Stacking Functions Garden

Garden update


Everything is sprouted!  Well, pretty much.  The soaker hoses are down, and we are ready to go into long-term maintenance and serious weed-pulling mode.  Here are each of my “double rows” or “guilds” in the the garden as they stand today, from east to west:

beansGreen bush beans.  They’re so fun to grow because they are easier than easy.  To the right is garlic mixed with weeds.

peas052209Peas.  Major, major disappointment.  Only about 4 of them came up.  The complex string system was supposed to be something for them to climb up.  I think I am going to fortify the string system a bit and then plant some pole beans this weekend, since I have plenty extra and they grow so fast.

brusselsBrussels sprouts.  The one in the far back to the right might not make it.  We had a very windy week and it completely laid down and won’t get back up.  Right now we have it tied to a stake in hopes that it will heal.  I also added some other “beneficial” plants to this spot:

1. A row of lettuce down the middle.  It is just starting to sprout and you can sorta see it here.  My theory here is that by the time the lettuce gets big enough to eat and the weather gets hot enough that it will bolt, the brussels will be so big that they will offer it some shade and give me some lettuce-eating in July.  WE’LL SEE.
2. Little clumps of green onions and little clumps of dill between the brussels sprouts plants.  These will help hold down weeds and just “fill in” until the brussels get big enough to take up this whole space.  And they will take it all up come August.


Last weekend I was looking at the lettuce and I realized… I’m going to have picked and eaten all this lettuce by early-mid July at the latest, and then I’ll have this huge open space with nothing in it.  What a waste!  So I plopped 6 pepper plants down the middle.  4 sweet banana peppers and 2 anaheim peppers that I picked up at a nearby nursery.

radishesparsnipsRadishes/parsnips.  Planted the right side row in mid-April and am now ready to harvest the radishes!  I can see the parsnips coming up too in that row, so they’ve finally sprouted.  Row on the left was planted May 10 or so, so once I polish off all the radishes on the right, the row on the left should be ready to go.

tomatersTomatoes.  On the other side of the chain-link fence that separates the garden from the backyard.  Fingers are crossed on this right now because the spot is turning out to be a bit shadier than I had thought.  I also planted some parsley, basil, and a couple more radishes from seed just last weekend here.  (More “companion planting.”)

I skipped the onion area that is between the radishes/parsnips and the tomatoes because it is hopelessly weedy and embarassing.  I also skipped the very small cuke area because it’s just not very interesting.  It’s a wire cage with some very small cucumber plants in it.  Wow!

A lot of experimentation going on here; we’ll see where it all goes.  But check out these beauties (yeah, a couple of them are still a little small):


OH I ALMOST FORGOT!  My three sisters guilds!  I’ll do a separate post on them in a week or two since there’s not much to see right now.  We planted 3-4 (I can’t remember now, honestly, the exact number) of them at the back of the garden next to the window wells.  Stay tuned for an update on that next week.

Quick word on the soaker hoses:  LOVE THEM.  Especially since this is looking like it could be a dry year.  Our lawn is dying already.  Not that I care about the grass.

4 thoughts on “Garden update

  1. Very interesting setup Jennifer.

    I’m curious: where did you get the idea for the soaker hoses on top of everything?

    How much extra did you have to spend on those to get complete coverage?

    And, how often will you have them on? All the time, just at a slow flow?

  2. Hi Michael,
    Let’s see. The soaker hoses look like they’re on top of everything right now only because everything is so small. By the time the plants start getting bigger, they will practically disappear.

    We bought these two soaker hoses last year; they were not real expensive. I think we got them at Home Depot and I don’t remember the exact price. Probably $15-$20 each?

    Under normal conditions, I would turn the soakers on for a half hour each (one hour total), about twice a week at the most. If you get a good rain, you can skip the next watering most of the time.

    We are having an unusual May in MN right now; the weather is very warm and we haven’t had any rain in a few weeks so I’ve been turning them on every other night until all my seeds get sprouted. In the next week or so I’ll start cutting back.

    With any vegetable or flower, you want to water deeply, and not very often. That way they develop deep, extensive root systems.

    Does that answer your questions?

    • Yes, that does indeed answer my questions, thanks!

      I’m definitely interested in seeing how this turns out for you. It’s probably a little late for us to use this setup this year, but definitely something to look into for next year.

      Also, out of curiosity, what type of mulch is that on top of everything?

      • In my “aisles” — the spaces between the vegetables — I put down newspaper, and then put some straw and leaves mixed together on top. (Certified weed-free straw which you can buy relatively cheaply at garden centers.)

        The straw is kinda blowing all over so it’s all over everything. It’s been so dry and windy this spring. Check out my earlier garden post where I talked a little more about the mulch:

        I don’t think it’s too late at all to at least do a couple small easy things, like some tomatoes in pots or a small plot of beans. I love growing green beans because they are SUPER easy and they sprout fast. Anyway, have a great week.

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