Sunday, May 23, 2021

Digging in the dirt, Update #3

As my official record-keeping diary for this year's garden,
I will be updating this post with additional information
as I plant, tend, and harvest.
Top to bottom=newest to oldest entries.

May 23, 2021
Wouldn't you know it; after I wrote the update below, our good neighbors on the east side emailed me to say they had leftover white and red seed onions. Did I want them? Why not?

So this morning I walked down, and was handed not only a carton of seed onions (plus a couple of bigger ones) but also some little red (and maybe Yukon Gold) potatoes starting to sprout. I carried them home and set about rejiggering my watering system before planting. My goal is to have set watering lines and soaker hoses so all I have to move is the supply hose; that increases the likelihood of regular watering and decreases the potential damage to plants. Rick had purchased a soaker hose last year that I never pressed into service, so I retrieved that, connected it to the old soaker hose, and turned on the water. Interesting; the new hose releases water much quicker than the old one. Wanting consistent delivery, I disconnected them and gave each a dedicated task. Then I laid out and planted my onion row, which is really an onion "L" (hey, I had to get a little creative with space – I even tucked a few in the arugula/kale row!).

Now my dilemma is what to do with the potatoes. All my water lines and soaker hoses are in use and I am not sure where to plant them. The most logical spot is tucked between the east fence and the first row of bush beans – I think. Stay tuned; this year's garden is getting full! (Weird warping in pano shots but good documentation for me.)

May 21, 2021
Yesterday after work I stopped by the farm store where I purchased my lonely tomatillo plant to get it a mate. Good thing I only needed one, because there was only one left! I also picked up an Armenian cucumber, and sugar pod pea seeds. This morning, I got it all planted.  That will fill up our little space pretty well if everything grows, although if someone offers me some stray starts, I'll find a place to tuck them in somewhere. But no other additions are planned.

I don't think I've ever grown English or Armenian cucumbers before, but since cucumbers have never done well for me here (although better than winter squash!), I figured I might as well try something different. As I said in the comments, this is a kitchen garden, not a pantry garden; if I get enough of anything to preserve I count it a bonus, so I grow cukes for fresh eating and in salads. These are both supposed to be mild with fewer seeds, so that's a plus.

While thumbing through my recipe box looking for my butternut lasagne recipe, I started anticipating my zucchini harvest. I was a little alarmed (my guys would be really alarmed!) when I planted a six-pack of spineless zucchini starts, only to realize I already had a seed packet of three colors of zucchini. Three hills of zucchini?!? Well, I have neighbors who love handouts, and I have a LOT of recipes that feature this versatile vegetable. Breads, cakes, fritters, casseroles, vegetarian 'burgers,' salads, stir-fry, pasta dishes – even candy! And not every year has been a great zucchini year, so three big hills just might be enough for all I want to make with them.

May 18, 2021

I haven't let that lovely tilled garden dirt stay idle for long. After work yesterday I went shopping for starts, coming home with six tomato plants, four eggplants, a pot of parsley and of English cucumber, a six-pack of spineless zucchini (which I wouldn't have purchased had I  remembered the fancy tri-color zucchini seeds I bought 🙄), a six-pack of arugula, and a six-pack of kale. I came home, laid out our water lines and planted about half the starts yesterday afternoon. This morning on my way to ride Stella at the fairgrounds, I picked up a tomatillo, three bell peppers, and some more tomato cages (for the eggplant, tomatillo, and peppers). This afternoon I finished planting all the starts, including the three pots of basil I bought earlier, put in two hills of assorted zucchini seeds and two rows of bush beans – one of tricolor bush beans and one from seed I saved but didn't label, and laid out soaker hoses. The fancy tricolor mixes of zucchini and bush beans I purchased earlier this spring; they looked like fun. There is a row prepped for sugar pod peas and a hill prepped for another variety of cucumbers; I'll buy those seeds on Thursday.

Below are two panoramic shots I took of the almost completed garden, the first taken from the NW corner and the second from the SE corner. Instead of orienting my rows east-west (uphill-downhill), I ran them north-south this year. I also laid out some pieces of 'dryer felt,' left over from covering our horse stall floors, between the berry canes and the tomatoes to reduce weeds, and plan to utilize some more. Both photos also show the baneberries on the south side, the rhubarb (probably ecstatic to be getting watered now!) in the SW corner, and the strawberry patch in the NE corner.

