Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Vegetable Garden Update-May 2010

From In the Garden

It is that time of the month-Veggie Garden Update time and I have to ask where oh where did the time go? It's hard to believe it is the third Wednesday already! Anyone else feel this way? The above chipmunk might be feeling it wishes time would pass quicker. It had the misfortune of getting stuck inside of a cinder block and my trusty best friend in the garden-BJ-sniffed it out. It was a lucky critter to get away but was most scared though you really can't tell it from its picture. I think if it had more time it would've dug its way out but as it was it only made a hole big enough to fit its head into the adjoining hole of the cinder block. The body was on the other side of the partition. Poor thing. Maybe it will move on now. Onto the vegetables...

In this shot you can almost see the entire vegetable garden. There are a total of six beds including the center circle bed (it used to be the banana bed). I do not include an annual/ornamental bed in this bed count, only the beds used for vegetables. Where the bananas used to grow I have planted cantaloupe to hopefully grow on the cedar arbor. You can make out the large cabbage plants also in this bed. They are doing fantastically! Now if I can harvest the heads prior to the cabbage worms taking over I will declare them a success. Some years I can, some I can't. To the left of the above picture are two beds. Let's take a closer look at them.

Lettuce grows the full length of this bed both in and out of the coldframe. The A-frame is in preparation for bushel gourds; which have been sown but which are slow to germinate during the recent cool weather we've been having. Weather in Middle Tennessee has been a bit odd, though I welcome the rain and coolness. Looking through the A-Frame you can barely make out Swiss chard in the far bed. It is about to flower and has probably gone past its prime. I initially thought this was kale. Duh me. My mother pointed out it was chard and then it came to me. Hey, the memory ain't what it used to be. These two beds are on the left of the first vegetable garden picture. This is the south side of the garden but north of mature oak trees.

Here are the same two beds from a different point of view. Note all of the lettuce growing. The lettuce has been absolutely awesome! I purchased a few six packs from my local big box store and also started a bunch of seedlings. We eat the lettuce every single day and it has been the most rewarding vegetable this year (but it's still early). I do think that as the weather warms up more I will be unable to eat the lettuce because the lettuce is already starting to get a bit bitter. Try saying that twice!
There are two beds on the right side of the vegetable garden. The center circle garden is the focal bed but the whole vegetable garden works well for me. It is a bit small and somewhat shady but I still try to grow veggies. Sometimes I'm successful. This first right hand side bed has tons of peas and lettuce seedlings. I grew two kinds of peas. The taller peas I chose to grow are Burpee Super Sugar Snap peas. I used to think I only liked the taller varieties but I'm not so sure now. This variety is delicious! The package said peas will be mature in 64 days. The time is pretty much on schedule and these were easy to germinate though it took a few weeks. The shorter variety I grew is Burpee's Burpeeana Early. The package said the vines grow to 24" and do not need support. I have not found that to be true. Mine are a bit shorter and leaning on the lettuce. They do however produce as many peas as the tall ones. All things considered I think I prefer taller peas in my garden simply for ease of picking (no bending) and the taller variety seems to cling much better to the support.

The bed right next to the pea/lettuce bed contains five tomato plants. Mixed in with the tomatoes are a few holdovers from last year. Can you see them? It is elephant garlic. I will not harvest this garlic until the foliage turns yellow and falls over. I have also sown some marigolds along the outside of this bed for decorative purposes as well as for companion planting benefits. Directly outside of this garden is the Sunny Perennial Border. This border is located on the northern side of the vegetable garden and adds so much to the vegetable gardens without taking away the sun that it is a definite bonus growing the perennials like this.

The two hay bales growing their peppers and eggplant are doing quite well. If the eggplants can survive the flea beetles I should get some good eggplants. Fingers crossed on that.

Other vegetables planted are kuri squash, and zucchini. I planted beans last year but have no plans to do so this year. I never grow corn because I don't have the space and it is just as easy to buy it at the grocery store, though not as good of course.

