Lobak Lodeh with homegrown multi-colored carrots and their tops simmered in coconut milk. Tempeh provides…
New Addition to Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden – putting in another raised bed in my garden to increase planting space for more vegetables.
If you are considering setting up a vegetable garden, a Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden is definitely the way to go. This is my second year planting in raised beds and I am loving it so much that I made a New Addition to my Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden. This time it is located in the southwest corner of my backyard which gets many hours of sunlight. Perhaps that is the reason why the plants are doing phenomenal in this new raised bed.
This year has been anything but normal. Planting vegetables is a great and rewarding hobby during this trying time. I wanted to plant more vegetables so that it can cut down on my trips to the grocery store and we can be a little more self sufficient. That said, I needed someone to put in a new raised bed for me and that was not easy because of the lockdowns. As soon as businesses were allowed to operate in our state, I arranged with someone to put in this new addition for me.
Preparing The Existing Raised Beds For The Growing Season
In the meantime, we prepared and started planting in our existing two raised beds and Self-Watering Raised-Bed Grow Boxes. It was a good diversion for us in the early months of the lockdown.
Clearing Sod for the New Addition to Raised Bed Vegetable Garden
Work on the new raised bed project started the second week of May. First, the sod had to be removed. Thankfully, there wasn’t too much of it because it was just a narrow strip of land.
Constructing The New Raised Bed
Then, the box was constructed and filled with good organic dirt.
Putting in The Irrigation
After they completed their work, our work began. We took off the metal edging, lined the remaining exposed areas, and filled it with rocks up to the base of the raised bed. Then we put in the irrigation for the raised bed. This time, we decided to use soaker tubes instead of micro sprinklers and drips.
Now, the fun part begins. I sowed zucchini, eggplant, and okra seeds. I also planted peppers and another variety of eggplant. It was slow at first but as the weather started to get warmer, the plants started to grow bigger and bigger. Since the night times can still be pretty cool, we set up portable green houses to protect the tender plants. The covering also protected the plants from the high winds coming from the mountains.
By late June and early July, the plants were growing really well. They were outgrowing the portable green houses and had to be removed soon.
Removing Portable Greenhouse Covering
When we removed the coverings, we also moved the two Self-Watering Raised-Bed Grow Boxes with okra over to this side because they need a lot of sunlight and there is more sunlight on this side of the yard.
Putting in Step Stones Around The New Addition to Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden
As you can imagine, there is a lot of foot traffic around this raised bed and so we decided to place stepping stones (which are actually square pavers) on two sides of it. That worked out really well and made walking around the box much more pleasant.
Now, it is time to sit back and watch the plants grow
First Harvest and Stir Fry From The New Raised Bed
It is amazing how fast zucchini plants grew and they were sown from seeds. At first, they were slow to germinate but they quickly caught up after sprouting. In just a matter of weeks I was able to harvest my first batch of Cocozelle zucchinis.
I decided to try a Belacan Stir Fry with that foot long zucchini. It turned out to be quite delicious. I will share the recipe at a later time. Below are other zucchini recipes on the blog.
1. Zucchini and Egg Fried Rice
2. Dates and Zucchini Bread
3. Zucchini Loaf
Bountiful Harvest From This New Addition to Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden
This is not the first time I am growing sweet peppers (capsicums) but this time is definitely the most successful. I planted two of each color – green, yellow, orange, and red. They are huge and such a joy to harvest.
I also planted one yellow banana pepper plant and one Holy Mole Pepper plant. The Holy Mole peppers are supposed to turn a chocolate brown color when they mature. They are huge, about 9 inches long! These were harvested before the snowstorm and did not have the chance to mature.
These peppers can be dried and crushed into powder form and are obviously perfect for making mole sauce. The powder can also be used in rubs or to flavor soups and stews.
The two varieties of eggplants in this raised bed continue to do well. This variety was grown from seed. They are long and slender, perfect in stir fries and curries.
This Spicy Eggplant Bean Sauce Stir Fry is another one of our favorite side dishes for the season. This recipe is not yet on the blog. I still have lots of eggplants in the raised bed and will share the recipe the next time I cook it.
In the meantime, please check out my other eggplant recipes.
1. Dhal and Eggplant Curry
2. Pickled Stuffed Eggplants
3. Tofu and Eggplant Curry
4. Roasted Eggplants with Garlic Soy Dressing
5. Egg and Eggplant Curry
6. Pan Fried Eggplant with Garlic Chili Vinaigrette
7. Shrimp and Eggplant Curry
8. Steamed Eggplants
Okra “Trees” in This New Addition to Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden
These okra plants were sown from seeds. They grew taller and taller with each passing day as the weather got warmer. I was amazed that they became so big and tall and were very prolific. Everyone that walked past our backyard were curious about these “trees”. They were my pride and joy for the season.
Fortunately, our family love okra and I cooked them every 3 to 4 days when I have gathered sufficient for a meal. I have been steaming and putting them in curries. You can check out my okra recipes as follows.
1. Fish Curry with Okra and Eggplant
2. Spicy Okra Salad
3. Bendi Goreng Belacan
4. Sambal Steamed Okra
Harvesting The Okra “Trees”
I called these okra plants “trees” and they reminded me of the fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk. I had to get on a step ladder to harvest the okra at the very top. Even so, I had to stretch to be able to reach them. Later, I had to use a taller step ladder. They are of the Quimbombo Emerald variety. A cute name, isn’t it?
Preparing For An Early Snowstorm
Mountain weather is unpredictable weather. A early snowstorm was forecasted for September 7th, lasting 3 to 4 days. By this time the okra “trees” have grown even taller and they continue to be very prolific. Since okra plants are tropical plants, there was no way they would survive the snowstorm unless they were covered.
Since we have other vegetables growing in there as well, Ro-Ri San and I made the decision to sacrifice the okra “trees” to save the peppers and eggplants. It was a sad day to have to cut down those healthy “trees” or risk losing everything in that raised bed.
By cutting them down to the level of the portable greenhouse frame, we were able to place the cover back onto the frame to shield the plants from the snow. Thankfully whatever was left of those plants continue to grow to this day but with far, far fewer okra. At the height of summer, I was harvesting 20 to 30 okras each day! Now, I barely get a handful a day. I intend to grow them again next year. Hopefully, they will do equally well.
Similar Tools Used in This New Addition to Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden
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9’L x 3’W x 3’H Portable Garden Greenhouse
Frame It All Greenhouse, 4-Feet by 36-Inch
City Picker Raised Bed Grow Box – Self Watering and Improved Aeration
Rain Bird T22-250S Drip Irrigation 1/4″ Blank Distribution Tubing, 250′ Roll, Black
Raindrip 1/4-Inch by 50-Feet Porous Soaker Tubing, x Foot, Black