Here are my raised bed gardens in late May.
It was the year without a summer. Rain, lack of sunshine and below average (read "cold") temperatures in New England took its toll on our region's food production. We had so many cold, rainy days in June that it delayed the growth of our warm loving crops.
The average temperature for June 2009 in the Nashua, NH area was 63.3 degrees, on June 1st it was 39 degrees in some areas. The precipitation was on average 6.56", 2.56" above normal. A late frost killed most of the flowers on the strawberry crop, so regionally strawberries were hard to find. In our garden they were non-existent. Our basil, tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplants were very late to start. We ultimately lost the tomatoes and potatoes to the blight...we did get two eggplants and quite a few basil, but fall came early and it has already snowed.
I feel like our raised beds (3'w x 14' l x 18" h) helped keep the vegetables from flooding. Last year the back garden was under water from all of the rain, the deep hardpan and the possible granite ledge under the yard... The soil was warmer too from the sun heating up the entire bed. It was definitely easier to weed.
We built a compost bin out of pallets from the local dump. A local farmer sells composted cow manure. His cows are raised naturally. No antibiotics nor growth hormones. Grass fed in our community. We filled the raised beds with the manure and mulched with last years left over straw. The straw is not a local product (Canada and NY) but we had it, we use it (about 5 bales a year) and it works.
My raised bed gardens in late June.
My garden and chicken yard in early October. The chickens are molting and not laying as many eggs per day right now. You can see our spiral rock garden. We build a half moon bed farther to the right. The back garden has been stripped bare by the chickens. The purple kale look like prehistoric plants because we have been picking leaves from the bottom up. Yummy.
I have dreams of starting a campaign for food justice in our community. This is my beginning. I feel like my health will hold out, I will spend the winter preparing and when spring comes around again...