Archive for the ‘Spring Gardening’ Category

The weather has been cool and rainy, great for lettuce in the garden. I’ve enjoyed many lettuce harvests so far, but have one small problem—slugs. I began to notice small holes in the leaves, and found them crawling during a recent lettuce washing. YUCK!

In addition to lettuce, slugs also like beer, which kills them. So one evening this week, I made a little “fine dining” experience for them, hoping it would be their last meal. I put out a few small containers of beer and the next day found 14 drowned slugs, each about 1/2″ long. I did a second round with the beer, and caught only four, so I think they’re mostly gone.

beer_for_the_slugs

Meanwhile, other garden happenings include a workday we had a few weeks ago to spruce things up. The community gardeners got together and mostly pulled weeds, planted flowers and did general clean-up. We got a lot done in a short amount of time!

community_garden_workday

We added a bee house on the east end of the garden. The bee house is for solitary bees, which are unlike honey bees. They do not live in colonies and do not make honey. But they are efficient pollinators of small gardens. They usually seek out cavities in untreated wood, but we’ve provided a small home for them, hoping they’ll stick around.

bee_nest

What else is happening in the garden? Snow peas, and the harvest is good! So delicious, I can eat them right off the vine. So far, I’ve had them in a vegetable stir fry and have also enjoyed them raw in a salad and as a dip with hummus. I will definitely grow these again next year!

snow_pea_harvest

lovely_snow_peas

And the strawberries will be ready soon. I put a little hard-wire over them, hoping to keep the deer away. (See The Deer Ate My Garden, last year’s post.)

spring_strawberries

Finally, I bought only 2 tomato plants this year, because I am fortunate to have 3 volunteer plants (photo of one below) which came up from last year. I’m told that most likely, they are cherry tomatoes, as they frequently re-seed themselves.

volunteer_tomato

Happy Spring!

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted, back when there was snow on the ground. Much has been happening in the garden since then! On a nice day in early March, I got out the shovel, went down to the garden to loosen the soil, and added new material from our compost bins. (Love those compost bins!) Then on March 10, I planted snow peas and spinach:

Planting_Snow_Peas

Weeks went by and I saw absolutely nothing come up out of the ground, not even the slightest little hint of green. I grew concerned that I may have started things too early, because we had some very cold temperatures and flurries during that time. So I planted another row of snow peas and more spinach. Then as you might have guessed, here is what popped up from that first planting:

Peas_Close-Up

I was very excited to finally see those little pea buds! I went to work on making a simple trellis of wood and twine. Since I will now have TWO rows of snow peas, I’ll install the other trellis soon for that second harvest. (Good thing these are inexpensive to make.) By the way, the second planting popped up much more quickly than the first, in just two weeks! (Although just a teeny bit of green is peeking up right now.) The plants are expected to get 28″ and the trellis is about 34″ tall:

Pea_Trellis

I guess the lesson learned about not thinking that first planting would come up is: 1.) I need to practice more PATIENCE and 2.) That’s probably why they call them SNOW peas. Duh! Oh, and the spinach is fine, too. So I will have two harvests of that as well.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the garden, the garlic I planted in the fall is coming along nicely. This variety of garlic, soft-neck, does not grow scapes like the hard-neck variety. I grew some of the soft-neck last year (see photos here) and loved it:

Garlic

And, some really great news! One of my four strawberry plants survived the deer attack of last summer (see that post here). The other three strawberry plants were mowed to the ground by Bambi and friends, but this one survivor hung on and will hopefully produce this year. I will have to devise a way to make it deer-proof.

Strawberries_survived

Finally, I’ve decided to try growing broccoli. I cheated and bought two little starter plants, and we’ll see how it goes! From seed, I’ve also planted kale, Swiss chard, onions, beets, and lettuce. I’m so excited spring is finally here! YAY!

Brocoli_Start

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Astilbe

Last weekend, June 2 and 3, was the annual East Row Garden Walk in my neighborhood. Eight residential gardens were on the tour and our community vegetable garden was also featured. It was a lovely tour with very inspiring gardens!

