Update on the Lettuce Fork Fortress

A couple of weeks ago, I showed you the lettuce starts I planted in an raised bed. The rats had been getting into the bed, digging holes, and disturbing the plants and their roots. I stuck plastic forks and knives in the ground around the lettuce starts to discourage the rats from digging.

Here’s what the bed looked like when I put up the fork fortress:

Planting Lettuce

On Christmas Eve, at work, one of my attendings brought me some lettuce starts to plant in my garden. These starts are from a seed mix of various lettuce greens, so I’m not entirely sure what I’ve got. She says she harvests the outer leaves when the plants get about six inches tall.

They were itty bitty, so I was a little nervous if they would survive transplanting, but I followed her plantng instructions and planted them that evening.

I dug a deep hole for each one, so the root could sit straight down in the dirt.

I put them in the above-garden boxes. Here is one plot of them. There’s some arugula from last year to their left.

They looked good for the first few days, but then I noticed that an animal was starting to dig in these boxes. They didn’t seem to interested in the lettuce, themselves, but the digging in the beds disturbed the plants’ roots. My housemate thinks it’s a rat. The birds and squirrels don’t seem to go in the bed during the day, and rats are nocturnal, so it seems like the obvious answer.

I set up a fork and knife fortress around the lettuce sprouts to hopefully deter the rats from digging there. Do you think this will work? I just need the lettuce to hang in there long enough for the roots to really establish.

The Community Garden At the End of May

As I was pulling horsetail out of the blueberry patches this weekend (again), I noticed that the blueberry bushes had formed recognizable (not yet ripe) blueberries. So soon?! It’s only spring!

Believe it or not it’s almost June. Here’s a taste (visually) of how the garden is doing:

Snow peas and Sugar snap peas are thick and *nearly* ready to harvest
Butter lettuce – we’ve been harvesting it this week
Romaine lettuce – we’ll be harvesting this next week
Tomatoes have been planted
There are other tomato plants scattered throughout the garden, wherever we could fit them (see the romaine lettuce bed above)
Potato Progress
This bed of potatoes is lagging behind
They’re a different variety, however, so maybe that’s to be expected
Raspberries!
Strawberries!

Not pictured: asparagus and rhubarb are still going strong; the garlic is tall and looking good; chard, collards, and kale are producing nicely; and the onions are still growing slowly but surely .

We have plans to plant cucumbers and squash within the next week or so. We also have sweet potatoes slips that we’re attempting to plant for the first time. We’re supposed to wait for the soil temp to reach 60 degrees before planting them – not sure we’ll ever reach that.

A Quick Community Garden Update: Spring Crops

The first crops that we planted at the community garden are growing fast now. Here are some photos I took when I was there last Sunday:

Potatoes
Peas
Onions
Lettuce

Lastly, I wanted to share a photo of the raspberry patch. Other members of the garden spent a lot of time recently weeding, laying down cardboard and bark chips, and replacing some of the polls and wires. It’s looking so good!

The Community Garden is Looking Good!

As we continue to be under strict social distancing orders in the state of WA, Nate and I worked at the community garden on Saturday morning alone again. We continued weeding the blueberry patch – the half that is still thick with weeds. We didn’t make a ton of progress, so I don’t have cool before and after photos to show you.

Instead, I’ll show you some of the other things growing in the garden. The garden members have all been working in the garden at different times throughout the week to keep things going. I think we accomplished more this week than we normally would with our usual two-hour Sunday work party, perhaps because people are spending extra time in the garden these days to keep busy and take their minds off of the current global situation. Also, since we’re not able to socialize, we’re more focused on the task at hand.

The asparagus beds, weeded, mulched, and staked out.

The asparagus beds (photo above) are looking really good! At the beginning of the season, these beds were so overrun with weeds that we couldn’t tell what was bed and what was path. Some of the other members of the community garden spent a lot of time weeding them and then mulching them up with more soil and compost to get them to this state.

The asparagus are coming up!

And so are the horsetail (sigh). There was bit of a snafu with the horsetail in the asparagus bed this week…someone mistook horsetail for asparagus and asparagus for horsetail. They pulled out the asparagus and left the horsetail! Oops.

Note: this is horsetail (kinda looks like asparagus, I suppose)

Fortunately, the mistake was caught that same day, and the asparagus was replanted with extra mulch, so (fingers crossed) it wasn’t too badly damaged.

In the raised beds, the peas are looking good and the onions are slowly growing.

Peas
Onions

We’ve also planted lettuce, beets, and carrots (carrots not pictured).

Lettuce
Beets

The rhubarb is growing rapidly! Soon enough we’ll have rhubarb to harvest, and I can’t wait!