Mary's Veggie Garden

May 28, 2012

May 27, 2012 Home Garden Tour

Filed under: Gardening,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 1:05 am

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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  1. Your garden looks lovely! Do you ever plan to trim the trees around it to try and give it more sunlight?

    Comment by Prairie Cat — May 28, 2012 @ 7:13 am | Reply

    • The trees were heavily pruned by the 10/29/11 snowfall but it hasn’t made much difference to the garden. And they help keep the house cool; necessary without AC. But we do discuss removing them every year.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — May 28, 2012 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

  2. We removed a lot of trees from the front portion of our property earlier this year because our garden was also getting less and less sun. Huge improvement and so worth it.

    Your garden is growing along nicely and you have adapted well to the sun conditions with your plant choices.

    Comment by kitsapfg — May 28, 2012 @ 9:55 am | Reply

    • Experience is a great teacher. And with a sunny garden in the community plots I don’t have to struggle at home with veggies that want full sun.

      Unfortunately if I take down those trees I’ll need to buy an air conditioner.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — May 28, 2012 @ 1:20 pm | Reply

  3. your garden is lovely. I just wish I could get my soil down to *7*! It starts out about 9! and takes a couple years of heavy amendments plus sulpher to get below 8. Blue berries are a no go, tho I have one struggling in a pot of compost and peatmoss. We’ll see how it survives! On the garden planner: I’m wondering if you could tell me what the formula for or formatting for column E, actual maturity should be? Mine looks crazy, probably because I’m just using the MS spreadsheet instead of Excel.

    Comment by maryhysong — May 28, 2012 @ 1:05 pm | Reply

    • Wow, that is way alkaline. Around here people tend to reflexively put down lime (as advised in a lot of extension info from the 1950’s) and then wonder why they have problems when the garden turns alkaline. Soil pH is too little understood by most folks.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — May 28, 2012 @ 1:33 pm | Reply

  4. Oh slugs, those pesky slugs, I did not use anything, perhaps I should. Your garden is coming along so nicely.

    Comment by Norma Chang — May 28, 2012 @ 2:21 pm | Reply

  5. I always love the photos of peas all lined up. I find them so pretty.

    Comment by Daphne — May 28, 2012 @ 4:57 pm | Reply

  6. When i read your first words about a shady garden i thought you wouldn’t have much planted or growing . But you have lots and they all look very healthy , a really beautiful garden.
    I can’t imagine what your growing at the plot, you must be kept very busy. Thanks for the reminder about catching slugs at night i must get into my garden they are attacking my Pak Choi too.

    Comment by Andrea — May 29, 2012 @ 3:53 am | Reply

    • To see what I grow in the sun check last weeks post. I actually grow some veggies in both gardens. The harvest is later in the season in the shady garden but sometime the convience is worth it.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — May 29, 2012 @ 6:14 am | Reply

  7. You have a great garden. Thanks for the tour. 🙂

    Comment by Susi — May 30, 2012 @ 12:20 pm | Reply

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