Expanding My First Big Garden

So, I just posted on my first two gardens, small and then big. During the summer I realized this was something I really wanted to do and excel at. When I set my mind to something, I am usually very tenacious about it. I am not implying perfection, but I am learning to do some research ahead of time and learn from others.

East garden expansion7My big garden I am now calling it my East Garden. Why? Well, because I created another garden in the west part of my yard this year. More on that in another post.

If you look at the picture to the right, if you follow the first white post to the left all the way to the trees (there is dark soil along that line), that is where the old fence line was. From that line to the other white posts is all new. I noticed during they summer that it got a lot of sun, and so why not make it useful?

East garden expansion3

To the left is a panorama shot of the expansion. I used the same method to prepare the area: cut the grass short, sprayed grass killer, covered with black plastic for 2 weeks, uncovered and covered with ~2 inches of compost and then tilled until muscle failure. I then raked the dirt into 4′ x 10-14′ “raised beds. I really didn’t have a plan for this area for the fall, as I didn’t have my seed starting equipment set up (more on that later), so I just seeded some lettuce, spinach, carrots and chard. I also added some collards and cabbage transplants from Lowes.

This area didn’t really produce much, I think for a few reasons. 1. There may have been residual grass killer in the soil. I am not sure if this is the case, as I did it with my first big garden and there were no issues at all. 2. There was not a lot of sun in this area. As I came to realize, the front of our house faces south, and so the suns angle Fall 2014_1during the winter months is lower and so this area is essentially shaded. Not a good spot for winter gardening.

I was able to get some lettuce, spinach, carrot, radishes and chard growing in the older part of the garden. I also had a spot in the front of my house where we got some good veg. With the front of the house being south-facing, I actually want to develop this area for gardening in the future.Fall 2014_5

Cauliflower: it was looking quite nice for a while, but then the frost hit consistently and it shriveled and died. Nothing this year sadly. I am not really that concerned, though, Fall 2014_7because one of my purposes with the transplants to develop real experience with these plants. Next year I will have hoop houses set up for protection.

Broccoli: it came in more quickly than the cauliflower and it was delicious! Far better Fall 2014_6than anything I have purchased at the store. Sadly, the frost destroyed it as well, and I will do a better job protecting it next year. Good knowledge.

Brussels Sprouts: these have been far more hardy than either the broccoli or cauliflower. The frost has not bothered them a bit. These take longer to come to harvest, so I am still waiting. I can see the little heads along the stock. We will see!

I think that about does it for now…

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