Mary's Veggie Garden

September 4, 2017

9/4/2017 Harvest Monday – Late August harvests

Filed under: Lettuce,Sweet Potatoes,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 4:59 pm

The last two weeks have been anomalously cool with highs in the 70’s and a low of 42 – ideal weather for gardening – if not for ripening peppers.

My plots at the Vassar Farm community gardens are producing abundantly.

8/21 Sungold tomatoes and the first bell pepper.

The Sungold plants have passed their peak and Septoria is killing the foliage. I’ll remove them soon.

Edamame Soy, Honey Select Sweet Corn, Yaya carrots and Garden Treasure and Garden Gem tomatoes.

Summer Crisp lettuce: Muir and Carioca plus the last of the broccoli side shoots.

I am very impressed by Muir Summer Crisp lettuce. The loose-leaf heads are good-sized and they hold well in the garden for quite a long time (ie 2 weeks before bolting, even in August.) Even after the plant starts bolting the leaves stay sweet and crisp. Plus Muir bolts very, very slowly.

Copra onions curing 8/21. The onion crop has been cleaned and stored in mesh bags hanging from the basement ceiling – 36 pounds.

At home, I am greeted by this magnificent 8′ tall goldenrod by the garden gate.

This volunteer goldenrod fominates this corner of the garden. The butternut squash is climbing over it to get some sun.

Bees cover the goldenrod most of the day probably a hundred at any time. Wasps, ranging from midget to full-sized, also feed on the goldenrod.

Highlander peppers are mildly hot. I chopped & froze these to use in winter pizzas and chili.

Felicity jalapenos have no heat!  These are the first beans form my early July planting of Hickok bush beans.

The Helda pole beans are producing again after resting in early August.

My neighbor at the community gardens started digging sweet potatoes in late August and they look very good. Purple SPs get big fast, plus rodents chew on them in the fall.  I’ve decided to get them out while they are good – plus they will be a smaller, more manageable size if harvested now. So I’ve started groping around under the sweet potato plants and pulling out any roots I can find while leaving the plants to grow more roots.

Purple sweet potatoes. The biggest is almost 3 pounds.

I found this Purple snake by stepping on it. It was growing  horizontally on top of the soil under thick leaf mulch.

Purple sweet potato snake 16″ long.


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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