|So how does YOUR garden grow?|
|Written by Chandra L. Mattingly|
|Tuesday, June 12, 2012 6:08 PM|
For some folks gardening is a chore.
For others, such as myself, it's an addiction.
If a spring or summer day passes that I don't visit the big vegetable garden, I feel as if I've missed something.
At home, I sometimes dash into the back yard just to check on a particular plants I've not visited for a day or two. Is the hyacinth bean starting up the fence? Are the scarlet runners blooming yet? And how does that lily smell today? (This happens most often when I'm in the middle of an indoor chore such as dishwashing, for some reason.)
And it's always an event, for me, when that first fruit or vegetable ripens, or newly-sown seeds become sprouts poking through the rich earth.
So what's going on in my garden?
Flower buds are poking up from the bush beans, the Black Valentine slightly ahead of the Top Crop, and I saw the first tassel starting on the early (Sugar Pearl) sweet corn yesterday. Two more plantings, these of Silver Queen, are coming along but won't ripen ears till long after the early corn is eaten. Meanwhile, I'll make succession plantings through mid-July for corn into October.
The sweet marjoram has buds and should be trimmed back for drying or using fresh before it flowers; the basil is still small, as is the parsley. Many of my other herbs are waiting to go in the ground.
The black raspberries are petering out, but the Royalty purple and Heritage red raspberries are beginning to ripen. I've shifted one bird netting to the gooseberry bush, where I've nibbled the ripest berries, and need to shift another to the purple raspberry and the blackberry, both of which are loaded with ripening fruit.
A relative, a husk raspberry, is some ways from ripening and has only a dozen or so fruits in this, its second year at my house. But friends who have a hillside of the jewel-like red Japanese berries have invited me to come and pick.
Back to vegetables, the Nutribud and Premium Crop broccoli are done with the first round of flower bud heads, though they will produce smaller shoots for weeks or months. The Chinese cabbage long since headed up and what I didn't get picked is blooming, but the red and green cabbage are still forming heads.
I have another tray of broccoli and cabbage plants almost large enough to set out, along with some brussels sprouts I hope will have time to produce. And we're going to start a few more tomato plants to go into the homemade hothouse for a fall and winter crop. We've been eating full-size Early Girl tomatoes from there since the last day of May, thanks to my spouse's care of the plants since we set them out in mid-April.
Meanwhile, the tomatoes outside the hothouse are ripening, and I saw a tinge of red on a sweet bell pepper yesterday. Purslane has made itself at home in and around the rows of peppers and tomatoes and in addition to putting the high-nutrient volunteer in salads, I intent to try some steamed, then freeze some if we like it.
This year I didn't bother planting spinach, and have harvested volunteer lambs quarters for cooked greens instead. I miss raw spinach salads, but the lambs quarters are easier to grow - I don't even have to plant them - and they aren't as heat sensitive as spinach and are more nutritious.
Nearby, the leaks, onions and shallots are getting some size, and the garlic has shot up buds. I'll have to remember to dig my garlic as soon as the flowers turn to little bulblets, before the plants die down and I can no longer find them, as they are scattered about the garden.
One end of the garden is planted to sweet clover this year, to provide nectar for bees next summer, and another part hosts blooming buckwheat as a cover crop and bee fodder. Gladiolus leaves provide a spiked row behind the softer foliage of cannas and in front of shoulder-high sunflowers. Across the way, cosmos have yet to bud.
Nearby, the asparagus' fernlike foliage hides a patch of strawberries, all progeny of one plant I popped in the ground four years ago while planting the asparagus. Despite the shade, the strawberries produced plenty of fruit for nibbling this spring. And the amount of asparagus we ate was unbelievable!
This fall I'll have asparagus plants for sale, including the Purple Passion variety. But right now I'm more interested in how other folks' gardens are growing. Who will have the first ripe green beans? Does anyone have ripe peppers yet? Sweet corn?
If you want to share (and brag a little) let me know what crops you have ripening now and in the near future. Drop a line to me at Register Publications, P.O. Box 59, Aurora, IN 47001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and put "garden" in the subject line. I'll share the info in this blog.
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