Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Veggie Garden Cheater

Last year I barely did any vegetable gardening, and this year, many seeds would be getting started too late, so I've been shopping for (gasp) already started plants from nurseries.  

It never seems like cheating to do that with flowers or herbs, but, the vegetable garden is this highly organized, precise bit of measuring, and placing seeds just so.   It is almost mathematical in the timing, the seed depth, the watering and feeding needs of the many tricksy vegetables you can grow.   I find them a fascinating challenge.

This time, my worries in the vegetable garden are less, I just need to feed and water them, they're all off to a good start, I just need to keep them happy.

I had wildly purchased a little pack container with four six inch long stalks of corn.  I was not gifted with a single ear the last time I tried to grow corn from seed.  While looking to see how best to place and grow these, I kept coming across "Three Sisters".  At first I thought this was some nursery or group of garden writers I didn't know anything about. But noooo. 

The Three Sisters are Corn, Pole Beans and Squash.  The Corn provides something for the beans to climb.  The Beans magically pull nitrogen from the air and put it into the soil as an enrichment, the Squash shades the roots of the others and provides a weed suppressing cover.

Here's a good explanation from Renee's Garden Seeds:


Here is my approximation of a nicely planted Three Sisters Garden:

I'm going to add stakes around the bed and also some chicken wire to discourage the squash from taking over the entire garden.  I think that will provide a foil.  I'm also thinking I'd like to provide a bit of trellising with either bamboo or the many sticks/branches I've gathered for the purpose from my trees.   I'm picturing something like this:

I am trying Celery for a second time.   I didn't realize that they were so water hungry and shallow rooted, last time out, so I'll be making sure they're happy this time.  They came in a pack with an indeterminate number of seedlings---they were all sort of stuck together, so I separated them as best as I could and put them in a bed in front of some new daylilies (all pinks) I purchased this season.

I planted them yesterday and am keeping an eye on them today from my window while it helpfully rains somewhat today.   They look happy so far.

No picture (and you can thank me for that because you'd be horrified) but I am trying a watermelon for the umpteenth time.  Only pumpkins prove more illusive as I try to grow them in the garden.   After reading about the beastie that is the watermelon, I see that I never gave it the room it needed.  Its getting its own bed, and my usual cucumber support and a fence will give it climbing room.  I had no idea they had a big monster root system, so my attempts to grow it in raised beds with a landscape fabric liner were sad for the powerhouse plants these wanted to be.   Try putting an elephant in a jelly jar....

So, I am woefully short of garden dirt to fill my newer beds this year (they stopped carrying the one I loved at my local garden center).   Ruthless dog that I am, I dumped a single bag in a mound in the center of a 3 x 6 bed and put Mr. Watermelon in it.  I figure it can get a start and it can dig down and under if it wishes, while I slowly fill the rest of the bed.  Could work.


  1. You're not cheating that much. Those are tiny seedlings! Good luck!!

    1. They aren't so small as they appear, it is my angle, standing rather than crouching to take the photo. I have high hopes!