Mary's Veggie Garden

May 28, 2012

May 27, 2012 Home Garden Tour

Filed under: Gardening,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 1:05 am
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This week we will take a photographic tour of my home vegetable garden. This L-shaped garden has an area of about 1120 square feet. Fifteen years ago this was the sunniest spot in my yard but over the years its gotten progressively darker. To take this picture I stood under a tree! The shade is the reason I also grow vegetables in the community plots at Vassar Farm.

Overview of home vegetable garden on 5/27/2012

Deer do not bother most herbs so the herb garden is outside the southern fence.  It’s too shady there for anything but the chives and garlic chives to do well. Hardy kiwis grow outside the east fence. The north side is all forsythia and a 50′ tall apple tree. It’s an annual battle to keep the neighbor’s forsythia out of my garden. Most of my sun comes from the west  where there is lawn behind the house.

The garden is laid out in eleven 4’x20′ beds. There are also narrow, 18″ wide perimeter beds along the south and east fences which are now so shady that I’m transitioning them into ornamental, perennial shade gardens.

The gate is hung from the utility pole which is at the ‘center’  and sunniest part of the garden – the inside corner where the two arms of the L meet. We will take the tour by entering the gate, turning right, then turning counter clock-wise.

Snow Peas & Spinach

#1: Snow peas grow on the trellis across the picture center: Oregon Sugar Pod II on the near end and Dwarf White Sugar on the far end plus spinach in front. Both snow pea varieties are in full bloom and I started harvesting the Dwarf White Sugar pods 5/26. Dwarf White Sugar is a much taller and lankier plant than Oregon Sugar Pod. BTW I’ve never grown a pea called ‘dwarf’ that was actually short. In the background you can spot the trunks of the Norway maples that block sun from the south.  The peas do fairly well in part sun.  Mid-June I’ll succession plant this bed with cucumbers.

Cascadia Snap Peas and kale.

#2: Cascadia Sugar Snap Peas, Winterbor Kale, a few struggling Bok Choi plants and 2 Red Giant mustard plants. The Bok Choi is the #1 favorite of slugs. I finally started patrolling for slugs at dusk and found and destroyed a couple dozen slugs last week. The Bok Choi appreciates my efforts; their newest leaves are undamaged.

In the background there are Evergreen bunching onions in bloom and more snow peas on the fence.

#3: Two Sungold cherry tomatoes at the front, then a Mountain Magic. At the back there is lots of volunteer Red Giant Mustard, and some mache (bright green) going to seed.

Cherry tomatoes & Red Giant mustard.

#4: We are now looking at the very shady east edge of the garden. The bed is planted with several currant bushes. The one at the front is the oldest, a 2-year-old Blanka ‘white’ currant. Rosemary is beside the currant and onions just beyond. The onion plants were the biggest of my ‘sets’, which I separated for later harvest as green onions. That’s a kiwi tendril coming over the fence in the upper left.

Currants and onions.

#5 & 6: Both beds have flourishing cherry bushes (Prunus jacquemonti x japonica ‘Joel’ & ‘Joy’)  in the shady area at the far end. The plants were purchased  for a different garden in 2009 and transplanted to my garden this spring. Both bloomed soon after transplanting and are loaded with small green cherries. (The cherry bushes are sprawly and difficult to see against the green background.)

Bush Cherries: Prunus jacquemonti x japonica ‘Joel’ & ‘Joy’

I planted parsnips in the area being ‘protected’ by the pile of tomato cages. So far there is nothing growing – either I’m being too impatient or the slugs ate all the sprouts. The rest of the space is for the pole beans.

#7, 8 & 9: Two edible Honeysuckle bushes are planted at the back of beds 7 & 8 (Lonicera caerulea var. edulis ‘Blue Moon’ (right, purchased 2008) and ‘Blue Velvet'(left, purchased 2011)).  Both were  transplanted to my garden this spring. Blue Velvet bloomed during an early heat wave and all the flowers had dropped by the time Blue Moon blossomed, so there is no fruit this year. Two varieties are necessary for cross-pollination.

Lonicera caerulea var. edulis ‘Blue Moon’ (R) and ‘Blue Velvet’ (L)

Summer squash ‘Zephyr’ is in the front center surrounded by loose fencing. Planted 5/18, it took just a week for sprouts to emerge. Raspberries ‘Kiwi Gold’ are growing in the far bed, by the fence.

#10 Peppers & Rhubarb. I purchased the biggest pepper, but grew the rest myself.  I  like to transplant them at this smaller size. The rhubarb likes its shady spot under the neighbor’s apple tree and its doing spectacularly well this year. The widest leaf measures 33″ across.

