Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Vegelicious Garden Update

I love gardening.  It's recreation,  therapy and a workout all rolled into one with the added benefit of producing delicious, nutritious food just steps away from our back door.  It also evokes fond memories of my childhood and the kitchen gardens of my grandparents.  I can still taste the sweet peas freshly picked and eaten right out of the garden.  We plant vegetables we love to eat that produce for an extended period or have a large harvest that can be easily stored for a long time. To get a head start on the garden, I made a veggie planting plan in January on an excel spreadsheet roughly to scale.  There are online planning tools that are really great if you like something ready made.  I still plant in rows but I plant close together and band sow my seeds.  There is a movement in vegetable gardening to block plant.  That is when you divide your garden in 1 foot squares and plant a number of squares of each vegetable by broadcast seeding the area or evenly spacing seedlings.  Both systems have their advantages.  Below is my Back Garden Plan.

The first things to be planted in early April were peas, onions, kale, lettuce radishes and early carrots.  End of April our broccoli, cabbage and kohlrabi seedlings went out along with carrot, parsnip and beet seeds.   By the second week of May the tomato, bean, sunflower, celery and squash seedlings were in and bean seeds planted.  The basil and cucumber went in late but should be fine.  

May Back Garden

In the kitchen garden we planted crops we most often use as it is just steps from the front door: scarlet runner beans, lettuce, kale, kohlrabi, onions, collards, spinach, arugula, radish, celery, coriander and sunflower (for aesthetics).

May Kitchen Garden

In our herb garden the sage, oregano, thyme, mint and curley parsley survived the winter so we just had to plant some cilantro, rosemary, dill, garlic chives, Italian parsley, lovage and chamomile.

Herb Garden

My strategy was to get the cool crops in early so we could start harvesting in May and early June.  I planned to do a second later planting of another crop alongside the lettuce and spinach since these do not do well in warm weather and will be done by mid-June.  By then the second crop would be ready to take over the row.  I also like high density planting to get more plants in and keep down the weeds.  If your soil is rich most plants can handle it. Here are the veggie gardens in mid-July.

July Back Garden

July Kitchen Garden
So far the plan is working.  By mid-may we were eating early salad greens, radishes, onions and herbs.  In early June we added beet greens, kale, collard greens and zucchini .  We even had beans from the bean seedlings that were ready before the snow peas. 
Now in mid-July we are heavily harvesting beans, kale, onions, garlic  and the last of the peas. Broccoli, sunflowers, tomatoes, squash and cucumbers are on the way.  Misha

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