Snow in May
Blackberry Winter

Garden Update - Lettuce Trial and A New Bed

Sow True Seed Lettuce

I planted my trial set of Sow True Seed Lettuce Seed on April 2. In a little over a week the seeds had all sprouted. Currently they are up and growing. Let me give you the run down on how they're doing so far.

Sow True Seed Romaine Lettuce

The Parris Island Romaine came up in a sort of spoty fashion. There are thriving little bunches and then you can see the spaces where the seeds didn't come up as uniform. The seeds that did germinate are thriving and seem to be growing quickly.

Sow True Seed Buttercrunch Lettuce

The Buttercrunch didn't come up as well at the Romaine and isn't quite as healthy looking either. I'm hoping it will catch up though.

Sow True Seed Jericho Lettuce

Jericho germinated the best out of the three varieties, I'm hoping that's a good sign that it will indeed stand up to hotter temps as spring progressing into summer as its supposed to.

How to build cheap raised beds

I think I told you our raised beds had to be replaced. There used to be 2 beds in the space you can see in the photo. Having two beds so close together left a space in between that was impossible to mow and hard to weed-eat after the tomatoes grow tall.

With finances being tight The Deer Hunter decided to use some of the trees we had to take down a while back for the sides. He scotched them in place with rebar and filled in the gaps underneath with pieces of wood and dirt. The logs will eventually rot, just like the boards did before, but even if they deteriorate a little faster the logs were a quick fix when we needed it. 


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All that lettuce looks nice, and it's nice to have a man like The Deer Hunter. He seems to know just what to do, and I'm sure the girls just adore him, as you do. ...Ken

Jack-yes we have chickens. You can read more about them at the link-but we don't have any roosters now. I need to do another chicken update post : )

I've started a couple of new "hugelkulturs" - the European name for a type of raised bed gardening. I took the piles of dead tree limbs and laid them in a squarish shape on a patch of 'lawn' that doesn't grow well because of red clay fill. I put piles of dead leaves and grass clippings all in and around the limbs, and topped it off with black sandy earth. I intend on planting my Bennings Green scalloped squash seedlings (which are huge now!) in this bed as soon as this Blackberry Winter spell is over. I'm hoping my sunflowers survive this blast - they were almost a foot high when the weather turned. All of my seedlings are needing to be planted - I need my living room back, haha!
With much love to all y'all from the riverbank in Marshall -

I quite like the pine poles, they look nice.

The bad news is those pine poles, in contact with the ground like that, will only last a couple of years before they rot and crumble. The good news is they will be adding nutrients to the soil as they do. All the bugs, worms and other little critters will have a field day dragging the bits and pieces down their holes and tunnels. So you end up with organic matter and worm castings mixed in your garden soil for free. And a live tree will grow about as fast as a dead one will rot so when the old ones are gone there will be new ones standing there waiting. Ain't it wonderful how things like that work? It's as if someone planned it that way, don't you think?

Now I have a question for anyone who might know. I have a poplar tree close to the house and it is getting too big. Back in February I put a girdle around it but it didn't seem to effect it. It came out just like the rest of the poplars. Any ideas?

I figured the Deer Hunter would find a use for the wood. I know how it is. My garden beds are cribbed with crossties and they are in bad shape. I used salvaged concrete block from an old flue to make some new cribbing but it isn't very sturdy. I did fill the cells in the block and planted marigolds, parsley and oregano in them as an experiment. So far so good but summer drought will tell the tale.

I don't try to grow lettuce in the summer, too hot. I can plant again about Aug. 15 or so. I posted this before but ... when I planted lettuce last fall during the extreme drought, it did not come up and I gave up on it. But it over-wintered and came up this spring as a nice surprise. It is trying for all it's worth to bloom now so will be gone as soon as this cool spell is over.

I see you are faced with the age-old problem of thinning. I try to wait long enough that the 'thinners' are big enough to eat. It is a lot of work to clean the little babies up but at least I don't feel wasteful. I even transplant some to fix the spacing. By the time it gets grown, lettuce really needs a 10-12" spacing I think.

Btw, I learned in 2016 that Henry Ford grew lettuce on his Richmond Hill plantation at Richmond Hill, GA during the 30's and 40's. He shipped it all over by rail. Made me wonder why more vegetable crops are not grown now on the southern Coastal Plain.

Years ago we piled brush and burned beds for lettuce and tobacco. I don't see that done anymore, It works good for destroying weeds and makes the ground richer.

Do you have chickens? Looks like a pen behind the raised bed and greenhouse. Don't recall you mentioning any livestock or pets.

That's a pretty new bed DH made! Ever think about walling the whole yard and making it garden? No more mowing!
There was so much wind last night I thought it would blow us away!

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