May Garden Update

Today I want to give a quick virtual tour of our vegetable garden here in mid May. We have had a wet and cold spring here so far, but the rain has finally stopped and the weather has turned warmer. The last week or so I have been busy clearing, planting, weeding and mulching out in the vegetable garden. I still have a lot more to do, but I have made considerable progress.

no-dig no-till test bed in March

This year I wanted to experiment with no-dig and no-till beds, and the first test bed is now completely planted. After spreading compost and other amendments, I put down woven weed barrier fabric. The material I’m using is four feet wide, and listed as “professional grade 3.2 oz” material. I secured the material along the edges with metal landscape staples. I planted broccoli, cabbage and kohlrabi at one end of the bed in late April. Those plants have taken off and are doing well.

early brassica plants

One of the stem broccolis (Happy Rich) is even starting to head up already! This one produces a small main head and lots of tender side shoots. I’m also growing Artwork, Burgundy and Jacaranda this spring.

Happy Rich broccoli

The cabbage and kohlrabi are also doing well, though the slugs have found the napa cabbage varieties. I put down Sluggo Plus which should take care of them.

napa cabbage Minuet

For the brassica plantings I cut an X in the weed barrier using scissors. But it’s hard to cut, and the edges fray, so I have found a better solution. Thanks to Sue and Martyn Garrett (Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments) for suggesting I use a culinary torch to cut the holes. They also posted a great video showing the torch in action on the weed barrier fabric. I bought one myself, and quickly put it to good use cutting holes for planting the bush squashes.

cutting hole using culinary torch

the finished hole

With the holes cut in no time, I planted ten bush squashes to fill out the rest of the no-dig no-till bed. I set these transplants two feet apart, and added a little Happy Frog organic fertilizer to the planting holes.  The varieties I planted are Goldilocks, Honey Bear, Tempest, Raven, Clarimore, Mexicana, Dunja and Green Machine. I will plant the vining type squashes in another bed with trellises soon. The transplants I set out are about three weeks old now. Setting out squash transplants gives me a big jump on the season, and the summer types should begin bearing in about a month or so.

Goldilocks acorn squash

Next in line, I needed to get a bed ready for planting main crop tomatoes. That bed had quite a few weeds growing in it, mainly annual grasses. I mowed and chopped the weeds down first, then added amendments and roto-tilled lightly. I plan on using the weed barrier fabric on this bed too. I tested it on tomatoes last year, and they did quite well this way.

bed for tomatoes before tilling

bed for tomatoes after tilling

I’m hoping to start planting tomatoes soon, and after that I will move on to prepare other beds for planting. I hope you have enjoyed this tour of the garden here in May, and I hope to give another planting update next week.

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3 Responses to May Garden Update

  1. Enjoy your Jacaranda broccoli this season. I will definitely plant again next year. Isn’t SluggoPlus a wonder? Sow bugs munch on many of my crops but thankfully they also like SluggoPlus.

    • Dave @ HappyAcres says:

      The Sluggo Plus does indeed work wonders! I use it in the greenhouse too where sow bugs are always a problem.

  2. Jody Long says:

    Hi (bloggers-just stopped by). I read your article about ‘whipple’ beans also! Tips were amazing and difficult to achieve. In Willamette Valley, OR I grew several varieties of beans. Superb yields-like 4-5 gallons by end of season. Very long rows-but so easy to dry on plastic, stomp, and store.

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