Monday, May 27, 2013

How does my garden grow


This is my first year to plant bokchoy. I love the stuff. I eat it raw like other friends eat celery. And I use it in stir fry and salads. It always seemed to exotic to plant but when I saw the heritage seeds at my favorite garden supply I decided to give it a try and then promptly forgot I had.

Seriously. Yes, I have a journal where I have drawn my beds and penciled in what is planted where but do I bring it out for reference in my garden? No. My Garden Journal is an evening activity where I recall the temps and progress and latest modifications. I discovered the bokchoy yesterday when I cut back the chives to dry some.

I garden in raised beds placed under a poly tunnel. No rows just patches of future plants arranged sometimes by color. Literally. I am an artist you know. And I have planted carnival carrots and rainbow chard and red Romaine lettuce. It is extensive planting. Every available space taken up to discourage weeds. And so it fits under my poly tunnel. I garden at 8250 feet so most all plants have to be protected from late frosts, summer hail storms and just the normal cool nights.

A Canadian friend asked about my beds and I dug around to a picture of this spring before the plastic went over the PVC ribs of my tunnel.

Raised beds and containers before inner tunnel ribs

Bare bones of the double tunnel

I spent a lot of time this year jockeying around my containers. My squash and tomatoes get planted in containers. The above arrangement was not the final one. I deleted the square ones on top of the 4 x 4 beds and moved the near end container to the opposite end. I had just read on line that plants which bear fruit have to have the most sun and the far end gets that with the plastic raised.

Polytunnel, plastic raised, showing tomato tepee

Tomatoes with blossoms before the end of May
Tomatoes are one of the plants I could not grow before the polytunnel. And this year I planted ones raised from seed in my studio outside in the tepee on May 15th. Noted that in my garden journal. There is now a drop light in the tepee to keep them warm nights. Last night was 27F. One tunnel raises the temp 4 degrees and two 8 degrees.

 The strawberries are just under the large tunnel and they took a frost hit. You notice the brown on some of the leaves? It has taken them a while to spring back but I was rewarded with a blossom and new leaves yesterday.

Rainbow Swiss Chard in Carnival beet bed
Low center raised bed in previous picture of uncovered beds

Red Romaine
Almost ready to be thinned for baby lettuce salads

This year I started some plants like the Swiss Chard inside my studio. The first of May I planted seeds in the raised beds giving me plantings at various levels for harvest. I want to get more seeds for beets, carrots and bokchoy to do a mid summer sowing in harvested spots to carry me into late fall with greens to eat.

What amazes me about the poly tunnel system is how it extends my season for gardening. I once never even planted cold weather crop seeds until mid May. I planted seeds this year May 1st and put out seedlings from the studio on the 15th of May. So the really good news for me is it is not June yet and my garden grows.


  1. Wow! That is awesome Jacqui. Your plants are looking great.
    I am a bit late getting my winter veggie planted but hope to get that job done this coming weekend. I have so much to do in the garden and winter is just about to hit us. We have been easing into it for a couple of weeks now. I am hoping it is going to be a mild one.

  2. Inspiring post. I wonder if your bokchoy is the same family as our patchouli. I`'ll look it up. When I lived in London I grew tomatoes, aubergine, green (sweet ) peppers in grow bags on the flat part of my roof. Loved it. That tunnel is a fabulous idea.

  3. I am so impressed! I love those Chinese cabbages, but they have a tendency to go to seed. Have you tried Tatsoy? Tough as nails, frost hardy too.


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