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.


September 29, 2014

9/29/2014 Sweet Potatoes Galore!

Filed under: Gardening,Sweet Potatoes,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 5:19 pm

I spent the week harvesting sweet potatoes, one variety a day. Georgia Jets and Purple are the varieties that grow fastest. I checked under their vines a couple of weeks ago and found they were sizing up nicely. I removed a few Purples which showed me they were big enough that there would be no advantage in delaying harvest and lots of potential for rodent damage if the sweet potatoes were not harvested soon.

My sweet potato bed was 4’x13′ with 2 rows of plants spaced 1′ apart.  Here are the harvest numbers. Most varieties did better than last year, with the exception of Laceleaf which is even worse than last year.

 2014 Planted 6/30 # yield per
Variety Harvest pounds plants plant
Frazier White 7.9 4 2.0
Georgia Jets 14.5 3 4.8
Korean Purple 8.8  4 2.2
Laceleaf 4.0 4 1.0
Purple 19.0  4 4.8
Beauregard                   4.8        1         4.8
Planting total 58.9 20

In mid-June I got more plants, extras that were not needed in the gardens at Locust Grove. Three Purple slips went into an empty spot along my fence. Sweet potato vines are aggressive. My neighbor had onions on the other side of the fence but I managed to keep the vines on my side until he pulled his onions. The vines were 3′ into his garden when I started harvesting this morning.

Three Purple Sweet Potatoes. They were intertwined in the ground too.

Three Purple Sweet Potatoes. They were intertwined in the ground too.

The biggest Purple sweet potato - quite nice looking, no splits or cracks.

The biggest Purple sweet potato – quite nice looking, no splits or cracks.

The entire 19 pounds of Purple Sweet potatoes from the mid-June planting.

The entire 19 pounds of Purple Sweet potatoes from the mid-June planting.

The three plants from the mid-June planting yielded 19.4 pounds or 6.3 pounds per plant. Phenomenal for a cool-ish summer in the northeast USA.

This is what I mean by an ugly sweet potato. It is nicely sized and shaped, but split and cracked plus it has surface damage cause by an animal or insect. All but one of my Georgia Jets have the same damage. They won’t store well.

An ugly Georgia Jets sweet potato.

An ugly Georgia Jets sweet potato.

All in all, 2014 was an excellent year for sweet potatoes.

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