Tuesday, March 13, 2012

beginning 2012

I didn't do a good job of keeping this blog up at the end of last season, did I?  This year's season has begun early thanks to our unusual winter weather and the Grow Camp.  We were able to harvest lettuce from the Grow Camp well into January despite the frosts and snow that killed off everything in the main garden.  I added a layer of row cover inside the Grow Camp to protect it.  We harvested coriander all winter in very small quantities.  It is growing again now, and we were able to have a nice bunch with yesterday's dinner.  Onions are growing out there, and the chard is making a huge comeback.  Encouraged by the existing plant's efforts at new growth, I planted spinach, chard, carrots, beets and more coriander.  We'll see what happens!

My seed order has not arrived yet, but when it does I will be planting a new pea variety from Burpee in the remaining Grow Camp space.  I am also preparing the "outside" beds for early vegetable crops.  Usually I don't get around to this until April, so I am really early this year.  Should be fun!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hurricane cleanup

It is a week since Irene came to visit. Fortunately the Grow Camp survived the high winds.  We had two trees downed in the yard, but they fell between the house and the shed, and caused no other damage.  The squash and cucumber plants did not survive.  At first we propped up the tomato plants that fell, but after a week we realized that the cherry tomato plant was too damaged to survive. Today I picked all the cherry tomatoes and pulled up the remnants of the plant.  Where the tomato plant was and where the squash and cucumber plants were, I stirred in a goodly amount of compost and planted with more fall crops.  I'm not sure we will have peas and beans before the first frost, but I do have copious amounts of floating row cover I can use to protect the plants.  It will be a race against time!

The Grow Camp was taken over by the two remaining tomato plants, but after Irene the leaves quickly started turning yellow and spotty. Today I trimmed out masses of yellow leaves and tomato branches.  As a result I had to pick quite a few green tomatoes.  There were quite a few tomatoes on top of the soil as a result of the hurricane, and I picked those up to make sauce.  I think we'll have tomatoes for at least a couple more weeks provided the trimming I did today solved the black spot problem.   I also removed all of the bush bean plants from the Grow Camp. We had a reasonable harvest, but the plants were flattened by the heavy rains, and few leaves remained.

All of this plant removal has left room to plant more peas, beans, lettuce, spinach, turnips, and some herbs.  I hope to plant more spinach and lettuce once the tomatoes are removed. We'll see how far into the cool weather we can harvest greens.

I should add that we have had a nice supply of eggplants and peppers up until the storm.  Many eggplants and peppers ended up on the ground after the storm, but more are coming along.   The chard is bounteous!  More chard tonight with our salmon and corn.

Monday, August 1, 2011


It used to be that I had a very large veggie garden in our backyard.  We were without the use of our back yard for a couple of years while new pipes were being laid through our neighborhood, and I never resumed that garden.  Now I have a a much smaller garden. It is much harder planning a smaller garden.  We used to have a very wide variety of vegetables, and lots of plants for canning and freezing.  Now I am mostly growing for an extended season of fresh vegetables.  Different planning skills are required, and even after reading about square foot gardening and raised beds, I'm still struggling.  I struggle with keeping a balance between ongoing crop of beans and squash and growing more than the usual.  I'd like to grow many more types of things.  Today I opted to remove one of the summer squash plants so that I could plant rutabagas for the fall.  Decisions, decisions! This winter I will work on a more comprehensive plan to achieve a better balance.

Today I planted more wax beans, rutabagas, peas, and the last of the carrot seeds.

Friday, July 29, 2011

harvest increases

Finally! For the last few days we have been able to get our daily vegetable quota from our own garden.  We are harvesting chard, beans, summer squash, scallions, zucchini, carrots, and cherry tomatoes.  There is also some room in the first raised bed to plant second crops, and I plan to plant more carrots, beets, and perhaps beans (The beans are a bit risky.  I usually don't plant them after July 15).  This next week I'll plant our second pea crop and turnips. If I can find some broccoli plants I'll put those in, too.  I have my doubts.  I wish I had planted some in the spring.  I am the only one who eats broccoli, and I guess I thought I would just buy it at the farmer's market. We have also consistently had a handful of raspberries each morning.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Heat Continues

The plants seem to be doing okay, despite the triple digit temperatures, and the Grow Camp has shown no signs of melting down.  Picked more squash and beans today, and watered the beds.  The forecast says scattered thunderstorms until 9AM, then clearing and back up to the triple digits.  I felt a few drops of rain, but the darkest clouds passed over us. I hear thunder to the east, and so I think the storm overshot us.  Would have been nice to get some rain!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Heat warning

The predicted high today is 103 with high humidity.  This heat wave reduces the amount of time I spend working in the garden except for harvesting and watering.  We have had a few meals now of green beans, and today I picked our first wax beans.  We've had summer squash, zucchini, and carrots, and of course, Swiss chard (my favorite).  The raspberries I planted last year are sending up lots of new stems, and many of them have small fruit forming.  We have had a handful of berries each day from the older stems.  I'm looking forward to more bountiful crops as the years progress.  Yum!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

After the rain

Yesterday was stormy and hot.  I went out before the storms to cover the raspberries and other plants with row cover in case of hail, but it did not come.  I also spent some time sitting and dead heading flowers and watching the storm clouds roll in.  

Today I decided to try digging up the hosta again in the hopes that the rains yesterday would make the job easier.  It took 45 minutes, but a nice chunk of the large green hosta separated from the larger plant, and now has a new home under the deck.