Tag Archives: vegetable garden

happy may day & the left side

Happy May Day! We sent our oldest to preschool this morning with a bouquet of backyard flowers to decorate the May Pole. The teachers were busy attaching streamers to the pole and it brought me back to fond memories of my own preschool May Days. After dancing around the may pole, we’d fill a basket with flowers and excitedly run across the street to leave on the neighbors front porch, ring the bell, then quickly dash away giggling. As Julie and I discussed the other day, its a lost holiday these days. Its too bad, what a nice uncommercial cheerful day to celebrate.
chive flowers
On the left side of the garden, to wrap up our tour, I thought we’d start at the back. In our back bed we keep an odd assortment of herbs, garlic and chard. These chive flowers are fairytale like this time of year. I keep expecting a Peter Cottontail to come along and nibble on these.
garlic
And the garlic? It looks like long graceful limbs of dancers in this light.
more garlic dancers
In front of them is our potato trench. We dig a deep trench (notice I use the royal we here, actually Scott digs a deep trench) about 18″ deep and plant the potatoes there, then as they grow and sprout we keep filling the hole over the plant to encourage new potatoes to grow until the ‘trench’ becomes ground level. These are yukon golds:
yukon gold potato
In front of the potatoes is a bed with currently two peppers and two eggplants with basil seeds just sprouting. Oh, and what else is that you see in the picture? Oh, yes, that would be even *more* wonder berries and amaranth!
pepper
Ahead of the ‘mediterranean bed’ is an entire bed devoted to strawberries which in hopefully another week will be bright red and ready to eat.
strawberry
And at the very front of the left side is a bed of onions and leeks:
onions
Notice how much bigger these are than the garlic in back? Planted on the same day too. The magic of raised beds, I tell you!

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Filed under growing challenge, state of the garden

The Center Plot

It’s windy today, and sunny but with big huge clouds looming in the sky. I wish it were just plain sunny and warm because tonight is the farmers market in town and the new Ben and Jerrys on the square is giving away free ice cream tonight! Now of course I’ll take free ice cream in any weather, but wouldn’t it be so much nicer if it was warm? Anyway, I’m taking you on a tour of the middle of our veggie garden today, please don’t mind the weeds. It was recently covered in favas and vetch, but now that those have been pulled and tilled, its full of little seedlings. Oh and one more artichoke plant:
artichoke
Behind the artichoke and the new raised bed (that’s waiting for cucumber seeds to sprout), we have the melon row. Here’s one of the few melons that survived the frosty mornings, a crenshaw.
crenshaw
Behind the melons is tomato alley:
tomato alley
In the tomato bed is a sea full of volunteer amaranth, wonder berry and purple haze carrots (those we actually planted).
purple haze carrots
As you’ll notice in all of our pictures we have those purple amaranth and little wonder berries. Both of those things we started a few years ago, just with one plant and now they come up *everywhere*! The wonder berries were advertised as being just like huckleberries, but I’m here to report that they are not at all like huckleberries and I wish those stinkin’ little sprouts would just go away already. The amaranth, however are a beautiful and welcome surprise to find around the yard. Both the leaves and seeds are edible. You can eat the leaves young in salads, older steamed like spinach and the seed is a grain that you can eat like rice or quinoa.

Behind the tomatoes is our new three part bed that Scott just made. This bed receives quite a bit of shade in the summer because it’s right by three huge cedar trees and our weeping santa rosa plum tree. So in go the cooler season crops like another lettuce bed (lettuce is so easy to grow, its a sin to have to pay for it at the store):
lettuce
Spinach:
spinach
and French breakfast radishes:
radishes

Throughout this middle section is a scattering of borage (again another one we started with just one plant and now have little volunteers everywhere):
borage

Well, the little ones are up, so I must go. Next up, the right side of the garden.

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Filed under growing challenge, sprouting, state of the garden, tomato

the iris massacre – keeping those snails away

copper as snail barrier
Two years ago at this time of year, we had a massacre in our garden. It was ugly. It all started when all of our lettuce seeds started sprouting in their planting bed, which just happens to be right behind a wall of irises. The sight of this fresh growth was a much welcome sight after such a long, rainy winter. Remember that winter? Well, one morning during Scott’s early morning coffee-in-hand walk through the garden, he found that each and every sprout had been completely eated by snails. In an understandable snail rage, out came the clippers and all the surrounding irises that had been housing those snails were chopped to the ground. All those tall, graphic leaves and soon to be flowers were gone. Not that I’m a huge fan of that patch of irises, I mean, really, what do you call this color? Burnt Flesh?
ugly irises

But we had to find a better solution than yearly massacres. We had already tried Sluggo, beer in tuna cans, you know the drill. So we went the way of the copper pipe. It’s an awesome solution really. When the slug or snail touches the copper, a slight electrical discharge zaps the poor victim and they quickly retreat. No death, no poison, no animal-unfriendly pellets, just a zap and they are gone. If you were really fancy, you could construct a copper pipe rectangle to go around your entire bed. And it will last year after year. And it will save all the poor ugly colored irises. (note to self: i must replace with irises i actually like this fall! anyone want these fugly little guys?)

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Filed under what we've learned

a package of plants

a package for us
We’ve never ordered plants before through the mail, so we thought we’d give it a try this year. We received a catalog from Territorial for the first time this winter and we thought, oh, what a nice little small, Oregon-based nursery. Only after ordering did we learn that it’s a Monsanto company. Hmm, maybe this will be our last year ordering from them. Anyway, our package arrived last Thursday. And this was what was inside:
three tomatoes and three peppers
The three peppers looked like they were in good shape, but the San Marzano tomatoes (which we like for sauces) were all long and scraggly and tired looking. Even after being repotted and carefully attended too, one looks like it may die and the others are still leaning down to the ground. We think this may be the first and last time for mail ordered tomatoes. We should have held out for Tomatomania that’s being held in town this weekend.

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Filed under growing challenge, tomato, what we've learned