It is all coming together nicely. If you'll remember, I reworked this whole vegetable garden last fall due to it having to move. I added brick paths and built raised beds. So far this method has worked great, but I am stopping short of calling the design a complete success until I see the summer vegetables come in. They tend to overtake all in the vegetable garden-with barely any room for the gardener! So we'll see then if it is still workable. Vegetables do have a tendency to grow into paths, but I want to be able to walk comfortably. Two years ago while checking on the vegetables I brushed up against some foliage and was stung by a saddleback caterpillar. If you have never been stung by one consider yourself lucky. The sting was EXTREMELY painful. Like pouring boiling water on my skin. The bad part was I walked back through the area to find out what it was that stung me, and got stung again! I found the culprit and killed it. Be careful of saddleback caterpillars and foliage in the paths. To be fair to the vegetables, the saddleback caterpillar was on gladioli foliage that stuck out too far. I am not sure if vegetables host these caterpillars but be careful.
Here are the tomato cages with small tomato plants planted within each of the four cages. I have decided to downsize the number of tomato plants I plant this year. I usually grow about 6 or 7 plants but I get a bit overwhelmed with freezing all the tomatoes in the summer. It is SO hot that I don't want many tomatoes around so as to not to have to put them all up. I can't seem to give them away fast enough either, as I have certainly tried that route!
Here is a picture of some of the broccoli. Since this picture was taken and this broccoli harvested, the amount of broccoli flowers have doubled. The more you pick the broccoli the more it produces. No loopers have shown up this year. Yahoo!
Here is a picture of the broccoli growing in its bed. I have been able to harvest this broccoli in amazing amounts this year. I am trying to restrain myself from pulling it while it is still producing. I have a bad habit of doing this when the summer vegetables start growing in, but it is kind of silly since the veggies are giving me so much fresh food. This bed is double planted. There are three pepper plants and one eggplant planted in between these broccoli plants. Skeeter posted about her vegetable garden and has a great picture of an eggplant.
The below pictures show two beds across the path from one another. The first picture shows the rhubarb, companion planted with basil. I seriously lack space to grow all the vegetables I want to grow, so I overplant and double plant every square inch I can.
The picture right next to the rhubarb shows my sweet little red cabbage plants. To see what they initially looked liked when planted, click here. They have grown like crazy. They are planted closely together. I believe in planting very closely together so that when mature, the leaves of the plants just touch on another. This method ensures the ground is covered and shaded, thus reducing and even eliminating weeds. The soil in the vegetable garden is amended well with plenty of homemade compost so it can support the needs of the vegetables. You can see the outline of my banana bed just past these two beds in the pictures. The banana bed is edged with round concrete forms that look like millstones. The circles are all partial circles and not complete. Does anyone know what these things were originally used for?
Lastly, a picture of the long bed looking north to the house. You can see the A-frame, an indispensable part of my vegetable garden. Under the A-frame are the 100 or so onions I planted back in February. Growing on the A-frame right now are peas. They are interplanted with gourd seeds. The gourds will overtake this A-frame, and one other frame soon to be built. The gourds overtaking the peas will work out perfectly because the peas will be finishing up about the same time the gourds come into their own. I hope the gourds will shade the onions and lettuce growing under the A-frame. The shading may help to keep these cool season crops a bit cooler, thus increasing my chances of growing and harvesting lettuce and onions all summer. Just off to the right of the A-frame are my bananas, aka Musa basjoo. The bananas are growing well. Another winter with no problems.
Vegetables are coming in fast and furious and I find spring is a big month for vegetable gardening. The busy time comes with planting the summer crops while managing your cool season crops. The month of June should see most cool season crops finishing up and the warm season crops taking over. Once this happens, maintenance is the word. July and August will see you simply picking the vegetables with some watering if we have another drought. Let's hope not! Happy vegetable gardening to you all.
in the garden...