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Last summer, just weeks after we moved out to the farm, we built garden beds for inside of hoop houses to make it a little more secure in keeping wild animals out, plus we have some more gardening rows in the middle of our fruit tree orchard. We built them last September while we were living in the shed/shack, waiting to move into our new home.
A contractor built us 100 raised beds out of lumber that we purchased from Home Depot. David actually designed what he wanted and then gave the plan to the contractor. He and his crew laid them side by side, ten to a row and two rows to a hoop house as shown above. Then our next door neighbor, who has a tractor, came over and filled each of the 100 raised beds in the six hoop houses. We paid him for the work.
Then we put plastic over the first two hoop houses to make greenhouses. We put shade cloth on the rest. Right now, June of 2020, the greenhouses are now empty as it is just too hot in South Texas to have any plant in a greenhouse. We have fruit and vegetable plants in the other 60 hoop house raised beds.
We have been putting compost into the soil in the hoop houses along with weed barrier to make it a little easier to garden. The only trouble with weed barrier is you have to get down on your hands and knees and cut holes or lines in the cloth to plant.
Last fall, after the raised beds were built and filled with sand, we planted a fall garden of onions, carrots, turnips, Swiss chard, beets, and greens. We found that our seeds really like the beach sand. Some of our friends asked us how we could grow anything until we "fixed" the sandy soil. For many years, our piece of property was part of a large farm and it grew peanuts very well. The sand is continuing to grow good things to eat.
In January of 2020, we started planting seeds in pots in our two greenhouses so they would be ready to go into the raised beds in March and April.
We had some very cold nights in March, some down in the 20s Fahrenheit so we put some of the greenhouse plants as well as seeds in the ground in April. We had 100° Fahrenheit temperatures in May and now in June it has been in the 90s everyday. We have tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, beets, radishes, beans, greens, carrots, asparagus, and a lot more.
Out in our orchard rows or field, where there are no planting beds, we have corn, beans, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, and for the first time ever, potatoes! David's Garden Seeds® does not sell seed potatoes, but I wanted to grow potatoes this year. Incidentally, the potatoes did not go in raised beds. No room was left for them.
So far, nothing has come up so I am not sure we did them right. Honestly, coronavirus messed things up as far as any type of of delivery goes. They were supposed to be here two months before we received them, but everything got pushed back. A local gardener came to see what we've done a few weeks back and he told us we should have planted the potatoes two months before we did. You can't plant them if the seed company does not send them, right?
It has been almost a year since I originally wrote this page. Everything in our raised garden beds is growing great. Our asparagus came in a few months ago that I planted last April and we have daily fresh purple asparagus. We also have fresh strawberries every few days. We actually have six raised beds in two hoop houses filled with a variety of strawberry plants that we grew from seed.
In February, we pulled out almost every tree from our orchard. I think there were six trees that were not dead from our original 60 tree orchard planted in October of 2019. We never got a single piece of fruit from it.
So we went shopping in February for 100 new trees, grape vines, and blackberries. Then the horrible once in 30 years winter storm hit. We had heaters going in our greenhouse but it didn't matter. It got down way below freezing for about a week. It snowed twice during the week and it got down to 8° Fahrenheit. Our trees were in our greenhouse but because of rolling electricity blackouts, we still lost some trees. Once it warmed back up the next week, we planted them all, even the dead ones...Now we are getting blueberries and mulberries. We have baby citrus, baby peaches, baby grapes, and baby apples so things seem to be going well.
In between our six rows of trees, we have rows for vegetables and there are a lot of vegetable plants coming up, even though there are no raised beds out in the orchard field.
We added 15 new raised beds for planting this past fall and winter. Two raised beds are out in front of the farm store and right now, they are showcasing beautiful snapdragons.
There is another in front of our home, filled with new rosebushes. Then there is one in our backyard for flowers that are coming up, right on the other side of the raised bed that was put there a year ago.
The rest of the raised beds are near the property line by the store going back to the driveway to our home. That way, visitors can see what we are growing. Unfortunately, not much seems to be coming up because we have had water problems. Our guys are having to use soaker hoses and they don't get moved onto all of the beds so a lot of what I planted is not coming up. They are supposed to be putting in a watering system. There are piles of white pipes but I am not sure why it is not finished yet.
Above, I mentioned getting seed potatoes late. They did not come up because by the time we got them, it was just too late so that was a waste of money. We did not even try growing potatoes this year.
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