Thursday, April 25, 2013

Summer Garden!

 After hours and hours of work and driving all over town to find the seedlings I wanted, I have my summer garden almost completely in.  I had to dig up all the beds, work some compost into our chunky clay soil, reset the watering system, and plant the seedlings.  Since I have four large beds and one small one, it took a good long while.  But it's almost done and it looks great!

Here's the diagram, and then I'll list the varieties with the photos below:

Top left, we have spinach (I forget the variety), peas (Progress No. 9), carrots (rainbow blend), two types of green beans (yard-long pole beans and blue lake bush beans), Beit Alpha Persian cucumber and spicy basil.  The spinach will be done soon, and then I plan to put a Juliet tomato there.

Top right is the tomato bed - last year it was top left, but I'm trying to rotate it among the two top beds, which get more sun that the two bottom ones due to neighboring trees.  Here are the heirloom varieties I'm trying this year: Evan's Purple Pear, Indigo Apple, Brad's Black Heart, Costoluto Genovese, Golden Jubilee, Porkchop, Heirloom Pineapple, Lush Queen, Sun Gold (not an heirloom), and Yellow Pear.  I've got three cherry varieties this year because they were such a big hit with the kids last year.  I couldn't find romas (!!!) for canning, so I've got 15 Healthkick and 9 Phoenix.

Bottom right, we still have a row of leeks from last summer, but they'll be coming out soon!  Then we have 18 red Better Belle II pepper plants.  In the center of this bed, a grey zucchini, one of my favorite varieties that you generally can't find at the grocery store or farmer's market.  I'll buy green and yellow ones from the market rather than growing them.  I planted two eggplants this year - should be just enough for eggplant parmesan, one of the few dishes I make with eggplant.  I picked the typical black beauty variety, plus one called Traviata.  If I find a rosa bianca variety, I may add another one, but I'm running out of space ...  Up in the corner, we have sweet basil, perfect for pesto.

In the middle, I have a small round bed with four poles that form a teepee.  I've planted the same yard-long pole beans at the base of each, with the plan to train the vines on strings that I'll tie horizontally to make "walls", leaving one side open for a door, so the kids can go hide in there.  At the moment, though, I've got lettuce growing in the middle and French breakfast radishes and two types of carrots growing around the edges.

And last, the lower left bed.  This one is a bit of a pain.  It has poor drainage, is in the lowest part of the garden, and gets the least afternoon sun, so it tends to stay damp, especially in the lower left corner of that bed.  The current tentative plan is to try growing some strawberries there (I know it's not an ideal location, but the kids picked them out, so I'm willing to give it a shot) and maybe some other less sun-friendly plants (heat-resistant lettuce?).  And on one side, I'd like to put in a sandbox for the kids.  Which will either be a lot of work, a lot of money, or both.  But it would have been SO helpful while I was busy doing all that digging and planting and watering.  I think it would still be useful as I keep caring for the garden with weeding, watering, and eventually harvesting, so I still hope to do it, and sooner rather than later (it's still more than 2 months until their birthday, so I don't know if it would be a birthday gift).  I may start trying to dig it out today!

Happy gardening!

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