Thursday, May 21, 2009

Garden update. My oh my!

I was overjoyed when I checked on my garden this morning.  It is doing so well.  This is my first try at companion planting and at a large vegetable garden.  I can already see a difference in the health and productivity of the plants.  I did not even see tomatoes on the plants a few days ago..they are so big already.

Broccoli with fresh dew.  For some reason it reminds me of a large afro.  I keep picturing a broccoli cartoon character with bell bottoms and an unbuttoned shirt.  And hairy chest.  What? You don't?  Stayin alive,  stayin alive. ha ha ha ha staaaaayin aliiiiive..  Your welcome, now you'll have that song stuck in your head the rest of the day. 

Little yellow summer squash.  Zucchini.
We had this bad boy for dinner tonight.  Oh. my. heck.  How yummy he was with Parmesan and sweet onions and plum tomatoes and lots of butter.  Mmmmmmmmm.  Recipe to come
There is nothing more beautiful than purple beans.  They taste exactly like green beans but are just prettier.  The funny thing is they turn green when you cook them.  Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm.  

As a side note, beans are my favorite thing to eat straight out of the garden.  I will hide in-between the rows and eat them.  Just like when I was 5.  There is nothing...nothing like a bean straight from the garden.  Bliss. Until your children come up like hungry birds. "Can I have one? Can I have one? Can I have one?  I need a better hiding spot.

 It also brings up memories of my Dad. Geez... that sounded like he was deceased or something. How morbid.  No, he is alive and well and wonderful.   Anyway, he had a gigantic veggie garden when I was little.  I am astounded at how he managed it all by himself.  It had to be at least an acre big.  He did it all by hand.  He built a sprinkler system.  He built supports.  He hoed and raked and worked his butt off.  He was and is dynamic and driven and the hardest worker I have ever seen in my life.  I always thought he was strong and wise and invincible.  I wanted to be just like him. He also had a compost, chickens and another garden in the back of the house. The point is, (I always digress) I use to sneak out in the garden and eat green beans.  I thought I was sneaky, smart, cunning, stealthy.  I was not.  He saw me every time.  He was wise enough to let me steal the green beans because they were healthy.  And I wouldn't bug
 him for candy.  He let me think I was sneaky.  Now, I am a hard-core health nut and gardener.  Thanks Dad!  I always get warm fuzzies when I eat fresh beans.

Have you ever seen prettier corn?? No, you have not.  If you have, just lie and say mine is prettier.  I love the red and green contrast.  So beautiful!  And, no, those are not overgrown weeds, they are sugar snap peas.  They are using the corn and some bean poles for support and to help them grow. My awesome friend, Jamie, planted this row of peas.  That is why they are thriving so.  She is the most loving and wonderful person.  They have thrived under her care.  

 The peas provide nitrogen for the corn and the corn provide shade.  They get along swimmingly. Okay, so if you look at the bottom of the picture, those ARE weeds but that's okay.  I'll get to it over the weekend.  The pine straw really helps keep the weeds to a minimum.  Worth every drop of sweat it took to rake up and pick out every pine cone and stick.  Okay, not every stick.  Just don't look too close.  

This is my "first" row.  It has corn, peas, yellow squash, cucumbers and marigolds.  They all get along well and the marigold helps keep pests out.  I planned for 18 inches of space between rows.  That is a good amount of space for me to work in.  I am kind of petite, so getting between the rows is really not a problem, but I did not anticipate how large and full and robust the squash and cucumbers would get.  They were kind of running together a bit.  Next year, I will probably provide at least two feet to give them a bit more room.  The spacing has not affected the growth of the plants, just the ease of getting around them.

The row on the left has beans, marigolds, pansies, corn, okra, peas and cucumbers.  On the right are Blue beans, cauliflower, corn and peas.The row in the middle has corn, peas, beans, and cucumbers and pansies and marigolds.  The flowers are in every row though, so I will stop repeating that over and over.  They are there. Trust me.

Lets see, now we are on the row in the middle.  That has beans and broccoli.  Also, you can't see it well but there is also romaine lettuce toward the end.Beans and peas.  Beans and peas.  Can you tell what my favorite veggies are yet???

The row on the right has beans, peas and red potatoes.  You can see one row of tomatoes poking out.  There is cauliflower and Brussels sprouts in there somewhere.  
Some of my tomatoes.  I have 3 rows of tomatoes.  That is like 30 tomato plants.  I am going to start making my own tomato supports.  The are getting expensive.  I have yellow stripe, big boys, beef steak, cherry and yellow pear.  I love the smell of tomato plants.  I would roll around in it if I could.  There is basil planted between each tomato plant.

There are several more rows to show but it started raining and I did not want to mess up my already deteriorating camera.  I have used the heck out of it.  One day I will tell you of my fantasies of having a Nikon D-80.  Right now, the sticker price just hurts too much and I can not speak of it.  

Just imagine strawberries, spinach, artichokes, radishes, yard long cucumbers, watermelon, grapes, and herbs up the wazoo.  

The garden is really coming along.  


Angela said...

This looks fantastic! We are just getting going in New England ( I popped here from WTM) . This is our big plant weekend!

Angela said...

Question? What are the green sticks? Do you have wire inbetween to support? I need a lesson!

Dart Budgie said...

Camille, I did not realize that we were THAT much of soul beans, FRESH green beans are beyond beyond. Probably my favorite food. They are like "catnip for stephie".

I once grew yellow, green, and purple beans--NUM! (I hated that the purples turned green when cooked though. I wonder if you could cook them in a bit of vinegar to keep the for fabric!)

I also LOVE the smell of tomato smells like summer!

Dart Budgie said...

Oh, one more thing--how far apart are the tomatoes? Sometimes we have gotten away with one cage BETWEEN two plants, so they can each share a side. Also, you might could string up a horizontal string going from sturdy posts and tie the tomato plants up from the top (picture pulling a ponytail straight up).

We are about to plant our upside down tomatoes again. :)