Last week, I wrote about the new garden bed I built on the north side of the house. Although I’ve been growing veggies in raised beds in other parts of the yard for the past couple of years, I decided that I needed to do something different this season. The main reason for building a new bed is that the veggies simply weren’t getting enough sunlight. Vegetables require at least 8 hours of sunlight a day to be really productive and the other beds only allowed for a max of six hours of direct sunlight before being shaded from the house or the fence. In years past, I’ve had struggles with low productivity as well as powdery mildew on my cukes and squashes. I think the low productivity was, in part, due to the shortage of direct sunlight and, also in part, due to the extreme heat (tomatoes stop setting at consistent temps over 85 degrees, for example). I am also fairly certain that the powdery mildew proliferated due to the amount of shade the plants received. Being exposed to full sun all day should help this situation. If not, I’ll be trying some different techniques to get it under control. More on that later should the need arise.
This new bed is about four feet wide by eight feet long. It is now in a location where 100% of the bed receives direct sunlight all day long. If it performs well, I just might expand it for the fall, perhaps putting another 4×8′ bed next to it. This summer, I’ll be growing tomatoes, jalapenos, bell pepper, habaneros, cucumber, yellow squash, zucchini, watermelon and cantaloupe. I skipped the bush beans this season, but might end up putting them in the additional bed if I decide to build it for fall.