Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

I’m Going to Need a Bigger Garden March 13, 2011

Today I decided to get my tomatoes into the ground, based on the forecast of some rain, and warmer weather for the two weeks ahead.  I also took a risk and put my row covers up, however leaving the hoops behind, just in case.

Several weeks ago, I bought some Celebrity and Valley Girl tomatoes and transplanted them into 6 inch pots, and stuck them in the greenhouse.  They have grown and established impressive root systems since then, so I think they are ready for planting.

First, I had to harvest some lettuce to make room.


Lettuce Harvest


In the 24 foot garden, the left 4×4 feet is occupied by Lancelot Leeks.  The second 4×4 section has some lettuce and 4 tomato plants I planted on Friday.  So, today, I planted the next 4×4 section with 4 more tomato plants.  I’m attempting a new method of irrigation (new for me) which I read recently on Field and Feast, my friend Cecilia’s site.  For this method, you bury quart sized pots up to the rim, and fill with water for more even disbursement at the roots.  I had lots of trouble with blossom end rot last Spring, most likely from uneven watering, so I’m trying this.

So, I got 4 more tomato plants in the ground with their buried pots.


Tomatoes with buried pots


Then I moved onto the repurposed garden where I initially ripped up landscaping and planted corn.  This garden was not affected by pests, mockingbirds or squirrels and produced most of my tomatoes in the Fall, so I’m sticking with what works.  In an effort not to overcrowd, I just planted 3 plants in this garden.  I also planted one Large Red Cherry Tomato in each of my Earthboxes.    For all of these plantings, the soil has been turned and amended with Ladybug 8-2-4; I put Worm Castings at the bottom of the hole prior to planting, and then top dress with Turkey Compost.


Tomato Gardens


With all that planting done, I realized my greenhouse is full to pepper, cucumber, eggplant and more tomato seedlings for which I have no more room.  The 8 foot garden is full of corn (maybe), sugar snap peas, carrots, leeks and potatoes.


Corn, sugar snap peas, carrots, potatoes, leeks


Potatoes are so much fun to grow, because they take a while to come up, while their root systems form, but when they do, they spring forth rather spectacularly, with a fairly large plant.


Potato Plant

So, while I was watering the onions and garlic (all the while pondering ripping out more landscaping) I noticed some of the onions had bolted.  No! Once they go to seed, they are still edible, but they will not get any bigger.  So, I pulled up the bolted ones and brought them in for cleaning.  This is why I plant so many onions, because some always bolt.



Bolted Onions

At some point in the future, the two onion and garlic beds will be ready to be purged of their 5 month inhabitants, and will make way for the peppers that will soak up the summer sun until fall again, when it will again be time to plant onions.  And so it goes.



2 Responses to “I’m Going to Need a Bigger Garden”

  1. Marc O. Says:

    I checked my onions, and I have a half-dozen (so far) that have bolted. I guess that’s the peril of planting early and having a number of cold-warm-cold cycles… they get confused. So do you think they’ll all bolt?

  2. I would be totally heartbroken if they all bolted. This is my third or fourth year with onions, and that has never happened. Although, in former seasons, most of the bolting occurred with the purple/red ones, so I’m not sure. Fingers crossed!

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