Some general notes on vegetables. If you desire all season long vegetables you might wish to succession sow cucumbers, beans, corn, and zucchini. I plan to try succession sowing this year. It is not too late to plant hot season crops but it is too late to plant cool season crops. In fact, all cool season crops should be about ready to harvest in a month or so. This includes garlic, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.

How is your vegetable garden doing this year?

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden


  1. I love your vegetable garden. Sorry to say I don't have one. I've grown tomatoes before, that's about it, on and I had strawberries too, but I got sick of some night critter taking bites out of them and leaving them. Grrrr.

    Enjoy all your homegrown food.


  2. Guess what we are doing this weekend? Ha! In the high 70's for the rest of the month and I will succession plant.
    I wonder....did mom bring back some prickly pear?

  3. Hello

    Your vegetable garden is really great! I'd love to have one but I have no space for it in my small garden. After reading this, I feel like growing some veggies. What do you think is the easiest one to grow in planters for beginners?

    PS I saw the photo of your children! All of them are so beautiful! The bride is shining!!

  4. Unfortunately, no veggies for us this I really enjoyed seeing yours. I envy you lettuce. Couldn't I try it when it cools off in fall?

  5. Good Morning All.
    You have a wonderful full garden. It looks so good.
    Waiting for my tomatoes to ripen. Radishes, beets, Kali Rob didn't do anything. I only have 1 squash plant out of 3 plantings. Carrots are still growing. Potatoes are blooming,as is bush beans. Corn may be a bit late & volunteer pumpkins growing like crazy. Swiss Chard is ready to be harvested. Bell peppers are doing their thing.
    Crazy thing, I haven't had Spider Plants for yrs but they came up in the planter that I have my bell peppers in & are blooming. Go figure.
    Have a great day all.

  6. Your garden looks great. We have had good luck with our lettuce this year, although it is now getting too hot for it. Our broccoli just started coming off, but we lost all of our garlic. I don't know what happened to it. Maybe you could give me some tips for the next time. Carla

  7. Tina,
    Your gardens look very good! Many dinners in the making for sure! I've never seen a chipmunk here alive anyway, our cat chases them every once in a while.

  8. Tina,

    You garden is looking good! I think one of these days I'll build some nice A frames for the cukes. For now though I'll stay with my improvised version. I haven't noticed many cabbage worms yet one mine but I doubt it will be long. My parents had a big infestation. My cabbages are still little - direct sowed. I may start them indoors next year.

  9. There's a lot going on in your vegetable garden. Sounds like it's doing well. I have lots of things sprouting from my intense seed planting on Mother's Day. We're eating lettuce and radishes but everything else will take a little time.

  10. I like the way you have the gardens set up for easy access and ease of maintenance.

  11. Awesome Tina - very nice on the eye too - love your stakes. I'm at the point now where I need to start thinking about successsion plantings. My sugar snap peas are almost ready. But my lettuce is creeping along. That's great that you're having such a nice harvest!!

  12. Flowerlady, Taking a wild guess it the critter eating your strawberries is probably the dreaded chipmunk. They loved mine when I grew them. No more. Too easy to go pick them:)

    Dawn, Get it in! I'm looking forward to seeing your huge garden. I'd like to see it in person. One day when I come I'll bring you tons of prickly pear. I forgot to give Mom some. Sorry! How is yours doing? Hers died.

    Sapphire, We are so lucky to have a bit of space for veggies. They sure are nice and easy actually, no pruning or dividing. Yeah! Thanks on the children. Our ceremonies are most different from traditional Japanese weddings and when you posted yours it came at a time my daughter was just married. I thought it a neat coincidence. Blogging is like that to let us know others experience the same things. I like that about blogging.

    Linda, Yes, for sure grow some lettuce in the fall. I'd start it in trays in early August then plant out mid September. It should grow for quite a while. I'll be doing the same so hopefully I'll remember to post on it with my updates. I've been getting busy so I may switch only to the updates so it will be in there I think. I hope:)

    Lola, So wonderful you grow veggies. And what a surprise the spider plants came back. Little surprises are the best!

    Carla, Your veggie garden rocks! Looks super good. Those before and after pics are awesome. On the garlic I plant mine in the fall in fertile well loosened soil. It just does its thing after that and I harvest when the leaves turn yellow and fall over. Not sure what happened to yours but it may make an appearance this fall when it cools off again.

