Posts Tagged ‘interplanting’

Interplanting Trellised Peas in Open Raised Beds

Sunday, April 5th, 2015
Open Raised Bed

Open Raised Bed

Open raised beds lend themselves well to home vegetable growing. A trellised pea planting demonstrates their versatility.

I try to cover my beds with leaves in the fall. The leaves protect the beds during the hard freeze, slow down weed production, and make it easier to get into the garden early in the spring. This picture shows the leaves raked off and any weeds that did sneak through pulled out. I use the leftover leaves as mulch in the paths or I just sweep them into an adjacent bed as I open up the garden. I don’t work the leaves directly into the bed soil. That’s too much work and I think would probably make the soil too acidic as opposed to just letting the leaves break down in the paths.

T-Post Trellis for Peas

T-Post Trellis for Peas

I’ve added about 20 gallons of compost to my 20 foot long bed. I’ve scraped up some soil from the adjacent paths and raked and smoothed up the bed to give it some height. The trellis system uses T-posts spaced 3 feet apart and 21” between the rows. The trellis lattice is two foot wide fencing cut to 60″ lengths, laced crosswise between the posts with jute. The T-posts are 90” long with about 70” above ground.

Peas Interplanted with Greens in Open Raised Bed

Peas Interplanted with Greens in Open Raised Bed

Here is the bed with the trellising in place and completely planted. Peas are planted on 2” centers along both sides of the fencing. In between each trellis of peas I’ve planted two rows of greens of various types including collards, spinach, lettuces, radishes and chard. The outside slopes are planted with a dense seeding of cilantro and mustard from saved seed. At both ends of the bed I’ve laid down about a 4” wide strip of marigold seed, saved from last year’s flowers.

I interplant peas like this each year, but this is my most ambitious and structured planting so far.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be happy with the results.

Simple Seed Saving

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Lettuce Flowers and Seed Heads

I could have titled this, “Seed Saving for Dummies”, but I’ve never been a fan of the “For Dummies” or “Idiot’s Guide” list of titles for how-to manuals.  How dare they imply that I may not be too smart?  Anyone reading our blog posts is obviously very intelligent and I would never insinuate otherwise.

Greens Gone to Seed

There are plenty of seed-saving guides out there and this is not going to be a treatise on complicated seed-saving techniques.  Some seed saving is extremely easy.  This picture shows the bed where I grew garlic and interplanted it with salad greens.  I wrote about that here. 

The garlic was harvested in July and the lettuces and most of the other greens have long bolted.  Rather than ripping them out, I’ve let them flower and put out seed.  Also in the bed is cilantro, dill and kale.  Those all are repeat volunteers which I encourage by letting them go to seed and then scattering the seed when it dries.  These volunteers come up everywhere and I have them to transplant, leave to grow if they are not in the way, or just cull out the ones in the wrong place as if they were a weed.

Arugula Flowers

The lettuces, arugula, mustards and other greens now flowering will drop seed, some of which will come up as volunteers next spring.  I’ll transplant some of them and I’ll also save and dry some of the seed heads this fall to have free seed to plant next season.

In all cases saved seed should be from open pollinated varieties.  Hybrids are not reliable to give an offspring you may be happy with.

This method of seed saving is cheap and easy, but it has the minor drawback in that seeds can cross.  This is more likely with lettuce.  There is a chance it will cross with wild lettuce and produce a bitter offspring.  It could also cross with another lettuce variety.  That would not be a problem, it just wouldn’t be the same lettuce you had originally planted.  But over the years, I’ve have plenty of volunteers, free seeds, and no crossing that I was aware of.  For cilantro and dill, unless you grow several varieties, crossing won’t be an issue.

While this isn’t quite permaculture, a significant portion of my vegetable garden is volunteer or grown from saved seed.  Saving seeds from other vegetables is also very easy.  We’ve saved bean and pea seeds, which is no more difficult than letting the pods get almost dry on the vine then finishing the process of totally drying indoors.  If you leave the pods to dry completely on the vine, there is a danger the pods will split and the seed will fall to the ground.

For seeds from tomatoes, peppers, melons, squash and other vegetables, the process is a little more complicated, but still easy.  For the home gardener who does not have to ensure that the seed saved will produce an exact offspring of the parent, you really don’t have much to lose by giving simple seed saving a try.

Interplanting Garlic with Greens

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Here are two videos about garlic and inter-planting garlic with salad greens.

garlic and cilantro

I plant garlic here in southern Wisconsin in late October.  I plant the cloves along the top of ridges of a raised bed that has been shaped into three ridges (or two troughs).  After I plant the garlic I mulch it deeply with straw.

I plant the garlic on the tops of ridges in my dense clay soil because garlic likes to be well drained. I’m minimizing the chance of the garlic getting water-logged then frozen as it goes through our often very cold winters under its insulating straw blanket.

In spring, I pull back the straw and inter-plant salad greens of all types along the edges of the ridges and in the troughs.  The greens are somewhat protected from the sun by the garlic flags.  The inter-planting gets me two crops out of the bed at the same time.

The first video shows how I use both CobraHead tools to help me remove the matted down straw.  The second video explains the inter-planting process.