Garden Plot Two 2016

Frost Under the Locust Tree

Frost Under the Locust Tree

Garden plot two was productive this year.

Nothing but prairie grasses was on this, or any of the garden plots when we moved here in 1993. Shortly after we dug plot two, I planted mail order trees about 12-inches tall to grow them for transplanting. Due to neglect, the locust trees grew and grew and became a 40-foot giants. One of them blew over in a 2013 extreme storm that passed through. I cut it up and sold it for firewood. The remaining locust tree provides shade for the three northern plots, and adds value to the backyard landscape.

Hosting the two compost piles, the locust tree, and a bed of day lilies, plot two is challenging because of the tree root structure. Pieces of roots as big a two inches in diameter had to be removed for planting. The tree suffered no apparent ill effects after cutting some of the roots.

Radishes and turnips were the first crop, followed by onions. All produced well. After the root vegetables finished, I installed four four-foot tall meshed wire containers to grow cucumbers — pickling and slicers. They produced well. High winds blew one tower over, pulling the roots from the ground and killing some plants. Lesson learned from this experiment is to spread the cages out more and better stake them. After 2016 there is no question cucumbers grow better in the air than on the ground.

Kennebec and Yukon Gold potatoes were planted in big plastic tubs as an experiment. I got the tubs from a friend who gets them with her animal feed. The technique served the purpose of keeping rodents from eating the mature vegetables before I did. Production was okay, although we don’t eat a lot of potatoes in our kitchen. It was enough. I’m not sure the soil composition in the containers was the best. It was mostly compost with some dirt spaded in. Harvest was easy once I turned the weighty tubs over and picked through the dirt for the potatoes. There was no fork or shovel damage to the crop because of the technique.

Burying four more containers about 12 inches in the ground, I planted four types of carrots. The purple ones were a disappointment, but the others produced enough to justify another year. I made a second planting of daikon radishes which produced enough for eating fresh and pickling.

Plans for next year: think and plan more about this plot; move the compost bins to different locations; dig up and move the day lilies to a more decorative place in the yard; plant Belgian lettuce and other early greens; re-mix the soil in the containers and move them along the southern border of the plot for potatoes and carrots; plant radishes and turnips again, adding beets; a second planting is in order after the greens and root vegetables: more thought needed on that. These ideas may change as I give the plot additional consideration.

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