Monday, July 13, 2009


The Stand Uppity Garden

A couple of months ago, one of my favorite neighbors built a Stand Up garden for me. It was an interesting experiment… I have never seen one this far off the ground – so, we just put it together and figured we would learn from trying. Pat and his wife brought all the parts here and assembled it on site. It was on a bit of a slope, so I put bricks under the low side. Then he mixed some peat moss, vermiculite and chicken manure (this is serious chicken country – might as well bag it and sell it, right?) and I set in some plants already started in little pots. I planted string beans (Blue Lake), spinach, and some purple Basil. Bambi soon discovered these delicious morsels were right at chin level, so I needed to put a bit of netting up around the garden. Next year I will do it differently, but like I said, it has been a learning experiment. The netting was a problem for me, so I switched to nylon fencing. Much easier to work with! Ugly as sin, but easier! I was so amazed when I actually saw first the blossoms, then real little beans. It is kind of fun watching plants grow from bunny level! If you don’t know my gardening history, my other wonderful neighbor has plowed and cultivated my ground level garden for 2 years, and I have planted and replanted string beans in said garden for 2 years, and have never had more than a couple of meals worth of beans, and the few yellow wax beans were never particularly pretty. So imagine my delight when I picked my first crop of beans from the stand-uppity garden (as a little friend calls it) and have continued to harvest beans for over a month. I have had as many Blue Lakes from my 4 plants in the Stand up garden as I had from the dozen plants in the ground. And there are still new ones coming.
I put about 8 yellow wax bean plants in the stand-up and have harvested and harvested and there are still more out there to be picked in a day or two. The beans are absolutely perfect, not a blemish on a single bean! Here is one little basket full. Punkin is supervising from the shade of the Adirondack.
I also have 4 Italian flat bean plants – my favorite green bean – that have given us 2 baskets full so far.
One mistake I made… I did not support all 4 legs of the garden. The side NOT on the bricks has been slowly working its way down in the ground. Well, for several weeks, we had a lot of heavy rain, the ground got soft. But, hey! I did not have to water anything!
Next year I will plant the same number of plants but will space them differently. I think I will skip the spinach and will stick with the smaller green basil. I like the purple basil. It is pretty, and it keeps the mosquitoes away while you are picking because you then smell like basil, not a person! What mosquito wants to bite basil?
It has been great to harvest beans standing up. The bending over part in the old garden is very painful. Even tho I planted with a ground cloth in the ground level garden, the crab grass managed to get in there. Planting hurt, harvesting hurts, and weeding is almost impossible. And, in the Stand up garden, being this far up, I have not had that many weeds to worry about, or my worst problem, grass. Crab grass!
Thanks Pat and Dorothy!


ancient one said...

Our neighbor planted all his garden in hip=high raised gardens last year... they could just sit on the sides and pick... they had a large dome in the back that he had cukes and long string beans climbing... they just went inside and picked those... he has built the frame for a very large green house that he intends to have up and going this winter...his father ran a nursery in Bailey NC for years.. so our neighbor knows what he's doing. If he can think it, he can make it happen...

Cliff said...

Great ideas. I best not let my wife see these or I'll be having to duplicate them next spring.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

You uppity garden (I hope that doesn't make you an uppity gardener) has elements of square foot gardening and French Intensive gardening. You might review the principles for next years: deep loose soil, close plant spacing, companion planting, in planting fast growning plants between slow growing palnts etc.

Marsh Rat said...

BEANS,,,, NO,NO, not more beans,,,,, just got done packing 9 pounds of them.... On a more sereal note (bflat i think) I'm glad the experiment worked... now we can go into full production and you can get on the road hawking them.... i see millions here.. too bad Billy Mays is not still with us.
Pat (Frog & PenguINN Farm)