Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Spring Vegetable Garden In Middle Tennessee


Welcome to the vegetable garden update! Vegetable garden? Yes! And I of course have to show you some flowers too because they reside in the vegetable garden (potager). Here we have Carolina Jessimine (aka Gelsimium sempervirens 'Pride of Augusta') blooming on the PVC arbor to the vegetable garden proper. This is the first year it has any bloom of significance and I am delighted. The other side of the arbor has an orange crossvine 'Tangerine Beauty' that is just about to bloom.Look for a post on that arbor and the wisteria arbor soon. To say the 'Tangerine Beauty' is glorious would be an understatement but I'll let you all decide next week.

The radishes are doing fabulously. I"ve actually been able to harvest a few and they are very tasty. The weather this spring has been perfect for cool season vegetables. We've had just enough moisture and coolness mixed with some sunny days that the vegetables are most happy.


One corner of the vegetable garden has a huge old oak tree stump in it. The stump is slowly rotting away and one day this area may be converted to vegetables but for now I have three peonies and a few belacamda lilies growing in it. It looks like the peonies are going to have a great year as well.


Here we have a bed of 'All Star' strawberries along with three Thornless Canby raspberry canes. So far the raspberries have not shown any sign of growth but it is still early. The strawberries are doing well. However; just outside of the vegetable garden along a border I planted several plants of 'All Star' and they have all died. Fortunately I planted another type of June bearer outside as well and they are doing well. I think that cultivar that is doing well is 'Earlygrow'.


The lettuce and peas are doing well. The peas were sown on February 14th. It took about three weeks for the seeds to pop up even with over night soaking. I am a bit disappointed they are not taller but I should still get some peas before it get too hot. The lettuce is growing wonderfully.


The three varieties (four plants) of blueberries are blooming well. I should have a ton of blueberries this summer. The cultivars here are: 'PowderBlue', 'Climax', and probably 'Bluecrop'. There are a few red cabbage plants in this bed as well. The Jimster loves red cabbage.


The onions really REALLY look good. The best ever. I might even get them to bulb. They are gain girth but no bulbs yet.We've eaten the green onions in salad and they are very mild-just the way we like them.


The potatoes are doing well. I planted 10 Norland Red and 10 Yukon Gold potato starts on the 6th of February-right before a snowstorm blew in. Some would say this was too early but as you can see the potatoes are doing fine. The reason I knew I could do this is that if you have ever grown potatoes before and left even one in the garden you know that one potato will sprout when the time is right and will do fine in the garden. I knew my potatoes would too. One note of caution though, if you have an extremely wet site the potatoes could rot. My site is well drained which is what kind of soil you need to have any vegetable. I suspect that by Memorial Day, if not earlier, we'll be enjoying spring fresh potatoes.

By now you should have your warm season crops ready to planted-if not planted. I have planted several 'Better Boy' tomatoes, a few 'California Wonder' pepper plants, and seven 'Boston pickling' cucumber plants. Normally here in Tennessee you would have to wait a bit longer but the soil has really warmed up nicely this year and there are no more really cold nights expected in the near future. The trick will be to put those warm season crops in along with the cool season crops you still have growing.

Columbine grows in a narrow bed inside of the vegetable garden. Alongside the blooming columbine are dwarf purple irises and three 'Sunny' knockout roses that are just getting ready to bloom....

in the garden...

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. Dropped by just to see the onions. You know this is my third year trying to get a decent bulb from mine. The onions I have planted look like yours, huge! Does that mean something is going on in the soil for us? I have loosened the soil around mine a couple of times, need to do it again.

  2. Wow, your vegetable garden is looking great, Tina! I'm amazed how early you can plant some of your vegetables, like the potatoes, but it looks like they are really doing well.

    Once again, I'm getting a much later start on the veggie garden than intended. I've been waiting for my tiller to get repaired so I could till up the garden first, and now we're having one rainy day after another. Looks like my garden will be late as usual.

  3. Wow look at it grow! Your onion & potato crop looks good, can't wait to see what kind of harvest you get. Mine is all planted, kept it simple this year with just tomatoes, peppers, cukes, and basil. Still need to plant some squash & beans though... :)

  4. Too early for any real planting yet here in Nebraska. So cold and wet. Mother's Day is our marker for putting in the garden.

    Your garden looks lovely. The cooler temps have served it well. :)

  5. You have a lot going on in your vegetable garden. It all looks happy and healthy. Do you mulch with the leaves or did those just find their way there on their own?

  6. Fantastic, Tina! Very impressed with your onions and potatoes. I'm so anxious to get going but it's been so slow to warm up here. I have things in the school greenhouse waiting to be planted and forgot to arrange to get them watered over spring break. Scared to see what I'll find the first day back to school....

  7. Our Carolina Jessamine bloomed for the first time this year too, how exciting! I'm jealous of your blue berries, I have two tiny bushes we planted last year and one of them has maybe 3 potential berries. Good thing I'm patient!

  8. Good morning all! After a rough night of storms and no power all is safe here. Whew! I hope you all are safe too.

    Darla, I pulled on the other day and they are looking promising! Fingers crossed for us both. We just need to remember short day ones next year if we don't get bulbs this year.

    Rose, I'm always so happy to have rain but it can be a bummer to slow you down. It has been a rainy spring this year. Perhaps a late start will mean a better than normal garden this year.

