I noticed in your first garden photos that you had added hay onto your garden beds and I assume that this is good for keeping grass down is that right ? It seems to be a very good idea as the plants seem realy healthy and are producing well.Do you have irrogation in them beds ? I am looking for ideas with my gardening it is new to me but any way that is a nice garden Tn:
Instead of hay, that is actually wheat straw. You could use hay but you would get a lot of weeds from that. Use wheat straw instead.
What I do is after planting my stuff, I wait until the soil warms up good (usually mid May here) and then I hoe everything real good and put down a bed of wheat straw. I put it down thick up near the plants and a little thinner where I am just covering dirt. If you put it too thin the wheat straw will start to sprout and you will have wheat coming up with your veggies.
If you put it down 3-4\" deep, not much at all will grow, and what few weeds that do make it thru that, will be leggy and easy to pluck out with your fingers.
I don't like hoe'n, especially after it heats up and man after it heats up those weeds grow like crazy.
So basically I hoe my stuff, only 2 possiby 3 times max, and then put down the straw and after that - NO MORE WORK !
Just picking and eating.
Oh yeah - before I put down that bed of wheat straw I run a soaker hose down along the base of my plants.
I can reach my garden with a 100' water hose and when it needs watering, I just roll it out, hook it up and turn on the water (low) and let it run for 15-20 minutes. Waters it all real good.
With the soaker hose down under that bed of straw, it does not spray water up on the leaves, only gets the water down to the roots. That is how you want to water. Getting the leaves wet, and splashing soil, wet soil up on the leaves is what causes a lot of fungal issues in the garden (like the early and late blights that make it hard on your tomatoes).
Also instead of having one big wide open space, I have 3 raised beds (about 5' wide by 35-40' long).
The raised beds are spaced about 12' apart.
So once I get them all planted, and the hoses and straw down, I just mow around them with my riding mower.
No more weeds to deal with the rest of the year (NICE) !.
That bed of straw helps your soil keep the moisture in too, so you don't have to water as much. Your plants have a more steady supply of moisture and grow beter - tomatoes don't split and crack like they can otherwise - like when you have dry conditions and then a good rain.
If your soil PH is lower than target (should be around 6.5 for most garden stuff) - then in the fall or winter, you can fluff that straw up a bit, let it dry out and burn it off. The ash will work like lime and raise your soil ph.
If your PH is about right, you can just rake all of that straw off in the winter and put it in your compost pile.
Over winter the wheat will sprout up and it will sort of give you a good cover crop for the winter months too.
Sounds great TN. Your veg medley is one of my favorite recipes too. You mentioned cast iron skillet. My wife threw out all the Teflon skillets and we only use cast iron skillets now. It took me a while to figure out how to cook with them and how to keep food from sticking. But I have it all under control now. We have been using cast iron now for over 5 years.
Look forward to seeing how your new greenhouse works out for you. I am sure it will provide years of good things to come.