Wednesday, May 30, 2012

End Of May: Garden Update

I haven't posted in over a week, partly because I've had visitors coming and going, and partly because the garden hasn't done much in that week.  I harvested several more heads of lettuce, and some kale and chard that I sauteed up and threw in the freezer for another time.  There are still no ripe strawberries or peas and the anticipation of them is killing me.  I did pull enough lettuce to get my two earliest tomato plants into the garden finally, both are Oregon Spring and one is already flowering.  Sadly it also suffered a bit of sunburn during the hot days a few weeks ago.

Flowers on Oregon Spring tomato.
The garden as a whole is getting rather crowded.  Not so crowded that the plants are suffering, so I think my spacing is okay, but the carrots and onions are starting to get shoved aside by the cabbage leaves.  The good thing about spacing things so closely is that there's very little bare dirt, which reduces weeds, and the shade of the plants helps keep moisture in without needing mulch.  The bad thing is that sometimes your cabbage gets a little overzealous and completely smothers your carrots.

The garden is getting crowded.
 The broccoli are finally getting some heads on, I wish I had enough room to let them keep growing after the main heads are harvested, but I will likely get one large head each and then rip them out to make room for the tomatoes and peppers and cucumbers.

Broccoli head.  It had better get bigger than this!
 Despite the damage done by slugs, we are still swimming in lettuce.  Sadly, because there are no tomatoes and carrots and other such things, and I refuse to go buy them when we'll have some of our own soon... I have been struggling with making salads.  Plus, the lettuce are so pretty!  Especially the ruffly Red Sails next to Salad Bowl and the tall straight green of Valmaine.  All of these varieties ended up being delicious too.  I was very happy with my mixed lettuce seed, except that it was mixed so I couldn't control the proportion of each variety to each other.  I ended up with 2 Red Sails, 4 Salad Bowl/Slo-Bolt (I can't tell the difference!), 6 Valmaine, and like 20 Buttercrunch! 

Lettuces are too pretty to pull... just can't bring myself to do it yet.
 My little boy, Alex, has an amazing green thumb.  He was the one who planted the sunflowers last year that grew over 14 feet tall.  This year he planted some carrots in one of the whiskey barrels.  They are doing much better than mine, though I did have to thin them a bit.  Every day he goes out to check on his carrots and says "They are doin' good!"  He's so excited for them to get big enough to eat after all this waiting.

Alex's carrots.
 My brother informed me that it was way beyond time for me to fill up my potato buckets, so I scooped in more soil to a few inches below the tops of the plants.  I'm still kind of winging it on the potatoes, I just plan to keep them alive this year... I'll work on improving my harvest next time. 

Potato pots, potted kale and more lettuces in the whiskey barrel.
 The pumpkin bed is uncovered, and the beans are putting on their second set of leaves.  Soon enough the entire corner where the pumpkin bed is will be a wall of green, with piles of fresh green and purple beans coming in.
The pumpkin bed; pumpkins, zucchini, pole beans in back, and bush beans.
Finally, my stockpile of canned goods from last year has been reduced to 2 jars of applesauce, 1 bread and butter pickles, 1 pickle relish, 5 jars of strawberry jam, and 1 freezer jam.  Time for the last minute push to get things finished off before the restocking begins.  Guess we'll be eating a lot of PB&J in the next few weeks.  I made a total of 41 jars and frozen 1/2 pints of strawberry jam last year; I'm thinking that worked out to just about right.  Though this year I'll be doing more freezer jams and less canned, they are so much easier.

Soon enough the sun will be back full force and plant growth will take off again!  Can barely contain my excitement!


  1. Who was just complaining because she wishes she had a yard? Heck, I'd love to have my garden that close to my patio! In fact, it used to be all around my patio, but had to be moved to the back to keep it safe from the dogs. Yours is looking great, as is Alex's!

    I'm still eating pickles from 2010, and Mr. Granny won't eat anything but grape jelly so I have to eat all the berry jams...darn, that's hard to take, isn't it? ;-) I do find myself completely out of canned tomatoes though, so that will be a priority this year.

    1. It is convenient having it close to the patio, I just get tired of sacrificing plants because of lack of space. I love that during the summer it feels like I'm sitting surrounded by my own private jungle though!
      We only make strawberry jam, and apple butter, no point making other jams considering how rarely we'd eat them. I ran out of salsa months ago though; I think the rotation I have planned for this year will greatly improve my tomato output, so I will hopefully be making more salsa. I wish I had pickles! I got a grand total of 3 pickling cukes last year. Not even enough to make one jar.

  2. Less weeds is a good thing for me! It looks like your stuff is doing amazing, so I would not think they are overcrowded. I should try planting stuff close together.

    Can you bring your son over to plant some carrots for me? I cannot get any to germinate!

    1. I use the Square Foot Garden method to determine my spacing. The first year I only managed to fit a handful of plants because I had no idea what proper spacing should look like.

      I have never had carrots do well before either. I know they need light to germinate though, so sprinkle them on top of the dirt then sprinkle a little sand over top of them. Mine still had spotty germination this year, but it was better than previous years.