    Randy, We are overrun with the chipmunks even with two hunting cats and four hunting dogs. While BJ corned this one in the frontyard Bella was chasing one in the backyard. Durned things! Part of the problem might be me. I have a rock pile that they like. That and all the plants including veggies keep them happy. Very annoying as these critters are destructive and I can do without them.

    Dave, I think those loopers wait until the cabbage is about ready to be picked them make their appearance. It might stand you in good stead direct sowing yours if they can mature before it gets to hot. The A-frames are nice and don't take long to build. But like everything in the garden we must set priorities and many projects take a back seat. I have several uncompleted ones right now:( See ya Saturday? Your banana is about 3 feet tall. Get a good spot for it.

    GSS, Yum on the radishes! I love those little guys but did not have luck with mine this year.

    Marnie, It's very easy to maintain them. I simply love the bed method and use the French intensive method of gardening. Similar to SFG; which I find to be a bit more complicated. The row gardening method-no way. Right now I am designing a potager that will be my dream garden. My clients will love it! I hope to take pics when it is done but the potagers (ornamental veggie gardens) are so pretty yet functional. Mine is kind of this way but small so I'm limited on what I can grow.

    Hi Jen, Thanks again on the books! Jimmy is really enjoying learning about free running. I had never heard of it before. Yum on the sugar snap peas!

  13. Your vegetable garden looks wonderful, especially with the garden and fields beyond. I must try lettuce and sugar snap peas next year.

    I have a couple of questions: what is the pizza sign, and the little figurine among the snap peas?

    You have such great use of space in your garden. How do those tomato cages work?

  14. Wonderful! We grew leaf cabbage, can't seem to get any type of head veggie to form a head..

  15. Hang on a sec! I remember this spot last year when you were planning to build it. Am I right? It looks great! I spent last weekend digging out the roots of a lavatera that'd died whilst we were away in Malaysia. Man, that was hard work. Amazing, isn't it? JJudging by the flowers, you think that it is a very delicate plant, and yet, it's tough as nails. :-)

    Greetings from London.

  16. Your veggie garden is well on it's way. How is mine doing this year? Uh, I tried lettuce seeds for the first time. Three months later and they're barely showing the first leaves. I think I'm a vegetable garden flunkie. I'll just have to admire yours from afar.

  17. It all looks so good. When I got home my garlic looks about the same but the peas and potatoes are up good. My seedlings that I planted in the house are a jungle so need to get in the ground. Yesterday I did not do a lot but did go around and look at everything. My wonderfull lilacs (hear me Anonymous, wish you were here) are just about in full bloom with the french ones just starting to come out. Apple blossons have gone by. The peonys have good buds and my bleeding heart that Christy bought me is loaded and starting to go by, boohoo. It is raining today and have to go to a function at school tomorrow but then will get in the garden. So hard to believe Heather graduates in a couple of weeks.

    Yup, my prickly pear got winter killed, even with our warm winter.
    However it would have gotten killed when Papa burnt a pile of junk on top of it just before we left. Men!!! I forgot to get one from Tina but she did send me home with many really gorgeous iris, a pg hydranger and a snowball bush, a leaf casting and a bottle tree frame. Quite the haul and all made the trip to 3 stops in FL and then to Maine safely and healthy. I also have a leaf casting from Tina for you and 3 boxes from Lola for you. Long winded I am today!!

  18. Oh Jean -I am green with envy knowing you have lilacs now and mine lasted all of 1 1/2 weeks this year because of the weather. Enjoy them for me:0)

    Tina your garden makes mine look like a childs project, heheehe. Well, okay all the kiddos have helped with the garden this year and are really into it except Boy 1. He isn't much of a yard person -but it's okay -he is signing up for his first college class today, yeah!!! Each child is different just like our gardens.

    My strawberries are really full but I also have a problem with something eating bites out during the night:( And, I'd venture to say it probably is the crazy little chipmunks. I think I might pull out all the plants and just plant some more flowers since we aren't really getting to enjoy all the strawberries, kwim?
    Back to housework -baby is napping. Have a great day everyone, ciao!