    Racquel, You are ahead of the ball game. Keeping it simple is never a bad thing.

    Nancy, Mother's Day is such a perfect marker day for vegetables. Normally that works for us too but for some reason we warmed up too fast. I hope that is not a precursor of the summer. Loved your post this morning. So sad yet well written.

    GOSS, The leaves found their way there but I have since raked them up and used them to mulch the beds. I also had two hay bales left over from two years ago and used that too. Gotta have a good mulched vegetable garden here so I always use what I have on hand. Leaves are a fantastic mulch and amendment.

    Jen, It's slow to warm up there and we are sweltering here. Weird spring indeed. I'd like some eveness one year-preferably cool eveness. I hope you can get going soon.

    Stephanie, Hello and welcome all the way from Florida. It's nice to meet you! Your gelsemium looks fabulous. 3 berries on newly planted blueberries is a great start. I think that's how many I had my first year with my blueberries. You have only good things to look forward too!

  9. Fun seeing what you have happening in your garden now. Still too early here for warm season crops, probably will be June til I can plant the tomatoes outside. Hopefully I can keep them alive that long :) I haven't had luck with onions or garlic and am crossing my fingers this year.

  10. Great pictures! I'm on holidays but just popped in to admire your spring photos. They're always inspiring.

    Greetings from London.

  11. What a great collection of edibles for your garden. yummmm. I have seedlings of a cherry tomato and one bush tomato in a pot on the deck. Then of course all my herbs. I might try those radishes that Randy spoke of...French Radishes, not quite so hot.

  12. Oh My, you have so much going on with your veggies! Look at those radish growing in the bricks! How will you harvest those? I plant some tomato plants, dill and basil. The dill is for the caterpillars as they love the stuff. Chives came up from last years planting. They have bloomed and I am wondering, Are chives edible after they bloom? I spotted leaf lettuce coming up from last year as well. Not sure there will be enough to eat and with our hot spring, I am sure it will be bitter anyway...

    We are lucky as we have tons of wild Jessamine growing along our fence on both sides of the house. I dont get to enjoy it on the East side of the house as it is so far away. As we drive down the driveway, we enjoy it though. The Swamp Jessamine I planted last year is doing great though. Bloomed like crazy and is now finally starting to climb the gate of the garden...

    I will have to water today as things are drying out with us missing the last batch of rain. Expecting pop up showers the next 2 days but I cannot always count on that so must sprinkle some water on a few things just in case. And today there is a bit of humidity in the air. YUCK…..

  13. Lucky you with all that stuff. Last year I had peas and potatoes growing but this year I have not even been able to get in the veggie garden. Too cold and wet. Mine will be late for sure this year. More rain today, darn it

    I love radish and they are so easy to grow and I mix carrots in with them as by the time the radish are gone the carrots will be up. Saves some space and keeps the weeds from getting ahead of the slow growing carrots. This winter I have seen 2 or 3 recipes for fried radish so am looking forward to trying them. Never ever would have thought to try fried radish.

    Tht first picture is beautiful!! It could almost pass for okra.

    Skeeter I sure wish I could send you bunches of rain, cause we sure have had plenty.

    Anonymous I hope you read this post, did you catch the wisteria remark?

  14. You are leaps and bounds ahead of us seasonally. Your lettuce looks so darn tasty. Enjoy your bounty!

  15. Wonderful veggies! I grew some lettuce and some herbs in a pot here in Tally, and the garden at home gave us lots of peas and collard greens. I'm hoping to dig some taters before the renters move in, but I guess they're going to benefit from the blueberries, blackberries, and plums. Good thing is, the property manager told us they like to garden. That makes me feel much better about things.

  16. Tina, your garden looks great. I wish I could come for a tour! I have planted my seeds that you gave me. I'll keep you posted on how they are doing. My peonies look like they are in the same stage as yours. We should have some blooms before you know it. Hope you are all doing well! Tell the guys "hello" for me. Carla

  17. Everything looks great! My beets have sprouted but are still teeny little seedlings. I had blueberries years ago till they were wiped out by a helpful teenager with a wheelbarrow!

  18. Evening All.
    Tina your garden looks wonderful. So many veggies. Hope you get loads of produce.

    It has turned off very hot here so doubt my veggies will do any good. The corn still looks good. Even had a compliment on it. I've never been able to grow onion bulbs either. I keep trying. I'm eating strawberries. Discovered briers in Back Corner Garden are Dewberries. I've been eating them too.They grow close to the ground. Haven't seen them since I was a kid. Don't know where they came from.
    We got a little shower this afternoon late. We sure needed it.

  19. Tina your garden is looking great, both the vegetables and the flowers! I always enjoy visiting your blog.

  20. PS You've inspired me to do a post about my hit-and-miss vegetable garden. Can't wait to see 'Tangerine Beauty'! We have wild Crossvine here, but now it's so high up in the trees it's kind of hard to see.

  21. Wow what a veggie garden you have. It looks like you're going to have an amazing crop. I'm delighted by your blueberries. That's something we don't grow much around here. Happy spring to you!

  22. I meant to tell you Tina about what my "new" neighbor did. He built {or had it done} a nice big area for a garden. This spring he planted red cabbage & it was doing good. I looked out there one day & he had pulled it all up & threw it to the side upside down. I said I wish I had know about it & I would have taken it. Such a waste.

  23. Lola, Maybe it had worms and he didn't want to fool with it all.