(Last updated 2015-05-08)
Welcome to the 2015 year at Jim & Charlotte’s Raised Bed Garden located on Lookout Mountain in NE Alabama. Use the comment box at the end of this article to let us know what you think. Enjoy!
Top – 7-8 inches of snow on February 26 covers the garden
Middle Left – Yellow Onions Mar 7
Middle Right – Georgia Collards planted Mar 7
Lower Left – Red Norland Potatoes planted Mar 7
Bottom Right – Red Clover planted late October 2014
It was a cold winter at our garden site on Lookout Mountain in NE Alabama. The arrival of spring seems to be about 2-3 weeks behind the previous 4-5 years. We did not plant anything in the late fall that would have to “winter over” except Red Clover which was planted in some of the beds to naturally enrich the soil. But we got the clover planted a little late in the fall of 2014 and did not get good coverage. We will let the boxes that did get a good stand of clover mature late into the spring before we turn the clover under for planting.
Strawberry Runners transplanted in Fall of 2014
Muscadine and Scuppernong vines pruned for 2015 season. There are younger vines growing in the small orchard.
The muscadine and scuppernong grape vines have been pruned for the season. They were very productive last year and made great preserves.
We renewed the strawberry bed last fall by transplanting some of the “runners” to another bed. The previous strawberry bed had grown too crowded and the plants were not that productive.
General planting for summer vegetables such as beans, squash, tomatoes and cucumbers will be delayed until after May 1 this year due to the cold winter season.
Scattered daffodils are a sure sign that spring is not far away – photos taken Mar 12 … This is the same bed where the Peonies and Iris (yellow & purple) will bloom.
Cut daffodils add beauty to the kitchen.
Meanwhile, the flower garden is just beginning to show life. This bed will ultimately be filled with blooms of peonies, hydrangea, iris and gladiolas.
The garden is fully planted and now the real fun begins … tending, weeding, debugging, managing vines and, of course, harvesting, processing, canning, freezing … and most important of all … EATING!! Here are some pics of the appearance of the early garden.
The brief video below was taken in early May 2015. It shows the very early status before all planting was completed. Click on the preview to view.
This little orchard contains figs (harsh winter … will come back from roots, but unlikely we will have fruit), muscadines, two varieties of plums and two varieties of apples. In the background are three Chinese Chestnut trees which will have a quite distinctive odor when they bloom late in the spring. The deer love the chestnuts as they are outside of our electric fence.
Last fall we planted red clover in several of the beds. Here is a picture of the mature clover prior to blooming. The clover was turned under to make a natural green manure to enrich the soil in the beds.
Charlotte is inspecting the early growth of her white knockout roses that survived the fungal attack last year requiring the removal of a number of plants.
When the thornless Apache blackberries bloom they are beautiful … and so are the berries when they are ready to harvest in mid to late July.
This is six leaves of a variety of Corcarde Lettuce. It is a perennial in our garden coming back each spring. It is really a hardy variety living into the hot summer. The leaves are best when picked small. These are about 6-8 inches in length.
The onions will be harvested in June and the bed will then give way to another veggie. The Corcarde Lettuce is on the back left.
This is an early pic of the muscadine and scuppernong vines within the raised bed garden. The plants are about 5 years old and produce heavily in the early fall. We enjoy eating them fresh and make preserves to enjoy over the winter.
We started a new strawberry bed last fall using plants from the older bed which we turned and let sit over the winter. These are the offspring of 6 plants we started with iin 2009.
A closeup of the Corcarde Lettuce (perennial) growing in one of our raised beds.
We started a new bed for Rasberries this year. It will take 2-3 years for them to grow enough to produce fruit.
Rattlesnake pole beans are our favorite. The “bean towers” are ready for the vines to begin climbing as soon as the plants emerge from the soil and begin to grow upward. This is one of the sunniest places in the garden and the way that they are placed they will not shade out anything else … including each other.
The Red Norland Potatoes are thriving this year. Last year we had a bumper crop. We saved over some “seed” potatoes from last year. They were planted on March 7 this year and will be harvested in the late June to mid July timeframe.
Harvested June 9- delicious Red Norland Potatoes … 32 pounds from one 30 sq ft bed … 34 pounds from a 32 sq ft bed – planted 3/7/2015 … they filled a 5 gallon bucket. Love this little garden!
Put up your tent for shade, scoot around the raised bed on your garden scooter and store your potatoes in a five gallon bucket conveniently located at the rear of the scooter … Now that’s the way to garden in the blazing sun!
Onions are almost ready to harvest…
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5/8 @ 12:34pm
Looks great. We. Visited the mountain last Saturday. We love it. Hope you both are well. My garden is great this year. Looking to have squash next week! See you soon! Love to both! Jerry & Bev
Thanks for sharing. The garden and work to keep it up is very impressive.
God Bless you and Charlotte and keep up with the good work.
5/8 @ 8:12pm
Hi Jim I am so in awe about your raised beds! I’m growing the same old thing”but loving it” hope you have a kindred spirit. Always in my prayers.
5/8 @ 8:29pm
Enjoyed the pictorial excursion thru the garden.
5/8 @ 3:20pm
I really enjoyed seeing the garden pictures! Thanks for sharing!
Remind me, if you would like some yellow-meated watermelon seeds. (If it’s not too late.)
Geno has been peeking in on your garden. Rattlesnake beans are our favorite also. I especially liked your plan for the bean runners. Send me a closeup of the top and bottom. I was hoping to see at least one quail roost.
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Gene, I have been using these bean towers / trees for 3-4 years. I bought them from either Parks Seeds or Johnny’s Seeds. They are about $20 each but worth it in the long run. I will send you pics. Jimmy
Geno, the coyotes, foxes and bobcats and ferrel cats have taken care of all of the quail on our property. I used to hear them calling at sundown almost every night … That hasn’t happened in several years. Not enough farming on the mountain any more. Too little open land. Jim