Here’s an update from the vegetable garden! So far things are going pretty good. My tomato frost scare wasn’t as bad as I originally thought and since I have some spares to plant I should come out fine. I saw a scary 39 degrees on the forecast for Tuesday night but I’m prepared with coverings. I’m also starting a few more plants inside from seed just in case. Here’s how the rest of the garden is doing:
The Potatoes are Mounding
Mounding potatoes is a great technique for growing your potatoes with an easy harvest in mind. It does involve a little more work through out the season than just digging the potatoes in the ground. As the potato plants grow taller I add more grass clippings or compost over the plant to make a larger root system for the tubers to grow. The big advantage of mounding the potatoes is that the potatoes lie underneath the mound and it’s easy to remove the soil and get to the potatoes. A secondary advantage is that the straw or grass clippings decay and add to the nutrients in the soil and improve the ground underneath over the course of this year for next year’s vegetables. The grass clippings have been harvested from my lawn which contains no herbicides or pesticides, which I feel is very important. The cool thing about grass clippings is that they contain up to 5% nitrogen to replenish the soil. The grass acts as a mulch and keeps the moisture down near the roots where it is needed.
Zucchinis are both welcome and dreaded. Welcome when you have enough, dreaded when you have more than you can use, more than the neighbors can use, and more than your city or state could use! There are only so many zucchini dishes you can eat before you grow weary of it. Cucurbits could probably solve the problem of world hunger. Despite their prolific nature I’m excited to see these two seedlings. I highly recommend sequential plantings of summer squash and zucchini. If you only have one or two plants producing at one time you can manage them. Remember never let them grow too large! Pick when 4-6 inches long for the best flavor. When one plant begins blooming plant another one to try to avoid the squash vine borer – the squash and zucchini’s number one enemy! It’s really a toss up for me between the borer and the squash bug.
Let us have Lettuce!
And we did! We had a delicious salad last night made only of greens. Three types of lettuce, spinach, and chard mixed with some carrots (unfortunately most of these were not from our garden) and celery (also not grown in my garden).
The red Romaine lettuce had the most flavor.
The green romaine lettuce was good, just not as good as the red.
Little Tom Thumb was a cute little lettuce but took some cleaning as dirt from the rains was all over them. Also the birds have pecked at it for some reason making it’s leaves rather holey. I wonder if the birds were doing us a favor and cleaning of some sort of bugs like aphids, I’ll never now I suspect.
Lettuce Harvest Hint: Use pair of scissors to clip the lettuce leaves, take what you need and let the rest of the plant continue to grow!
Basil and Sugar Snap Peas
My dark purple basil is planted where the sugar snap peas are. Once the peas are done they’ll be removed and the area will be planted with something else. Maybe more squash…or cucumbers…or cantaloupe…
I’ll be sprinkling some more basil seed in various areas of the garden both near the vegetables and in the ornamental gardens. Sweet Italian and Thai basils are regulars but I’ll also be planting a few others. You can never have enough fresh basil!
Strawberry Bed Gone Wild
I’m anticipating a nice strawberry crop this year. The strawberries have gone completely crazy and are filling the pathways next to the strawberry bed. That’s what I get for letting the runners stay put last fall. Once the strawberries have been produced it will be time to fertilize the plants to encourage bushy green growth and more runners. I’m wondering if I need a new place to plant the strawberries – away from the garden. I think I’ll be giving away strawberry plants before too long!