June 25, 2008
we had a locavorious dinner last night – fresh peas and broccoli from the garden to go with barbecued salmon and yams, and then 47 strawberries and 8 raspberries for dessert. it has become obvious that i really like to count things. the salmon was a whole chinook (minus the guts), and my husband had great fun making it talk to the kids before i slathered the inside with pesto, wrapped it in foil and threw it on the grill.
now that we’re well into the growing season, i’m revisiting my garden goals and results.
1. Peas: of the four varieties i planted, the Alderman are producing the best and the earliest so far and they’re up over the top of the fence already. We’re eating them as fast as they grow, so i will plant some more now in a cooler area of the yard to produce more for later. i can’t imagine how many i would need to grow to have enough to freeze for the winter – maybe an entire 4′ x 8′ garden box? maybe more?
2. Beans: these (purple, yellow, green) are coming along and halfway up the netting towards the top of the fence. I was most excited about the edamame at the base of the trellis, but these seem to have been mysteriously swallowed up by something. Will replant in a different location. The dry beans (speckled bay, black turtle) are short but leafy.
3. Gourds: I may have gone a bit nuts on the gourds. i have zucchini, various squashes, and three pumpkin plants growing like crazy in relatively confined spaces. They are now long enough that i can try to train them upwards. I looked at building the upright frame outlined by Mel Bartholomew in Square-Foot Gardening (rebar, pipe conduit), but it seemed expensive and complicated. Plastic is strong (right?), so i’m going to try growing them on the same nylon netting i’m using for everything else (it’s attached to the wooden fence). I think i also need to fertilize to sustain their growth.
4. Herbs: my herb bed rocks – i think this is the most successful thing i’ve done this year. The chamomile is flowering, so it’s time to start harvesting for tea.
5. Cucumbers: Part of my master plan was to grow cucumbers and dill for making pickles. The dill in the herb bed is coming along well, but only one sad little cucumber sprout came up and then quickly expired. i made a quick trip to the gardening store to buy some seedlings (twist my arm) and i’m going to plant these today.
6. Carrots: i finally grew some carrots! at least, i can see them lurking – i’m waiting to pick them for a few more weeks. in the past, i have tried and failed miserably at growing carrots (thankfully, my in-laws grow oodles of them every year without any problems and come to visit us with bags of carrot contraband tucked into their luggage). because i was feeling pessimistic, i only planted a few short rows, and now i think the harvest will last us about a week. too late to plant more?
7. Broccoli: planted 6 plants, but should have planted more (we eat a lot of broccoli) and staggered yield times.
8. Cauliflower: is really purple and should be ready to eat in a few more weeks.
9. Greens: spinach, lettuce, etc. are producing consistently. The spinach grows super fast (it’s an italian variety), so i need to remember to plant less of it, but more frequently.
10. Beets, Turnips, Artichokes, Brussel Sprouts: too soon to tell, but growing.
11. Swiss Chard: coming along. must remember to water. the mutant swiss chard is now taller than i am.
12. Tomatoes: after early casualties due to a late snowfall (April! in B.C.!), i replanted and these are growing nicely – especially after i cleared out the potato foliage that was blocking the sunlight from reaching them.
13. Potatoes: i’m still planting them in random spots around the garden.
14. Asparagus: I planted 10 plants far too late in the spring, and then (to add insult to injury), moved the bed a few weeks later. A few straggly shoots came up (and they look so pretty and feathery now), but won’t expect much of anything for a few years.
15. Strawberries: the yield is up to 1 strawberry per plant now (80 plants). These are doing great and i would highly recommend a strawberry patch to anyone trying to get kids excited about gardening. We’re also heading out to a U-pick this week to get a whole bunch for jam and freezing.
16. Fruit: i planted this year for future yields from apple, plum, and pear trees, and a kiwi vine. They all seem to be doing well, except for the pear tree, which has developed raised orange blotches on most leaves. Of the two new rhubarb plants, one is doing well, the other not so much. No sign of the melon seedlings I transplanted. Either they’re hiding or dead.
All four blueberry bushes are bearing fruit, but i think i would need about 20 bushes to meet our snacking needs. The raspberry (2 years old) has lots of berries forming on last year’s canes, and the blackberry (running rampant through the camellias – i keep hacking it back) has lots of blossoms.
And that’s my gardening report for today…