Thursday, June 14, 2012

Vegetable Garden

After living in our house for one summer, we decided to build a couple raised garden beds on the south side of our garage for growing vegetables. The area we chose was an awkward nook that was separated from the rest of the yard, and it used to be the sunniest spot in the yard (although the trees in our neighbor's yard keep getting taller so it's less than an ideal location these days). We built two raised beds and added a lettuce table the next summer. I rotate which crops go in which garden bed every year - this year we have tomatoes, peas, and cucumbers in the closest bed, and green beans, jalapeno peppers, radishes, carrots, beets, rutabaga, and a pumpkin in the other one. I've never successfully grown a pumpkin before, but I've also never planted one in my raised beds, so we'll see how that goes.


Since the weather was so warm, I planted my vegetable garden a bit early this year. We started carrots, radishes, lettuce, beets, rutabaga, and peas from seed back in April, and added the tomato and pepper plants, I had started inside, a few weeks later. Cucumbers, green beans, and the pumpkin went in a couple weeks ago.

Tomato

I started my tomatoes and peppers from seed back in March. Usually I end up with huge plants by the time I transplant them to the garden, but this year they stayed small. The potting soil I used did seem a bit heavier than normal, but they've been in the garden for a few weeks now and seem to be doing fine.

Heirloom Tomato

Most of my plant markers are beginning to fade in the sun. Anyone know how to make Sharpies fade resistant?

Sugar Snap Peas

For the first time ever, I got peas before the plants started to wither and die from the heat. Abe loves going out to the garden to check for peas. I wish they lasted all summer long!

Tomatoes

If you can't tell, I love tomatoes. This year I planted 5 different types - Hillbilly, Aunt Ruby's German Green, a few Romas, a Chocolate Cherry, and Warren's Yellow. We mulched them with compost from our compost bin. Haven't done that for the last two years and I think the tomatoes suffered because of it. The last time we used our compost, the tomatoes were unstoppable!

Cucumbers

Over the last few years I've noticed that I either end up with tons of huge cucumbers or none at all. I'm hoping this is a good year for cucumbers.

Carrots

I planted tons of carrots because Abe loves them, and after watching an episode of Curious George, where George plants carrots, he's been asking me if every weed he sees is a carrot. I think he's really excited about them. I should really thin them out though...the carrots and the radishes. Actually the radishes should probably just be pulled out and replanted. I think I missed my chance to thin them. Probably because I hate thinning plants even more than pulling weeds.

Green Beans

I've always want to grow enough green beans to make pickled green beans, but I never do. If my radishes die off maybe I'll plant more beans, then this year can be the year...

Lettuce

We've been eating homegrown lettuce for a few weeks already. It's so much fun going out to the garden to find what I can throw together for a salad. Lately I've been adding herbs and edible flowers. Chive blossoms are delicious!

Marigolds

So a friend once told me that marigolds will keep rabbits out of your garden (apparently they don't like the smell). It's a total myth - rabbits go wherever they darn well please, but the marigolds are cheerful (and the flowers are edible) so I planted a few in my tomato bed this year.


I love working in the garden, although it never hurts to have a little help(er)! He kept asking for seeds so I gave him the only ones I had left...corn. Maybe next year we'll make him a little garden bed of his own.

So...how does your garden grow? Any favorite vegetables we should try? I'd love to add another bed in the empty area we have, but it's so shady. Are there any fruits or vegetables that do well in the shade?

6 comments:

  1. Your veggies are looking great! My tomatoes are also suffering this year, I think it's the crazy weather. This time last year, they would be 3 times the size they are now :( Same with the chillies...
    Tried courgettes last year but they had so much trouble with mildew that I gave them up.
    You have a very cute and interested little helper :)

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    1. You'd think the tomatoes would LOVE this warm weather. Now I'm just hoping all the rain we're getting doesn't kill them off!

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  2. We planted our garden a few months ago and are now getting a trickle of plants. We've had a handful of yellow squash and zucchini, and I'm hungrily waiting on our tomatoes to ripen. Here's our garden this year: http://www.tatumgreatindoors.blogspot.com/2012/06/garden-30.html

    I plant marigolds because (a) it attracts bees that pollinate our squash and (b) it's our town's official flower. :-) And they're beautiful! I hadn't heard the myth about them keeping rabbits away.

    Erin @ The Great Indoors

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    1. Your garden looks great! Wish I had room for that many tomato plants. :-)

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  3. Hi

    Just happened upon your blog and this post, so I might be a bit late, but if you'd still like an idea to keep your permanent marker/Sharpie writing from fading, here you go;

    -Try painting over the writing with some clear nail varnish.
    -Or, if you have quite a lot to cover, maybe a clear lacquer? I usually use the spraypaint type, quick and easy.
    -Clear craft glue should also do the trick.
    -Another cheap and more natural way is to use egg whites. Some people even use this method to seal their wooden instruments, it dries nice and shiny and looks like lacquer. They were also used as an additive to mortar in medieval times and as glue in some applications until fairly recently.

    The best way to prepare it (although I'm sure that, for your purposes, you could use the seperated egg whites "as is"), is to whisk it up until frothy, then leave it overnight to "render" or "distil" in a bowl or strainer. The watery liquid at the bottom is what you need to use. You can also add a little vinegar to it (an old-school photography trick), to help prevent any mold growth. I'm not sure how it holds up in the long term to the sun though.

    While baking, I often find myself left with a bowl of egg whites that aren't needed, and I always feel the need to then make meringues or something so as not to waste. So this is a great alternative :)

    I work with props on movies, and I use these methods all the time for all kinds of things because they're so simple and easy to use. And most of the time they do a better job than any expensive, fancy sealant or lacquer.You can make a cheap replica artwork look like the real thing.

    I've gone way overboard with the info, but I hope it helps :)

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    1. I'll have to try that next summer. Thanks for sharing!

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