"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."
Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, September 13, 2010

Winter Garden Beds

We spent this last weekend planting the raised beds with goodies for a winter garden.  We added more compost to each of the three long raised beds and also made a small square just for onion seedlings. I don't know what possessed me to buy a pony pack of onion seedlings because it took a lot of patience and time to pull them apart to plant.  By the time I planted ten of the sections with these seedlings I could hardly get up off the ground!  I ended up putting in a few clumps because I was just too tired to separate the remaining seedling.  I might go back down this evening and finish. 

I also put in over a hundred onion sets which should be ready in a month.  The seedlings will probably take three months since they are so tiny. It was a beautiful, peaceful evening last night when I planted them so it was worth the time spent.  I planted these seeds from Botanical Interest Seeds which I purchased at a local nursery. 

Arugula (Rocket and Wild)
Beets (Gourmet and Early Wonder)
Kale (Red Winter and Italian Nero Toscana)
Mache (corn salad)
Mesclun Salad Mix (Farmers Market Blend and Gourmet Spicy Mix)
Radicchio (Palla Rossa Ashalim)
Romaine (Parris Island)
Radish (Cherry Belle)
Sorrel (common seed)
Spinach (Bloomdale)
Swiss Chard (Bright Lights, Fordhook Giant and Ruby Red)

These I purchased at Home Depot.  They have a really good selection now and the sets were fresh; I didn't find one in the bag that was dried up. If you wait too long to buy these and plant them you will end up with a bag of dried up sets. I try to keep the bags in a cool place, but with our heat at this time of the year it is tough.  I need to make room in the refrigerator for the remaining sets.
Garlic (from sets)
Shallot (from sets)
Spring Onion (from sets)

Here are my raised beds for this years winter garden.  Not much to look at but in a month they will be green and lush with all sorts of goodies for salads.
The bed is made from the adobe wall we have in our backyard.  Seven years ago when we purchased this house a section of the wall was so worn we took that section down and replaced it with "slump" block.  Many of the old adobe bricks were still in good shape and we have used these around the property for garden beds ever since.  This weekend we dug out all the soil and lined the beds with chicken wire.  Then mixed in compost.  I also added bone meal, blood meal, kelp meal, worm castings and dolomite lime. I use about 1 part each, a little less of the blood meal, then mix and add to the soil when I am mixing in the compost.  If you use a lot of manure you probably would not need the blood meal.  I like the blood meal for this time of the year because it is fast acting and it seems to really help the fast growing lettuces.

These next two are also adobe bricks but are newer.  They are also narrower than the original bricks.  Adobe is getting difficult to find in our area now.  I had heard that the local property where these were being made was sold and is no longer used to make the bricks.

This one is again, the older adobe bricks.  Just pieces that were left over.  These bricks keep the soil warm in the cooler winter months.  We put up a fence of chicken wire just for last night to keep the bunnies out.  This summer we had a ground squirrel in the tomato beds.  I don't know what I can do to keep those guys out once they find the garden.  I will need to call on the hawks and owls to help me out!

We still have two Green Zebra Tomatoes that I grew from seed.  They have lots of tomatoes right now and with the heat planned for this week I might be picking some soon.  I also have some late plantings of zucchini (second picture) that are doing really well. 
Green Zebra Tomato (in the red cages)
Old zucchini plant still producing a squash, about two a week now.

I planted these three zucchini in late July from seeds.  I have picked a few, but not sure how well they will do with the cooler nights we are having already.  Saturday night we had a low of 56 which is cool for this time of year.

Next project will be to tackle the herb garden, again!  A gopher moved in about a month ago.  I did not lose that much but he has made a mess of the place.  He did eat a lot of my marjoram plant's roots but it survived. I may be lining this bed with chicken wire too.  Now that is a job I am not looking forward to.


  1. Your raised bed looks good with those recycled adobe walls. With all the ingredients that you have added in, I am sure you will have lots of healthy greens on them soon. You have bunnies, squirrels and gophers? Sounds interesting to me. Well, that's because they are not eating up my tomatoes. :)

  2. Great progression of photos - looks like you had a full weekend!

  3. I love your garden plan! I'm not even sure what will happen to mine. Although we're located in CA, we're in the mountains and get snow! I'm new to veggie gardening from seeds, I already planted my cool season crops but we'll see. Nights here are getting cooler yikes! We also have tons of Gophers around the back porch but they haven't messed with my garden. My raised beds are protected with chicken wires too. Have a great week and happy gardening!

  4. A busy weekend indeed! We're still getting our fall/winter crops in. Your raised beds look great, and seem more than able to fend off any marauding creatures. What is it with gophers? We just had one pop up in the vegetable garden area, but fortunately the bottom of the raised beds are at least lined with hardware cloth, so he was thwarted!

  5. Your raised beds look great. I'm going to have to remember to use some blood meal when I plant my lettuce. It's still to early for that here.


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