  19. Your gardens are looking great. The cabbages are huge looking. We have some bush peas that sound similar to what you have and they have already flopped over too. Between the the birds and the slugs we have had little success with the lettuce this year, I think I'll have to buy some starts.

  20. Sweetbay, The pizza sign says "Bourbon Street Pizzeria" and I think was actually used on a pizza joint there. I purchased it at a flea markt in Nashville and just love the whimsy. The little Raggedy by the peas was a gift from my mother a few years ago. The tomato cages rock! Best $10 I ever spent in the garden. We purchased the concrete wire salvage from the local metal joint and used bolt cutters to make about 30 peony cages and several very tall tomato cages, along with some pepper cages. I've never staked them but I do plan the garden so the tall tomatoes don't get the full brunt of the wind or they might topple.

    Darla, Have you tried Bibb lettuce. Easy peasy.

    ACIL,That sounds like a lot of work. I know you are happy it is done!

    Megan, Don't give up. Just a little more patience and timing maybe.

    Mom, So glad it has all survived! You get to planting. Have fun!

    Anonymous, Too funny. Yup, I think chipmunks. Rascally things. Leave the strawberries. Even with the ones lost to varmits the kiddos must really enjoy those strawberries.

    Catherine, Those peas-I just don't know why they flop even with the trellis but hey. Bummer on the lettuce.

  21. Tina I love that sign!

    Your tomatoe cages too. They look good and sturdy.

  22. I wish I had the amount of space you do to devote to veggies. I could take out an ornamental bed, but nah that won't be happening. ;) Can't wait to see how the cantelopes do on the trellis. I've never grown melons. Mine is doing quite well especially after all that rain we got this weekend followed by some nice sunshine today. It's been cool for May so the peppers are a bit stunted but the tomatoes don't seem fazed in the least.

  23. I'm glad the chipmunk got away safely from BJ! I think they're cute little critters, but then I don't have any bothering my garden either. Your veggies are all looking so good. I had planned to plant sugar peas this year and was worried when I didn't get them out early. Then I went through my seed collection--somehow I forgot to order any peas! Oh well, I guess there's always next year.

  24. Your garden looks like a masterpiece! It's funny, but I do the same thing to keep the bugs away. Pray and keep my fingers crossed! Every once in a while I have to fight the urge to get the can of Sevin out:)

  25. Your vegetable garden never fails to impress me Tina. I think you do an awesome job with it whether every thing is successful or not. I have yet to plant one vegetable (other than the peas I started on St Patrick's Day ~ that are still only 3" high). This weekend we're supposed to get our first heat (86 degrees) maybe that will inspire me?

  26. Hi Tina,
    Your gardens are nice and full. I hope your cabbage plants and everything else produce well. I have rabbits eating my peas and other crops.

    LOL on the chipmunk. I took some pics of a squirrel and cat in our tree that I plan to post Saturday for Camera Critters.

    I put up an update, too. I know you aren't doing links, but I'm thinking you don't mind if I put mine here. Please let me know if you'd rather not have us do that.

  27. What a poor thing. Do you think he got a trauma for what happened? Anyway, your garden is in good shape. So vibrant and full of life.

  28. Hi Jay, Nah, it wasn't traumatized at all. Probably out there munching on the veggies now and conspiring with its buddies to get me back somehow:)

  29. Porr wittle chipmunk... Am sure it has told is story to many other chips by now and they are laughing at it for sure. hee hee...

    Garden is looking great girl and I know you are enjoying the extra sun from the missing nanners....

  30. Hi Tina, those are lots of work you did, very diligent. I am sure the labor pains disappear when the plants are growing healthy, and the reward is nearby when they are about to be harvested. Nice job!

  31. Yum! (um, regarding the veggies, not the chipmunk.) Animals can squeeze themselves pretty narrow so hopefully the chipmunk wasn't really stuck, but, hey, I wasn't there. I still haven't sowed lettuce, I'm not sure why. But some radishes are getting close to being harvested!