A Vegetable Garden Update

It's been a little while since I've updated you on my raised bed vegetable garden. I'm pleased with the way things are looking right now. The tomato plants are taking off as are the squash and cucumber plants. You can see for yourself the benefits of gardening in raised beds! The tomatoes and other vegetables grow faster and larger.

In the picture above you can see one of our 11-12 tomato plants. I haven't kept track of how many I put in nor did I keep track of where I put each one. That's probably not good but I figured I would recognize the tomatoes by the fruits they produce. I can tell you without a doubt that the large tomato plant in the picture below is a 'Brandywine' tomato. The foliage is more broad than the hybrid tomatoes I selected for the garden. All of these tomatoes came from seed and were planted using a deep planting method. In my opinion it is the best way to plant a tomato. Just bury the tomato as deep as you can and remove all the leaves except the top few.

I'm still working on my irrigation system which will mainly consist of soaker hoses. I decided to use a basic hardwood mulch that was colored red. The garden's appearance was not really my concern even though the red-mulch looks great. I could have gone with straw or cedar mulch and been happy with its appearance but the red coloring reflects the red light frequency back onto the plants. This is helpful in particular for tomatoes since the red light frequency helps improve the quality of the fruit. I've used it before in my container vegetable garden and we've had good tomatoes, so why change a good thing? Underneath the mulch I layered newspapers as an extra layer of mulch. They will break down over time but for now they will prevent weeds from growing underneath the mulch.

I used an inter-planting method for the vegetable beds. I planted marigolds in the bed to discourage insects from tasting our crops. I also planted basil in the beds but the seedlings are too small to see right now. The cucumber plants are mixed in this bed to help provide an additional groundcover (plus we kind of like cucumbers!). All these plants are good companion plants with each other. In the square bed I just have four of the tomato plants. I'll probably plant some other things in the same bed soon, I just haven't decided what.

In the rectangular bed in the above picture I have squash, peppers, and marigolds.

If you remember my vegetable garden layout there were two 'L' shaped beds that were formed by a square bed and two large rectangle beds. I only took pictures of one 'L' since the other is only partially planted. I'll update that one later. I still need to plant a few more things out there. It has lettuce and radishes that will need to come out soon and beans that are about 6-12 inches tall. I can't wait to taste my first tomato from the garden! Did I mention that they were blooming?

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