And here are all the things planted (except the basil and the unlabeled saved bush bean seeds) for my own documentation. The only one of these that is for sure an exact repeat planting (besides the saved seeds) is the Redbor kale; I planted it once before and really like it, so nabbed a six-pack when I saw it.

two of these

three of these

That's almost it for the start of the 2021 garden at . . .


Mama Pea said...

Always so much fun to see what others have planted in their garden so you know I enjoyed this post of yours. Matt's Wild Cherry is one that has always given me more tomatoes than I can use. The fruit is small (you know, like a cherry!) but the flavor is wonderful. Your Mortgage Lifter tomato is an old, old heirloom variety with great flavor but, of course, getting full-sized tomatoes (of any variety) to ripen is difficult for me. I'm betting yours will be super. Thanks for this first garden tour!

Retired Knitter said...

That looks like a pretty big garden plot. If everything does well, you will be one busy lady come harvest time.

fran said...

You have been busy. Your garden looks great and will provide lots of food, but not Tomatillos unless you go buy a second one. They do not self pollinate, it takes two and the help of our friendly pollinator insects. Hope you can find it a mate.

Michelle said...

Glad to know that Matt's Wild Cherry is a winner, Mama Pea! I imagine Brian will be willing to take containers of them to work to munch on, so I hope they produce abundantly here, too. As for Mortgage Lifter, maybe that wasn't a good choice. I usually buy varieties developed in the Pacific NW that are supposed to do well with our cooler nights but haven't ever been impressed. If this one is an heirloom, it may do even worse, as we do not have "tomato weather" – or at least, didn't used to!

It's really pretty small, Elaine, and has too many tall trees nearby to get full sun. It is basically a kitchen garden, not one that produces enough for preservation. Now if you want to see a REAL garden, go to Mama Pea's blog!!!

Oh Fran, thank you so much for that information! I will go back to the farm store from which I purchased my lonely tomatillo and get it a mate!

Mama Pea said...

The crazy thing is (which is driving all of us gardeners mad) that our climates and growing seasons and rainfall amounts seem to be changing so much over the past couple/few years that we can no longer predict what kind of a harvest we will get from our plantings! Your Mortgage Lifter tomato may just surprise you, who knows!?

Jeanne said...

Michelle, I'm impressed with your garden and the plans you have for the rest of it. You go, girl! I'm really intrigued by the tri-color beans. I looked closely at the package you pictured. I've never heard of or seen that company. Where is it located? I don't think those are available in our area. They'd be great for #1 daughter and me! She has to be very careful to not eat too many green veggies, so I could eat the green ones and she could have the gold ones. We'd have to see about the purple ones.

On your suggestion, I checked out Mama Pea's blog. It looks like a lot of fun!

May I ask a "dumb" question? What do you use tomatillos for? I've never tried them.

Jeanne said...

Well, I looked up Renee's Garden, and called them, and found out that there is a store in Eugene which sells their seeds. I called the store and they expect a new shipment of the tri-color beans this week. So I plan to check them out on Tuesday!!

Michelle said...

How true that is, Mama Pea! Maybe I'll even have success with winter squash someday!?!

Jeanne, I'm so glad you will be able to get some of those bean seeds locally! I've grown purple bush beans before and really like them; they have pretty lavender flowers, beans that are easy to spot for picking, and produce tasty beans well. But they turn green when you cook them, so I don't know if #1 daughter could eat them. As for the yellow beans, you can buy 'wax beans' pretty regularly. I've never grown tomatillos before but I like to eat them raw, like a cherry tomato, and I know they are used in salsas.

A :-) said...

Do you have some good recipes for Eggplant, Michelle? It's always so bitter to me . . .

Michelle said...

A, I much prefer the slender types over the big, ostrich-egg-sized eggplants. That said, I cut them up and roast them with other veggies, sauté them with other veggies, etc. Here are the eggplant recipes at my go-to site for recipes for any particular vegetable:

wyomingheart said...

Excellent garden! Isn’t it just so much fun to dig in that dirt? Watching those plants pop up from the earth is such a gift to behold! We are In the thick of it, with the new orchard, and our veggies are looking great, too! Have a perfect weekend, and sabbath!

Michelle said...

wyomingheart, I have to admit that I don't always find it fun, but love to grow my own food. And this year I had given up on having a vegetable garden, so getting to plant was truly exciting. And I think I'm (slowly) getting smarter about my watering system to maximize its effectiveness while minimizing my work.