Garden Expansion

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Our weather this spring has alternated between pouring rain and scorching sun.  It might not have been the best year to decide to expand my garden.

Even though I was able to get the grass cleared away for me (we were having backyard work done) it has been a tough project.  We live in an area with too many deer and need a good fence.  The fence alone took me 10-12 hours over 4 days.  Now, I’m working on prepping the rock-hard soil and planting.  It is eating up a lot of free time I don’t really have.

The half on the right is the old part of the garden.  The is fully shaded by late afternoon, as shown here.  I really only get 6 hours of sun, at best, but it works.

My strawberries are along the wall in the back.  I forgot to mulch them last fall and lost quite a few of them.  I moved the plants which were left and will let them cover the 4 feet of garden along the wall (29 feet wide at the back.)

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The total above ground height of the fence is approximately 8 feet.  I used

  1. 6-foot-tall U-posts
  2. 4 foot wooden extenders (I used wooden deck balusters)
  3. 4-foot-tall welded hog wire
  4. landscape staples
  5. 2-foot-tall chicken wire
  6. lots and lots of wire (16 gauge?  Not electrified.  Just wire.)
  7. assorted tools, spray paint, screws, fence zip ties, and band-aids

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The best part of putting up the fence was knowing that I shouldn’t have to do it again for a very, very long time (although I will run one more wire at the top.  I ran out of wire.)  I guess the extra garden space is nice, too.

I now have room for 20 tomatoes, 20 peppers, 6 eggplants, 4 Brussels sprouts, about 12 ft of cucumbers and 8 ft of beans, 5 zucchini/summer squash, a bunch of basil, and some parsley.  And two annual artichokes (an experiment!)  I might try to squeeze in some broccoli.

And, that’s all in addition to my asparagus bed which failed to grow asparagus and which I have re-purposed as a lettuce bed.  Both of the long sides of fencing fully open.  They are chicken wire and I attached it so it naturally rolls up when opened.  I planted lettuce, sugar snap peas, baby greens, radishes, and (hopefully) carrots.  My dad made the birdhouse in the background.

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We also have a few potted plants on the deck: two hot peppers, two currant tomatoes, two of the artichokes, and some flowers.  I do grow flowers sometimes, too.

My seedlings were ready to be planted several weeks ago.  I finally took my father-in-law’s advice and set up a grow light system this year.  I started the seeds 2-3 weeks later, and they were still ready too early.  I started all my tomatoes, a bunch of tomatoes, and a few eggplant.  I bought a couple eggplant and might buy some more peppers.

I managed to not sunburn my plants this year, but we did have aphids appear from nowhere a few weeks ago.  I have been controlling them with soapy water, but hopefully some aphid predators will find my garden soon.

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I am thrilled to probably have a home for all of my extra plants this year.  I can never bring myself to just dispose of them.  This year we won’t have a jungle of potted tomatoes on our deck!

We’re having the house painted in a couple weeks.  I couldn’t wait and plant afterwards, the plants need to get in the ground.  Hopefully the painters won’t destroy my garden.

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