On the tour I bumped into Christine, my garden neighbor. Above we are standing next to our respective vegetable gardens. She has some beautiful asparagus and is also growing ground cherries. We sampled some of my strawberries, checked progress on the tomato plants, and then she went to work as a greeter on the tour.

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It’s cross-over time in the garden, when the early Spring crops are ready for harvest, and the warm-weather plants and seeds go in. So there’s a lot growing in a small space right now! I’ve been enjoying lots of wonderful lettuce but we’re expecting 95 degree heat this weekend so it may not be around much longer.

The lettuce is “cut and come again” so I’ve had a continuous supply of lettuce for weeks.

The seeds were a “gourmet blend” of Flame lettuce, Salad Bowl, Grand Rapids, Oak Leaf and Red Salad Bowl.

Also in the garden—strawberries!!! I’ve been thrilled with all the strawberries I’ve gotten this year. Last year, which was the first year I had the plants, the yield was low. But so far this year, I am usually able to pick a small handful each time I go to the garden…just enough to put on my cereal for breakfast. These are red and juicy all the way to the inside. They are so sweet and delicious, sometimes I can’t help but eat them before I leave the garden.

This variety is called an “Ozark Beauty,” an everbearing strawberry plant.

The everbearing Ozark Beauty should produce berries all summer, until frost.

As kind of an experiment, last Fall (around October) I planted a couple of garlic cloves in the garden. I wish I had planted more, because this week I pulled up a lovely head of garlic that I can’t wait to try. I’ve read that you can begin eating it right away, or wait until the garlic “cures” by hanging it up for a few weeks. Since I harvested two heads of garlic, I think I may try it both ways and see which tastes better. This Fall, I’m planting more of these!

I wish I had planted more of these! Usually if I recipe calls for garlic, I double the amount.

Oh yeah, this will keep the vampires away.

Now, if only the basil was ready to harvest, I could take some of this garlic and make pesto! But the basil was only just recently planted. Also in the garden, there is swiss chard, onions, fennel, okra, 4 varieties of tomato plants, beets, red peppers, and kale.

This week I plan to go down and spruce up my garden plot a bit, because next week we’re having lots of visitors! The East Row Garden Walk is June 2 and 3 and our community garden is a relaxation stop on the tour. Come to Newport, KY and check out all the lovely gardens!

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The new section of the garden with its finished path.

The community gardeners got together to complete the path in the new section of the garden. It was our second workday of the year and when we arrived there was an enormous pile of wood chips that had been dumped in the street. It looked overwhelming at first but we got busy fast with wheelbarrows and buckets and got this done in less than 2 hours.

Yay team!

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The Patricia radish is long rather than round

Last night I walked down to the garden and saw some lovely rosey-pink radish crowns sticking up out of the ground. Only 25 days from seed to maturity, and these little guys were ready to harvest. I planted the seeds on March 18, so they were really ready to be picked. There are more to be picked from this planting, and I did a second planting on March 29, so I should have more in another week or so. Succession planting is something I did with the beets as well, so that I can enjoy a few harvests of the same crop at different times.

This photo was taken March 31, almost 2 weeks after the first planting. I found it helpful to mark the planting date on the identification stick to know when to harvest.

While I was down at the garden, one of my garden neighbors was also harvesting radishes. He grew a white radish, and suggested we do a little trade, which was fun. Next year I may try this variety, a white icicle. It has a different flavor, not as mild as my radish.

A white icicle radish is mildly pungent

Tomorrow we have a community garden workday scheduled to lay down mulch on the paths around the new beds. There are lots of things growing and excitement about the garden! There is lettuce, mustard greens, kale, cabbage, peas, beets, garlic, broccoli, swiss chard. We’ve all noticed that the warmer temperatures this spring have affected things. Some of us cannot get spinach to grow, even after planting seeds more than once. It must prefer a cooler spring.

Early spring in the community garden

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