Once again another month has passed and so much has happened to the garden, my backyard, and at the market. The irrigation system has been finished, I was able to squeeze in 23 beds into the backyard, and I have planted 19 of those beds with seed, which have already sprouted and are already getting close to being able to harvest. I am having so much continued success at the market that I can't wait until the week's market day.
I tilled the entire backyard one more time after the last blog post. After I finished, I raked it all flat and began to rough out the beds. At first, I started by using my rake and creating small paths in between the beds but it was taking me forever and I was trying to think of a quicker way of doing it. The most simple answer is usually the best and I decide to just walk in a straight line and drag my right foot along. Because the dirt was already loose, this made the process so much faster. I wasn't bending over and trying to get straight lines using the rake. I just walked toward a point at the edge of the garden and bam beds!
I also had pictures of the beginnings of my irrigation system in the last post. The manifold holds water and does the job perfectly. To work the valves in the manifold, I hooked up the wires for the valves to a regular 4 station indoor/outdoor sprinkler control box, which is plugged into an outdoor rated extension cord. I initially setup 7 impact head sprinklers but reduced that to 6, when I realized that I didn't need the first one. The sprinklers are divided into 3 stations, 2 on the far left side of the yard, which run at 45 degrees, 2 on the right side, which also run at 45 degrees, and 2 in the middle, which run at 180 degrees. They are attached at the top of 2x4s by circle clamps with 1/2 inch irrigation tubing running down to the ground. Then each section is connected back to the manifold using the same 1/2 inch irrigation tubing. After it was all setup, alittle bit of tinkering to get the sprinklers to barely overlap and not spray too far and it was done.
After the beds were roughed out and the irrigation system was done, it was time to concentrate on the beds themselves. I once again used my 10 inch cultivator to really grind up the soil in each of the new beds and reformed them. I repeated this process 2 or 3 times. On August 11th, I had 10 beds that I felt were ready for planting. I planted 2 beds of gourmet salad mix, which has 5 varieties of loose leaf lettuce, 2 beds of mesclun mix, 2 beds of easter egg radishes, 2 beds of mustard greens, 1 bed of dill, and 1 bed of cilantro. On everything except the mesclun mix, I had germination with in 4-5 days. This took me by surprise because normal germination time is 7-10 days. The beds I planted with mesclun mix didn't germinate because of an irrigation issue. One of the middle sprinklers was not rotating so they were not getting enough water. I waited about 2 weeks to plant the rest of the beds and during this time I used the cultivator on the beds that hadn't been planted a few more times. On the 25th, I planted the rest of the beds and replanted the mesclun beds. I already have germination on them too. This time it only took 3-4 days. Its so exciting watching all the growth happening. In total, I now have 5 beds of gourmet lettuce, 5 beds of mesclun mix, 4 beds of easter egg radishes, and 4 beds of mustard for greens. I'm going to be crazy busy in the next few weeks harvesting and getting product ready for the market.
The Amarillo Community Market has been amazing so far. I could not have signed up for a better place to sell my produce. There are tons of people that come out every weekend to buy from vendors at the market and the vendors are all friendly and excited about what everyone else is doing. I've already had multiple customers come to my booth raving about the salad mix, squash, cucumbers, and carrots that they have purchased from me in the past weeks. They can't get enough and I'm usually close to selling out after about an hour and a half.
Now that the expansion is finally finished and I have plants growing in the new beds, I can finally have the volume to fulfill the demand I see every weekend. Come by my booth on Saturdays at the Amarillo Community Market on 10th and Polk and keep dropping by here to see more updates and blog posts.