Peppers and rhubarb.

Parsley was transplanted 5/4 into the area behind the peppers. Unfortunately all the plants disappeared, probably eaten by slugs. (I put some Sluggo under the rhubarb.) I had lots of seedlings so  several  on 5/4 up and I’m about to transplant again.

#11 Cooking tomatoes are planted here, four Granadero plants on the right, Opalka and Sungold on the left.

Tomatoes and blueberries.

The blueberries at the back are not doing well even though I added a lot of peat moss at planting time. The garden pH is around 7: neutral when blueberries prefer acid. I added a lot of garden sulfur 2 months ago and am hoping the plants improve this year.

Harvest this week:
Radishes: 1 pound
Lettuce: 1/2 pound
Spinach: 2 ounces
Snow peas: approx. 2 ounces.

Please visit Daphne’s Dandelions to learn what gardeners are harvesting around the US and around the world.

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May 21, 2012

May 20, 2012 Garden Tour

Filed under: Flea Beetles,Gardening,Radishes,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 3:16 pm
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Today I am presenting a photographic walk through my vegetable gardens. I will try to repeat the tour every 4-6 weeks. Many of you saw the plan a few weeks ago. How does the plan look in action?

Status: The gardens are about half planted. Early spring crops are maturing. We are eating spinach salads, lettuce is almost ready and snow peas are blooming. I’m not rushing the warm weather stuff because temperatures are still erratic and cool: it hit 45 early Saturday morning.

Vassar Farm This is my 20’x40′ plot in the community gardens. The farm has been cultivated continuously since the Civil War, first to feed the college and later as Victory gardens which eventually became community garden plots. It is a challenging environment because the gardens have every pest that can survive in this area. Luckily the gardens also have full sun, something most of us lack at home.

Click on the pictures to make them full-sized to read the labels.

Overview: Standing on the east side, looking west. The center beds run north/south. There are 1.5′-2′ wide perimeter beds along the fence on all sides. Gates are off-photo in the lower right corner, and the upper left corner.

Overview of  plot on 5/20/2012.

The brown paper bags contain my mulch supply: shredded leaves saved last autumn. I cut empty bags into two or three strips and place them on the paths, covered by leaves.

We will walk the interior path that circles the garden, first looking at the perimeter beds.

East bed (#1), onions.

East perimeter bed: onions.

South Bed:  garlic, Swiss chard and beets. The rest will be planted with edamame soy beans.

South perimeter bed.

West bed: Bolero carrots, planted 5/14, not up yet.

West bed.

North bed: more carrots, celeriac, and cabbages & broccoli under the row cover.

North perimeter bed.

Center beds are just shy of 4′ wide and run north-south. We are standing on the south end looking north.

Bed #2: 14 varieties of potatoes planted 4/15-4/17. Six varieties have only a single plant. I peeked under the row cover and there is no flea beetle damage.

The potatoes, bed # 2.

Bed #3: future home of corn and beans. No picture.

Bed #4: future home of sweet potatoes and cucumbers. No picture. Currently being warmed by black plastic.

Bed #5: onions from sets, three Sungold,  two Big Beef and one Aunt Ruby’s German Green tomato. The peppers will be planted here this week.

Onions, tomatoes and (future) peppers.

Bed #6: future home of more corn and beans. Warming under black plastic.

Bed #7: Kolibri kohlrabi (freeze burned in late April), 3 varieties of radishes, Kossack kohlrabi. This week I will seed winter squash up the center of this bed.

Kohlrabi and radishes.

Bed #8: Lettuce Pinetree mix, Lettuce Cimmaron and Napa cabbage. Future home of more winter squash. The Napa cabbage leaves have lots of flea beetle damage. This happens every year. The outer leaves will be full of tiny holes but the inner leaves of the head will be OK or only damaged on the borders. I don’t do anything about the flea beetles.

Napa Cabbage and lots of lettuce.

Bed #9: Sugar snap peas, future home of melons.

Sugar Snap Peas.

I hope you enjoyed this tour. My next post will feature my home ‘shade’ vegetable garden.

And since this is harvest Monday, hosted by Daphne’s Dandelions, my harvest was baby lettuce, baby (but bolting) spinach, and the first of the radishes (4 ounces).

The first of the radishes.

It is amazing what full sun does for the radishes. I planted radishes at home on 3/20 & 4/3. They sprouted but disappeared (cutworms or slugs) and the few remaining plants have not formed a bulb. The 4/29 planting at Vassar Farm has already produced more with a lot less effort.

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