Raised Bed Plan – Pak Choi, Melon, Eggplant and Pak Choi
This in an attempt to grow Melon and Eggplant in Raised Beds (without a Greenhouse) in my climate. The season where Melon and Eggplant can thrive outdoors is quite short but I hope it will be enough. The good news is that it for sure will give me plenty of time to grow Pak Choi before and after the Melon and Eggplants needs the space. The three batches of vegetables I plan for this Raised Bed is:

First Batch: 

  • Pak Choi

Second Batch:

  • Melon
  • Eggplant

Third Batch:

  • Pak Choi

Why these crops?
I’m very curious to see if I can grow Melon and Eggplant outdoors where I live. I will grow them together and enable some type of coverage (plastic, cold frame or glass) to protect it and improve the micro climate in this Raised Bed. Pak Choi is a good late crop, and we love to eat it. I will also try to grow early Pak Choi, simply because we don’t want to wait until autumn to be able to eat it again. 

Location
5 b = This bed is in the “Others and Perennials” Quarter in my Crop Rotation Plan

It is one out of Several Garden Beds (29 when I’m writing this, but tends to be more and more each season…) See the total list of beds and Layout in my Garden Plan for Raised Beds 2017.

Time Plan for this Bed
Time Plan is totally built around the Eggplants and Melons. The dates will depend a lot on where you live, and what average temperatures and sunny hours you have at different months. I’m in Northern Europe and this is the Plan I follow:

January – end:

  • Winter Sow Pak Choi in the outdoors in the Raised Bed
  • Start Eggplant Seeds Indoors

March – mid:

  • Check how your Pak Choi is doing, if not good, start new Pak Choi seeds indoors

April – beginning:

  • Start Water Melon Seeds indoors
  • If you have Pak Choi indoors, transplant them outdoors

May – beginning:

  • Start late Melon Seeds indoors
  • Harvest Pak Choi

June – beginning:

  • Harvest the last Pak Choi
  • Clear the Raised Bed
  • Add Compost and/or Chicken Manure
  • Transplant Eggplant and Melon outdoors

September – beginning:

  • Start new Pak Choi seeds

September – end:

  • Harvest (hopefully) Melons and Eggplants
  • Clear out the Raised Bed
  • Add Chicken Manure and/or compost
  • Transplant the second batch of Pak Choi plants to the Raised Bed

October:

  • Harvest Pak Choi continuously 

November – end:

  • Harvest the last Pak Choi
  • Clear out the Raised Bed
  • Cover with leaves or other Organic Material and let it rest over winter

Background
My Kitchen Garden is built with a modular approach. I have a number of Raised Beds (Deep Beds) – currently 29 beds. Most of them are 120×80 centimeters. They are Deep Beds and I always cover them with Organic Material to improve soil and nutrients, and also have a No Dig Garden. More background information can be found in these posts:

Methods I use to plan each Garden Bed
I plan each bed carefully and enjoy making and developing my plans. I try to consider different angles:
– Succession Planting: I want to have at least 3 batches from each bed to maximize my harvest
– Crop Rotation: I rotate my basic crops each year to eliminate diseases. I have a 4 year Crop Rotation Plan (more about my Crop Rotation Plan here).
– Companion Planting: I want each batch to consist of Plants that thrive together to get good harvest and keep the plants healthy.
– Continuous Harvest: I want to be able to harvest from early spring to late autumn without having to preserve too much food. We prefer to eat all the vegetables as fresh as possible.

Don’t hesitate to discuss the planning of this bed with me. There is always loads of input that can help improving this further.

Update, 26th of February

I have been starting Eggplant Seeds indoors according to the plan, and they have started to sprout. It took quite a long time for them to germinate compared to peppers and chillis.

Today I also started the outdoor work on this Raised Bed, and did the Winter Sowing of Pak Choi. That is an experiment and I would be really happy if it worked out well. Sharing some pictures from the sowing today. Let’s hope that it will sprout within about 1-2 months.

For detailed instructions on Winter Sowing outdoors, check out this post: Winter Sowing in a Raised Bed.

Update, 5th of March

It’s a bit early to transplant the Eggplant Seedlings today, but I needed the tray for other stuff so I decided to move the seedlings anyway. They will stay on the Window Sill, get som extra attention (=an upside down plastic cup) and I hope they will be fine.

Update, 26th of March

We’ve had a few warmer spring days and Pak Choi (/Bok Choi) is starting to sprout in this Raised Bed. They are still tiny, but looks good.

Update, 4th of April

It’s now beginning of April, and there are vegetables growing at three different stages for this Raised Bed.

Pak Choi/Bok Choi:
Pak Choi is still sprouting in the Raised Bed. I also have a few extra Pak Choi plants that was started around the same time In the Mini Greenhouse:

I might use some of these Pak Choi Plants to fill up the gaps between the Pak Choi Plants that were started in the Raised Bed. I will see how they grow and if all of them sprouts, and then decide how to do.

When the harvest of Pak Choi is done and this Raised Bed is cleared out in june, I will grow Aubergine/Eggplant and Melon here. I have been preparing for that second batch today, by transplanting Eggplant and starting Watermelon Seeds.

Eggplant transplant:

I moved the Eggplants to the Basement today. I have not been experimenting with Eggplants in the Basement before and I hope that the temperature is right for them.

Sowing Watermelon Seeds:

Update, 23rd of April

Pak Choi has been growing a bit slower than expected, but the plants look strong and healthy.

I used the extra Pak Choi plants (started in the greenhouse) to fill the empty spots where plants for some reason did not make it:

Result, nicely filled up Raised Bed:

Update, 22nd of May

Plenty of Pak Choi to harvest now. Wonderful! This was for todays dinner.

Update, 4th of June

We’ve had a lot of Pak Choi lately. And still I plan to have more of them next year.

It’s time to move on with this Raised Bed. Eggplant and Melon is moving out:

Update, 23rd of August

It’s really growing in this bed, but summer has been quite cold (even for our climate) and I don’t think that I will get outdoor melons and eggplants this season. I might move some of the plants into my greenhouse later this season. The plants are growing well and are nice and healthy.

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