Mary's Veggie Garden

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.



  1. Mary, I loved the tour of some of your garden. Thanks. Also, I too have never seen Swiss Chard in bloom. I imagine the second year that it is not that great to eat. I sometimes will eat parsley from the second year’s growth – real bitter.

    Comment by Judy Killmer — July 18, 2017 @ 6:38 am | Reply

    • The flowering stems start as leafy side shoots and I’ve picked many in an effort to contain the size of the plant. I’ve eaten them in scrambled eggs and not noticed any bitterness or off tastes.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — July 18, 2017 @ 8:21 am | Reply

  2. Love all the green leafy stuff!
    I know it is hard not to eat the strawberries before getting a photo!
    Have a wonderful week!

    Comment by Lea — July 18, 2017 @ 9:03 am | Reply

  3. I though maybe the first photo was chamomile at first glance. The remesh/sheet shade cover is ingenious!

    Comment by Dave @ OurHappyAcres — July 18, 2017 @ 4:48 pm | Reply

  4. Your onions look healthy and robust, I just cannot grow onion in my garden, think it is the soil. Do you re-use your row cover?

    Comment by Norma Chang — July 18, 2017 @ 6:56 pm | Reply

    • No, these row covers develop holes after a single season in the garden. Though I do have a ‘holey’ cover protecting new beans from chipmunks & bunnies. That wouldn’t work against beetles.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — July 18, 2017 @ 7:47 pm | Reply

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