Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Growing Veggies in the Children’s Garden

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Early in the summer, we took a virtual tour of the Children’s Garden and I mentioned our vegetable garden (to read that post, click here: https://cedarvalleyarboretum.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/visiting-the-childrens-garden/ ).  Our garden looked like this in June:

  

For most of the summer, these two raised beds were overflowing with produce.  What a huge success!  Here is our vegetable garden last week:

The raised beds are located in the southeast corner of the Children’s Garden – an awkwardly shaped space that I have never used well.  Creating these two small beds was perfect for the space and (my favorite part) very low cost.  Wood for the raised beds was leftover from our old Rose Garden pergola and I filled the beds with free compost from the Waterloo dump.

** I have mentioned before using free mulch from the Waterloo dump (located just south of the Arboretum) but this was the first time I have taken advantage of their compost — I was concerned about having insect/disease problems with this compost so had never used it before.  But since we were starting from scratch and even these little beds were going to need a lot of fill, I decided to try out the free compost.   The compost worked great and I had no problems!

Earlier in the summer, I harvested lettuce, broccoli and celery from the garden.  I still have several tomatoes and green peppers as well as cabbage (left) and carrots (middle).  I also snapped a photo of our broccoli (right) going to seed because I thought the delicate yellow flowers were so sweet.  Hmmm…. maybe fun to grow in a flower garden next year?

     

I also grew a small patch of pumpkins in the southwest corner of the Children’s Garden.  Pumpkins need a lot of space, so I didn’t dare to plant them along with the others in the raised beds.

  

Since we are getting close to the end of the season, I will probably clean out our vegetable gardens very soon.  It is important to remove all plant debris from your vegetable garden each fall to prevent disease/insect infestation next year (that sort of stuff likes to overwinter in plant debris).  I will likely spread a new layer of compost on top of the beds that will be worked into the soil next spring as I plant.

Interested in planting you own vegetable garden next year?  Now is the perfect time to prepare your beds!  The one thing I have learned over the years is that the more that can be done in the fall, the better — often we have such wet springs that new bed construction can be a muddy project!  When choosing a site for your vegetable garden, choose an open space that receives full sun for most of the day and is close to a water source.  Your vegetable garden does not have to be raised, but it certainly is easier on your back and stops grass from creeping in.  Consider using salvaged wood and compost from the city (Cedar Falls also offers free compost) for a low-cost option.

See you in the gardens.

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Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

September 26, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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