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.


June 5, 2017


Filed under: Floating Row Cover,Hail,Kohlrabi,Onions,Tomatoes,Vegetables,Weather — marysveggiegarden @ 11:49 am

Thursday afternoon I arrived at my community garden plot to discover everything was shredded. It literally looks like everything was run through a cheese grater.

Wednesday evening a severe thunderstorm traveled through the area. At home the branches tossed in vicious winds and small hail fell for about a minute. However my home garden sustained almost no damage. There was a tornado about a mile to the south, but the community gardens are 2 miles north.

Over the last few days I’ve put the story together. Gardeners who were much closer to the Community Gardens said hail fell for “10 minutes”. One said it was ” as large as her fist” (she has a small hand, but that is still large.)

The hail came from the north. The only undamaged plants are adjacent to the north fence. My neighbors onions, on the north side of my north fence, were shredded. I have some Egyptian walking onions. Their sturdy flower stalks are scarred on the half facing north and almost unblemished on the south side.

Friday and Saturday I took pictures then cleaned up.

The snapped kohlrabi leaves.

I harvested the kohlrabi that lost most of it leaves. I’m hoping the rest have enough leaves remaining to fuel growth of the bulb.

The typical romaine lettuce after being pummeled by hail.

The romaine bed was in tatters. The plants were just starting to form heads. I’m hoping they will continue to head up and not bolt from the stress.

The tops of the pea plants are snapped off.

Curiously, only the tall variety lost it tops, the shorter variety was just fine, even though growing on the same fence.


Hail punched holes through the floating row covers.

Snapped leaves on the plants underneath the row cover.

The most damage  to row covers occurred in  unsupported sections such as the suspended areas between plants where the hail punched right through. Notice how good the Chinese cabbage was looking. There is no flea beetle damage when grown under a row cover. I’m hoping the Chinese cabbages will continue to head up since the centers look undamaged.

The leaves and tops were snapped off the tomato plants.

Hail snapped  leaves and tops off the tomato plants. With the tops gone, the suckers started growing fast and are visible in this picture 2 days after the storm. During cleanup I removed the flower buds. The fruit will be better if the plants have leaves.

The onions took a beating.

The good news is that my garden at home is undamaged. Since the start of May I’ve been foraging for greens every morning. The greens are washed, chopped, and stirred into the scrambled eggs for breakfast. The mix changes but this colander is fairly typical.

Mess o’greens. L-R leaf of Tyfon-Holland greens (single large leaf), garlic mustard leaves, Red Giant mustard, garlic and common chives and a leaf of sorrel.

Garlic mustard is a common invasive weed. It’s a biennial – flowers it’s second year. The garlic flavor is quite mild. Garlic mustard leaves are easy to harvest from the flower stalks, reasonably tender and clean. I’ve also foraged the leaves of first year plants but the leaf stems are wiry and tough and should be removed.

Garlic mustard – a common yard weed.

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