Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stories of Basil, Beans and Berries

This week, my gardening has brought about some relocation and identity changes.  My poor basil was not growing and the square it was in kept getting overgrown by grass.  Since I'm starting to see baby tomatoes last week, I decided that if garden bruschetta was going to be on my August menu, my basil needed and intervention.

I very carefully dug it up from it's overgrown home, separated each plant and moved them into squares vacated by spinach.  Now they have their own, weed free space to live and each plant has a little bit more room to grow.

[caption id="attachment_1650" align="alignnone" width="180" caption="Overcrowded Basil"]Overcrowded Basil[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1651" align="alignnone" width="180" caption="Spaced Out Basil"]Spaced Out Basil[/caption]

My poor green beans are another story.  I planted them while  tending GBaby (15 months old at the time).  I thought I was doing fine until the row of beans came up and there was a  2-foot gap in the seedlings poking through the ground.  I thought that maybe I had just planted them a bit deeper.  Now, my theory is that I was chasing a toddler and lost track of where I had  planted!  So, my green beans came up.  My citronella chunks were protecting them from the Garden Beast all seemed right in Green Bean Row.  I saw blossoms  - even better.  Then I started to see tiny baby green beans.  This is great, but are they supposed to start climbing the trellis before they make green beans?  I went back to the packet to find that it was non-specific as to which type of green beans it contained: pole beans or bush beans. We had  picked up the packet at the local farm stand and we were assured they were pole beans.  So I went to google.  Google says: bush beans.

If you're familiar with square foot gardening, you know that bush beans and pole beans require rather different planting patterns.  So far my bush beans that have been planted very densely, seem to be doing ok.  I'm not sure if I want to try to move some of the plants to thin it out or just leave them.  Any thoughts?

Also in the yard, blueberries are getting ripe, wild red and black-cap raspberries are sprouting out around our property and cucumbers are on the way!

I'm also experimenting with some natural weed killing solutions to deal with the grass in some of my beds. I'll let you all know how it works out in a couple weeks :)

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This post is linked at An Oregon Cottage's Tuesday Garden Party.


  1. I really enjoyed this post--thank you. As for the beans, I would say leave them alone and let them keep growing where they are at. And make a note to read the seed packet more closely next year! I have planted bush beans pretty close together, and they did fine. They may not produce quite as much as if they had been spaced properly, but 3/4 of a crop is way better than no crop at all.

    Also, your mystery plant, I believe based on the photo, is called a Clethra. It reseeds freely, and is really at a super height to use in mixed flower beds. It's pretty by roses, I think.

    As for natural week killers: Vinegar placed in a spray bottle will kill weeds, sometimes it will take repeat applications to kill tough weeds. It might not be the best choice for flower or veggi beds though, because it leaches nitrogen out of the soil, which would need to be replaced. I use it on gravel garden paths and it works pretty well. Black plastic will also kill weeds if it is placed on top of the weeds in hot weather.

    Athena at Minerva's Garden

  2. Thanks so much for all your comments & information! I am experimenting with the vinegar for weed control in garden squares that are currently vacant. I thought I'd see how it works before I write it up. Good to know someone has had luck with it!

  3. My theory is that veggies do just fine (even if planted closely spaced) as long as they don't have to compete for water or fertilizer. It's worked for my bush beans because I can't bring myself to thin them out, lol!

  4. My plants are closely spaced too. They are all in containers and can get crowded, but seem to do fine as long as we watch the water and fertilizer. Your garden looks wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

  5. I think they your bush beans will be fine. I usually plant 9 per square for bush and 8 per square for pole.

    Visiting with TGP!

  6. Your garden looks terrific:) I have spacing issues too... I just can't bear to pull things out when they have worked so hard to grow. I think I may need to get a bit more callous though:)

    visiting from TGP

  7. I think your mystery plant might be lysimachia (which also may be called clethra - not sure) but I understand it is quite hardy. I've heard that referred to as a thug because it takes over the space from other plants. Thanks for sharing your pictures!

  8. Thanks Anne! I can believe it's a thug! It's giving the day-lilies a run for their money on the side of our driveway which is not easy to do!

  9. Sara, it looks like you've gotten some good responses for your gardening questions- love this about the TGP! I, too, don't think you have to worry about the beans, and I think you'll be happy to moved your basil- I have much better luck with them when they are allowed to grow alone.

    As for grass in your beds- are your paths around the bed grass? If they are, you will always deal with it creeping into the bed, I've found. And I'm leery of anything that would wreak my soil balance- natural or not. I just pull the grass as I see it and put black plastic and mulch around the beds and I don't have very many weeds at all. Just a though to add to the others. :-)