait for mine to start producing.
So amazing!! Everything, I mean. I could never take photos of my entire garden right now, it’s too full of weeds. You are just so good at this … organized, maintained! Very well done. That Aji plant is unbelievable – I actually just discovered not long ago that pepper plants are actually perennials in hotter climates and grow into large bushes. Definitely not something that would happen here. When you say you overwintered it in a container, did you bring it into your house or your heated greenhouse? Would love to try that some time.
I brought the peppers into the basement, where they got a bit of artificial light but not a whole lot. They mostly went into a dormant state, and then I moved them out into the greenhouse this spring when temps out there stayed above freezing.
Hmm, it might be worth a try at least once to bring a pepper plant in, I’ll see if I have any good healthy ones to try this year.
I, too, am still waiting for my Sandhill order. My order was #46, received by them 10/30/15. I suspect the long cool spring was a disaster for producing sweet potato slips out of doors. What is your order number?
I trellis my peppers & tomatoes the same way – commercial tomato cages for the peppers and concrete reinforcing wire for the big cherry tomato plants.
Hi Mary, it’s my first time ordering from Sand Hill and I forgot about the confirmation letter. I ordered in later December, and my order number is 122. Hopefully the slips are taking off for them by now!
My order arrived in today’s mail – with 2 of my first choices and 2 substitutions from my list of alternates. Yay!
Mine came today, and I hope to get them in the ground tomorrow.
Thanks for the tour Dave, looks amazing. I’m disappointed with my squash so far, I think I was a bit over-keen and planted them out too early. Some got eaten by slugs and others have just sat there miserably. Hopefully with all this rain we’ve been having (plus a bit of sun), they might pick up.
I was also interested at how densely your pole beans are sown. I think it works well with your long fencing for them to climb up. At the moment I just have mine mainly in wigwams so they get a bit congested at the top where they all meet.
Right, I should go and get a couple of hours in on the plot!
I sowed the beans a bit thick, and didn’t thin them. So they wound up being a couple of inches apart. I seem to have better luck when I sow them like this, rather than farther apart (as is usually recommended).