I Can't Get Into My Bean Patch19/07/2012 14:01
Have you ever painted a floor?Ever paint yourself into a corner?Yeah,me too.Talk about feeling silly.You stand up,look around and realize what you have done.A slap to the forehead follows along with a mumbled,"I'm too dumb to live."Now you have to make a decision;stand there in your little prison and wait for the floor to dry or walk out backwards across the wet paint while painting over your footprints.No doubt cursing every step of the way.
I recently did the same thing with my vegetable garden.I didn't trap myself in it but rather I found myself in a situation where I couldn't get into it.Well,just my bean patch to be exact.
I decided to go with 'Tendercrop' bush beans this year.I will also be doing 'Kentucky Wonder' pole beans when I finish making the trellis for them.Beans are a warm weather crop so it's fair to say that I planted them a little early.Well,if they get cold damaged I'll plant more.I always was impatient when it comes to getting the garden in.Over 5 months of winter will do that to a gardener.
My little plot for the bush beans is more or less in the middle of the garden.Unlike pole beans,they are self supporting and don't get high enough to block the sun from reaching other vegetables.On either side of the beans I have beets planted.The rows of beets are only a few inches apart as I'm just growing these ones for their greens/tops so I don't have to worry about providing room for the beet root to expand.Behind my beans I have a thick patch of Swiss chard going('Fordhook Giant').Today,I decided to sow more radish seed in front of the bean plot.I already have another section sown with Cherry Bell radish but as they are fast to develop I use succession planting with them.Plant some,wait a couple of weeks and sow more seed.This helps avoid having more radish than I can handle and extends the harvesting time.Later I'll be using the same area for tomatoes and peppers.That's another form of succession planting.First grow cool weather crops and when they are finished,use the same space for hot weather lovers.This makes full use of the garden and is an especially useful method if you have limited space.
At any rate,I was crawling out of the garden backwards,sowing radish seed as I went.As they are indeed fast growing and use few nutrients,I was sowing the rows very close together.I reached the edge of the garden,sowed the last of the seed and stood up.I looked across the ground I had just filled with radish seed to where my beans were growing and a feeling of deja vu hit me.I had just blocked myself off from my bean plot!I had made paths to access my beets and Swiss chard and I had a path going across my newly sown radishes so I could tend to them as they grew but I had neglected to make a path to the beans.They were surrounded on all sides and completely isolated.They were in a vegetable garden no mans land.What the heck?It came to me that I was experiencing deja vu because this mistake in planning was reminding me of the time I had painted myself into a corner.Only this time it was the reverse situation.I slapped my forehead and mumbled,"I'm too dumb to live."
I was quite good at long jump in school but that was years ago and even the hop skip and jump was beyond my ability now.Besides,I couldn't be long jumping into my bean patch every time they needed tending.
Well,there was nothing else to do but sacrifice some of my radishes and put in a walkway.I left the garden and went around the corner to where I keep my,well,junk, not to put too fine of a point on it.Scrap lumber,old cinder blocks,spools of wire and odds and ends like 2 litre plastic pop bottles that come in handy for protecting tender tomato seedlings if a cold snap threatens.We gardeners never throw out anything because you never know what might be useful in the garden.Such as scrap lumber for making a walkway through your radishes due to lack of foresight.I grabbed a long plank about two feet wide and returned to the garden.When laid across my newly sown radishes,it came within about a foot of the bean patch.Good enough.
Lesson learned.I normally spend part of the winter planning out my vegetable garden with ease of access to all parts of the garden being considered but this Spring I decided to expand the size of the garden on the spur of the moment and began planting in what can only be described as a gardeners Spring fever without first altering my design.An inaccessible bean patch was the result.
A well planned vegetable garden can prevent many future problems.Leaving some space for walkways so you can reach all parts of the garden is important as is the layout of the vegetables themselves.With poor planning,that squash plant that looked so small to begin with may now be taking over the garden.The corn you always wanted to try growing may now be blocking the sun if planted on the wrong side of the garden.One may want to take into account companion planting when deciding where to place the various vegetables and herbs.
Well,we can talk more about that later but now I'm off to get my pole beans.I have their location staked out.Including a walkway:)