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Monday, May 28, 2012

Garden report - the end of May

My garden is mostly in 6 raised beds, though there are quite a bit of other gardening areas throughout the yard.  Rather than blogging, I've been spending most of my day light hours out there, getting things planted.  I am almost done.  Here's what we've got so far:

Bed 1:  Beans, beets & more beets, celeriac, nasturtiums.  The beans and most of the beets are starting to look great.  They aren't even halfway grown yet, but it's still early on and a lot of people are just starting to plant.  I don't think the celeriac is going to make it but it's worth a try.  A friend gave us the nasturtium plant so hopefully it will do well.  Nasturtiums and their leaves taste so good in pesto.

Bed 2:  Garlic, radishes, eggplant, 2 types of lettuce, cilantro that reseeded itself, broccoli raab, and spinach.  The garlic was overwintered from last fall, planted in October.  It should be ready this summer.  I planted radishes between the garlic rows just to have something that would grow fast and give us variety for our also-early-season lettuces.  The eggplant probably won't have a lot of productivity until the garlic is ready to go, so I planted the eggplant so that it can take over the garlic's area after that harvest.  The strawberry spinach, bought as a novelty to give it a taste, isn't coming up at all.  I planted just regular spinach there instead so that it's not wasted space.  The broccoli raab is very pretty so far, but was also bought as a novelty so I don't know how it will taste yet.

Bed 3:  Georgia Jet sweet potatoes, soybeans, purple beans, and cauliflower.  The sweet potatoes were mail ordered.  The instructions did say that they would be okay even if wilted, but they don't look all that well.  I'll give them a chance and see how they do.  I would love to have our own home grown sweet potatoes.  As for the soybeans, I love edamame.  It's a great snack.  Just sprinkle some salt on it and scrape out the beans from the pod with your teeth.  The purple beans are fun.  I finally found my stash of seeds from last year so I planted these again because you can easily find them when harvesting.  The beans do turn green when steamed or cooked though.  The cauliflower is a second attempt.  Last year I grew some (if you could call it growing).  It did not do well at all.  It was way too crowded and had very tiny heads, with black spots on them.  I had to pull them all.  This time, I have different seeds, more space, and hopefully better luck.  Since this was all just planted today, but for the sweet potatoes, the bed just looks like a bin of dirt for the moment.

Bed 4:  Peas, parsnips, carrots, turnips, thyme, parsley, and mint.  The peas are doing very well.  I can see little pea pods forming.  I love eating fresh pea pods right off the vine.  That is one of my favorite tastes.  I am trying parsnips again.  They didn't grow for me last year but I like them so much that I had to try again.  The turnips grew in some areas where seeded but not in others, so I replanted some seeds today in hopes that we'll have a good turnip harvest.  I planted three types of carrots because I want to see if last year's tiny crop was because of some fluke.  I also planted lasts year's seeds in compost, which is a no-no.  I knew it then too, but I wanted carrots and had only compost.  I knew that it would make them fork, but even with what little we had last year, they were tasty.  The thyme came back unexpectedly from last year.  I'll likely replant it near some other herbs in the ground by the back of the house, but I'll leave it for now.  I added the parsley there just because that's where I was when I grabbed it.  As for the mint, well, that was not intentionally planted but was there last year and I can't get it to go away, so I end up pulling it out occasionally, but always unsuccessfully.

Bed 5:  Strawberries.  The entire bed is strawberries, and one hanging basket of strawberries too.  I have been picking off the black spotted leaves and the plants are looking healthy.  We've even got some strawberries almost ready to be picked.

Bed 6:  Lots of tomatoes, two types of basil, and ground cherries.  We diversified our tomatoes so that we have plenty of sauce tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, and pop-in-your-mouth tomatoes.  Basil grows well with them (and is great in pasta dishes and salsa) so the basil always gets planted with the tomatoes.  The ground cherries are doing very well.  This bed is filled with plants from a friend who grew them from seed months before.

In-ground bed & around it:  Onions, zucchini, and potatoes.  We planted 100 onion sets of red, and 100 sets of yellow onions.  That equals a lot of blooming onions in our home.  I only have three zucchini plants growing and that's intentional.  We still have zucchini left in the freezer that we were not able to finish off before this season started.  We have three types of potatoes in bins - blue (saved from last year's), red, and golden.  All of them will taste delicious.  The plants have grown so well that twice already I've had to cover over them. 

We're trying a lot of perennials too.  We planted a second hops, and also put espizote and tobacco nearby, along with more asparagus.  For fruits, we planted honey berries, goji berries, mulberries, currants, Arctic kiwi, 2 paw paw trees, 2 hazelnut trees, a lemon tree and lime tree (to be brought indoors in the winter), and we still need to plant the fig tree.  I think I may have lost two of the four blueberry plants and my Saskatoon blueberry, but I hope they'll come back.    I'm hoping the previous years' plants and trees grow bigger, including the grapes, raspberries, blackberries, apple tree, plum tree, pear tree, peach tree, and cherry trees.  Once these all start producing, we'll have a cornucopia of goods every year.

We did outline a spot for our medicinal garden, but haven't planted anything there yet.  It's an 8x8 area zoned off with wood and we're doing the lasagna gardening style there.  We were unable to get enough compost to start planting there yet.  We hauled two loads on Saturday but then it started raining and they close off the site when it rains, so we'll have to wait for another day.  

Almost forgot - my MIL painted some gourds last year.  Our 3-year-old (yep, she just had a birthday) thought that it would be nice to grow her some more gourds to paint.  We planted those in the hole where Jaimie dug the pit for the Great Plains Style Barbequed lamb.   The birdhouse gourd that she got last year is still hanging outside in the back yard, and the birds yell at me every time I venture near it.

That's our garden report for the end of May.  I'm hoping for more successes to report!

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