Mid-May planting: Beans, squash, cukes and melons

Our garden in May

Our garden in May

Sunday was a beautiful day to garden, which was great since I had a pretty long to-do list.  Above you can see one section of the garden.  The far raised beds are planted with raspberries.  The raised bed in the middle left is the asparagus bed (which has been a sad disappointment so far — only five shoots out of the 25 crowns I planted).  Middle right I have the bean towers.  The lower bed has a small patch of spinach and some onions.  The wine barrels have an assortment of beans.

Pole bean towers

Pole bean towers

First up for the day — planting beans.  This year, I am planting both pole beans and bush beans. Since pole beans are vines that grow quite tall, they need good supports.  This year I am trying the bean tower supports from Gardener’s Supply.  At $35 each, these are a bit expensive but they are supposed to be quite sturdy and they should last many years.  Assembling the bean towers was quick and simple.  Once of the the box, they easily sprang into shape. In terms of varieties, I am growing Spanish Musica on one tower and Santa Anna on the other. I also planted an assortment of other beans, some in the same raised bed as the towers and others in the wine barrel planters. Rounding out the beans, I planted bush beans, Etna, Maxibel, and Purple Queen. The Etnas are typically grown for dried soup beans and not eaten fresh.  I also planted a soybean, Misono Green.  These tend to like warmer weather than we have, but this variety supposedly does OK in a Pacific Northwest climate, so we’ll see how it does.

Barrel planters, mid-may

Barrel planters, mid-may

To the south of the greenhouse, I have a whole row of wine barrel planters.  The planters fit well in this narrow space and because they are elevated, it helps reduce weeds, which are a huge problem for this part of our yard. On the other side of the fence is our neighbor’s pasture and it is pretty thick with pasture grasses and weeds that would quickly overtake a planting area not raised above the natural ground. The first five planters have a variety of carrots and radishes (note to self, 3-year-olds must be supervised around baby radish seedlings — one whole barrel was picked clean yesterday in the bat of an eye). The three barrels with the green plastic mulch have butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and sugar pumpkins.  I’ll likely do a combination of trellising and letting them sprawl over of the sides of the barrels.  The two near barrels, still empty, will soon be planted with acorn squash and another pumpkin (Cinderella).

Strawberry bed, mid-May

Strawberry bed, mid-May

Here you can see a section of our strawberry bed.  I think we’re going to have a good crop this year.  Earlier this year I thoroughly weeded this bed, cut down the old growth, and then gave it a thick layering of composted goat manure and hay.  The strawberries seem to be happy. 

Blueberry bush, mid-May

Blueberry bush, mid-May

I have a number of blueberry bushes in the yard.  Out of all of them, this one looks the happiest this year.  This is a Duke blueberry, which is an early producer with medium-sized berries. If it gets decent pollination, we should get quite a few berries from this bush alone.

Other planting efforts this weekend: cucumber, melon, and watermelon plants were all planted in the greenhouse. For these, I am using green mulch as well as trellising. We’ll see how this system works out. Overall, it was a productive weekend.  Now that I’ve got pretty much everything in the ground, I am looking forward to weekends with lighter garden duties and actually eating the results of this labor over the weeks and months to come.


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7 Responses to Mid-May planting: Beans, squash, cukes and melons

  1. Love the garden, I have a raised bed, fairly small. I find that using planters and raised beds allows for more control with moisture and nutrients. Just learning about lasagna gardening myself.

  2. Chiot's Run says:

    I love those raised beds.

    The bean towers look nice, I’ve always wondered about them when I see them in the cataloge. You’ll have to update later when they’re full of beans.

  3. Dan says:

    Your garden is really coming along. The bean towers are very nice.

  4. I am trying edamame this year as well. I have Sayamusume. It sprouted at the same time as my jade and romano beans and is growing about as well. I love edamame on my salads so I am hoping it does well!

    We transplanted six blueberry bushes from our yard to the garden this spring. I’m a little worried about them surviving their first summer there since they were pretty big when we moved them. I have two Dukes, two Sunshines and two Bluecrop. Nothing like fresh blueberries from the garden!

  5. KitsapFG says:

    Looking good Sandy! I am a fan of the Gardener Supply tomato supports which are the same design as your bean tower. I have had many many years of good service from their tomato cages. In fact, I have stacked the tomato cages and used them to grow pole beans on with good success.

    Thanks for the nice update and garden overview pics. Very enjoyable.

  6. sinfonian2 says:

    You know how much I love your spread there with all your planting space, your greenhouse and your critter areas. It’s amazingly well designed and functional.

    And your three year old and my kids have had a ton in common there. /sigh. Now mine have a ton of carrots they planted and they’re tending.

    Thanks for the update, now I can go pout and be jealous. hehe.

  7. Wow. Those wine barrels are great. Where did you get them?

    RE: carrots. I hear you. It helps to send our two year old to one of the carrot patches when she wants to help weed but ends up pulling up the baby lettuces!

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