Sunday, March 4, 2012

Garden Expansion Project - Part 1

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The expansion of my upper gardening area has been a gradual work in process for the past nine months.  This area will give me 16 x 25 feet of gardening area for a total of 400 sq feet.  I will mostly plant field peas and corn up here.

In May of last year I cut down a 25 to 30 ft October Glory red maple tree that was shading the area, details here.  Then in January of this year, I removed the stump and most of the roots that were left, details here and here.

So here we are in March, and just a few weeks before I can start planting some of my favorites.  So today after church I had to get it in gear to finish my expansion.  All that is left to do is to till the entire area and put a border around it using bricks.  I got the border done in a few hours and tried to get everything as clean as I could.  I am going to rent a tiller next week and till the entire area. 

This is the existing area and you can see the four foot strip that I was using outlined by bricks.  Weeds were bad in a few spots.

First thing I did was measure down 16 feet from the fence line at both ends and drove a metal garden stake in the ground.  I tied a string to each stake to give me a straight line to lay my bricks.  I raked the area to get it as smooth as I could.  I am not going for perfection here, and I just dry laid the bricks to segregate the area that I will be gardening in.

This was how it looked after the first row of bricks were laid.  Looks straight enough for me.

This was after the second row of bricks.  Now all that is left is to till everything up. 


Jenny said...

Very nice! are field peas the same as snap peas or something else? I'd love to grow corn but don't have enough area for it and my hubby won't take down old trees.

Kris said...

No they are something completely different. They are also known as cowpeas. They thrive in the southern summers and they love the heat. There are so many different varieties, but some common ones are black eye peas, purple hull peas, white acre peas (my favorite), zipper cream, etc.

You can grow corn in 4x4 and 4x8 beds, which doesn't take up too much space. I get about 40-50 ears per planting in a 4x8 bed.

Annie's Granny said...

Wow, you have a straight line garden spot! I'll be stuck with triangles, circles, rectangles and squares, working around my existing raised beds! It should prove interesting, to say the least ;-) You get 40-50 ears in a bed that size? Cool, I hope my little corn patch does that well.

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

It's nice seeing all the garden bloggers increasing their cultivated land!

Kris said...

Granny - Mine may be a plain rectangle, but yours looks a whole lot prettier. If you decide to plant your corn in a 4x4 or 4x8 plot, I cheat a little and plant the seeds 9 inches apart in all directions. Those extra 3 inches allow you to pack in more plants. As long as your plots are less then 4 feet wide, you can easily reach the corn in the middle. In a 4x8 bed, that will give you roughly 50 plants. While some won't produce any corn, some will produce two ears, and the avg for me has been 40 to 50 ears.

If you don't have super rich soil, you can sprinkle with 34-0-0 ammonium nitrate fertilizer 3 times. Once when they are a foot tall, once when they are 3 feet tall, and then right when they tassle.

Stay@Home - It seems every year we try to squeeze in extra space for a few more plants. That is part of the fun I guess.

Annie's Granny said...

I always planted 2 corn seeds per square foot, even before square foot gardening was popular. I never counted how many ears I got though. Now I'll have to, for blog reporting! And yes, corn is a heavy feeder, and nitrogen is one thing our local gardens need.

Kris said...

Duh, I forgot who I was talking to Granny. :)

I can't wait to see your corn.

Annie's Granny said...

LOL! Remember, I had a near total failure with a small corn patch in my 2010 garden. It happens.