Mary's Veggie Garden

July 24, 2017

7/24/2017 Home Garden Tour & Harvest

Filed under: Garlic,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 5:59 pm

Last week I posted a tour of my community garden plot. This week I’m showing my vegetable garden at home.

I’ve been gardening in this space since 1998 and it was my only garden until after I retired. Over twenty years things change. The trees 60′ to the south now have roots reaching into the garden. The sapling Norway maple 10′ to the north in my neighbor’s yard is now a full-sized tree, shading 2 beds and with roots extending to the middle of the garden. The soil is beautiful, but conditions are challenging. I focus on crops that do well despite some shade.

The deer ignore the herbs outside the garden fence. After 20 years the wire fence is buckling under its own weight.

Herb Garden – common chives, sage, rosemary. geraniums and garlic chives.

Just inside the gate two teepees support Helda pole beans. Between the teepees there is also an overwintered kale plant, and my single hill of zucchini (not visible). Rhubarb surrounds the bird house. The flash of blue is a stool which allows me to (barely) reach the top beans.

7/17 harvest – the first Striata d’Italia zucchini and Helda pole beans. I’m harvesting beans daily.

This bed of butternut squash is to the left of the beans. The mottled foliage is Honeynut while the remaining plants are Waltham butternuts.

The next picture shows the 5 beds that make up the north-east third of the garden.  The two beds in the top left corner contain raspberries and two kale plants.  The neighbor’s maple makes the area dry and shady so I didn’t bother to plant much. In the foreground there is a bed of Peppermint Swiss chard and kale. Two weeks ago I removed snow peas and replanted the area with bush beans under a row cover to protect the seeds from chipmunks. There is also a baby bunny in the garden so I’m leaving the row cover in place until the plants out grow it. The fence was the trellis for my snap peas. I pulled out the last of the plants yesterday and ate the pods with breakfast.  I will replant the area with fall crops this week.

Northeast corner – greens and beans.

Peppers: from front to back Carmen, Escamillo and Highlander.

The circled plant is a red giant mustard plant going to seed. I’ve allowed several plants to bloom and set seed.  I’m planning to dump some of the mature plants in the empty bed in the NE corner – because spring is the only time with is enough light and moisture to grow a crop under the tree – and mustard is the first thing up in spring.

The tomato bed – interplanted with parsley and basil.

The Jasper tomato in front is supported by a 5′ high cage of concrete reinforcing wire. The garden slopes slightly, so I stabilize the cage by tying it to a stake on the uphill side. Past experience says the cages will tip during a thunderstorm if not tied to something.

In the spring snow peas were trellised on the fencing. In mid-June I planted Fairy squash (around the bird house pole) and 7/5 I planted Summer Dance cucumbers (foreground). Another mustard plant leans on the pea trellis. I’m hoping the cukes will climb the fencing.

I harvested most of the garlic this past week.  Music will be the last variety harvested – it is above, behind the squash.

Garlic: German White, Chesnok Red and Duganski.

I expected Duganski to be as big or bigger than Chesnok Red. Norma, at gave me a  head of nicely sized cloves last fall. I missed cutting the scapes off two Duganski plants resulting in the two smallest garlic heads. Duganski was growing next to German White; perhaps it felt crowded out by the much larger German White plants.

Check with Dave at to see what other gardeners are harvesting across the US and around the world.

July 17, 2017

July 17, 2017 Community Gardens Plot Tour and Harvest

Filed under: Cabbage,Floating Row Cover,Lettuce,Onions,Seeds,Sweet Potatoes,Tomatoes,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 6:40 pm

Yesterday, I photographed my garden plot at the Vassar Farm Community Gardens. My plot is 20’x40′ laid out in beds 3.5’x14′ with 18″  wide beds along the fence.

This lovely weed, possibly a white heath aster, greets me at the gate. The old 2×4’s weigh down cardboard that keeps weeds out of the fence.

Overwintered Swiss Chard blooms just inside the gate.

Swiss chard is a biennial, blooming its second year. Sown May 2016, this plant survived the winter under a heap of abandoned light weight floating row cover. In forty years of growing chard, this is the first I’ve seen survive the winter. I’ve often wondered what happened the second summer.

Peppermint Swiss chard before harvest.

Two hours later – chard after harvesting 4 pounds.

The floating row cover protects broccoli, cabbage and kale from the ravages of cross-striped cabbage worms and imported cabbage worms. Background – my preferred vehicle for traveling to the Farm.


Foreground – sweet potatoes; back – cucumbers. The cucumbers had been growing under a row cover for protection against the bacterial wilt spread by cucumber beetles. I uncovered them for pollination when they started flowering a couple days ago.


A shade cover keeps a new carrot planting moist while germinating.

The shade cover is a piece of concrete reinforcing wire covered by a piece of old sheet. I sewed leftover bias binding to the sheet corners to use as ties.  I start a new section of carrots every 2 weeks during June and July. Even with shade I water the seed bed every 2-3 days. Germination is excellent under the cover.

The tiny plants in the foreground are more sweet potatoes. They are growing very slowly this year. The row cover protects cabbages and Chinese cabbages. Edemame soy beans and  corn are growing in the bed behind the row cover. Butternut squash is just beyond and tomatoes are last. The tomato plants are short and bushy because they were shredded by hail in early June.

The west side – Copra and Cabernet onions are against the fence. Bush beans are growing & flowering under the row cover for protection against Mexican Bean beetles.  Behind the beans are a few beets and a planting of summer crisp lettuces.

In the front are two blooming Cimmaron Romaine lettuce plants. Behind are my first carrot planting and more onions.

I try to harvest all the lettuce before it bolts but I always plant too much. I allow the last plants that bolt to set seed. I want to select for plants with delayed bolting when I save seed.

Harvest is the last job before I bike home. I try to keep the food in the shade of the bike, but there is precious little shade at noon. Shown here: 4 pounds of chard, some Lactinato kale and a bag of broccoli – one head and lots of side shoots. The onions and lettuce didn’t make the picture and the strawberries were eaten.


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