After a fairly wet winter here in Baja, my broccoli plants were well over three feet tall and becoming home to a host of aphids, carefully tended by their farmers the ants. I was becoming frustrated by trying to fight the aphids and use the ever smaller broccoli side shoots.
My freezer is quite full and I was having a hard time finding a place to squeeze in even one more zip top bag of broccoli. Enough! I ripped out the broccoli plants with great effort. Some of them had “trunks” over three inches thick! Next I had to prepare my soil for replanting. Here is a spent plant next to my spading fork, notice that the trunk is thicker than the handle of the tool.
I have friends that know of my garden and some of the asked me if I would loan them my rototiller. I would be happy to, but they have to provide the power for it. Here is a photo of my new one:
My old one has tines that are bent beyond repair because I was using it to remove some buried stones. My gardens are in raised beds and I do all of the turning of the soil by hand, or should I say by foot. I compost every time I replant the garden. You can see the compost around my spading fork.
After enriching the soil I replant. I am planting snap beans, peppers, chiles, tomatillos, and tomatoes now. I also have some onions that I use as an edging for the garden. Any that I don’t use as scallions, I let grow into dry bulbs for the kitchen. Later this week I will be planting summer and winter squash but they are real space eaters, so they cannot go into the raised beds.
Here is a photo of the first of the beans:
Perhaps you will notice that the rows are not straight. This really bothers Mr. M! “I used to use sticks and string so my rows were really straight when I was a kid.” I have no problem with wandering rows. I plant along the black ooze tubes that run through the garden bed. Since the hose is looped it won’t lay straight. Notice the rock near it. I use them to help hold the hose where I want it. Guess what?! The plants grow just fine in wandering lines. And they really love the water from the hose.
Being the frugal duo, Mr. M and I don’t have fancy planter boxes for our gardens. Our raised beds are simply a row of old bricks that hold the soil where I want it. The main vegetable garden in based on one I saw in Sunset magazine here: http://www.sunset.com/garden/fruits-veggies/winter-greens-planting-plan-00400000052086/
The size of this plan is great. I can tend the plants easily from any side. I also can avoid stepping on the soil since I turn it by hand (okay, foot) and once I have it prepared, I don’t want it packed down by stepping on it. I just keep composting and turning it every time I harvest a vegetable.
I plant in short groups and at different times so I can harvest over a period of time. For instance, two weeks ago I planted green, purple and yellow bush snap beans. I also planted a row of yellow and green snap beans that are a type that freezes well. Today I planted some more short rows of green and yellow bush snap beans and some Italian type snap beans (the ones with the flattened pods). In a couple of months I will have a variety of green beans for the table and the freezer, followed by a variety of other beans over the summer. Now if I can just find a little space to grow some Anasazi beans for shelling and dry use… And maybe some pole beans…