Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Late Spring Garden

It is late spring and we are getting closer to the longest day of the year. My garden is coming along nicely and we are now able to enjoy the fruits of my labour with delicious, local, organic meals. Last night we had boiled potatoes and salad that included salad lettuce, deer tongue lettuce, quinoa greens, chives, parsley, celery, peas and garlic scapes, all from my garden. So delicious, and even more so because I grew them all myself.

I doubled my garden space this year with two more raised beds and I love how I can grow so many different kinds of vegetables this year, including many new ones to me. 

In my first bed I planted beets that I started from seed inside in early spring down the middle. I am hoping that the beets are finished before the squash (zucchini, saucer squash and pumpkin) take over. Very soon I will be putting tomato cages around the zucchini to help contain them and give more space to everything that I have squished in here. 
Beets down the middle, saucer squash, zucchini
and pumpkin around the outside

I planted garlic last autumn. Originally there were five rows of five to six garlic cloves each, but as can be seen, much of the garlic either did not come up or died shortly after. However, the garlic in the far right of the photo, which is from The Terra Nova Sharing Farm here in my community, has all come up and is thriving. I am starting to think that this is due to landrace gardening, in which the most successful seeds from a prior harvest are the most successful in subsequent gardens because they are best suited to a particular growing area. The bulbs that were not successful were all organic but I do not know where they came from. When most of the garlic failed I had lots of space to plant carrots, kale and onions, which in retrospect is a good thing because I was sad that I wouldn't have room in my other beds for these plants. 
garlic, kale, several kinds of carrots, onions

Here is the Sharing Farm garlic close up. There are still some scapes left that I plan on using by the end of this week.
Garlic - can you see the curly scapes?
I made basil pesto with my scapes (and supplemented with some from a local farm) and my own sweet basil. Amazingly delicious! A little pesto goes a long way, however, so I am going to freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays and use in small amounts as needed.
basil scape pesto
My cucumbers did not do well last year so I am trying growing up with a trellis. So far so good, as I have lots of flowers and even some tiny cukes. I started this bed with a variety of greens to harvest while I wait for the cukes to fill in. On either side of the cukes is mustard greens, and so far this is the winner for my husband and myself. It sautés quickly, which brings out the slight mustard flavour. Behind the cukes are salad lettuce, deer tongue lettuce and arugula. 
Cucumbers, mustard, lettuce, deer's tongue,
arugula, more beets, quinoa
Here is one of the many dinners we've had lately with sautéed mustard greens. This time I did them with garlic scapes and balsamic vinegar.

The quinoa is my other favourite. I need to thin them out, but in the meantime I'm enjoying the young greens. Very tasty. It's fascinating watching them grow as most people are used to seeing the seeds but have never seen what the plant looks like. 
Quinoa in the background, chives, lavender and
my daughter's baby tree in the foreground.
Around my beds I have many plants in containers, including strawberries, more greens, thyme, parsley, celery, lavender and rosemary.
My favourite herb - rosemary.
In my last bed I have peas (snow peas, snap peas), beans (dragon and green beans), chard, Brussels sprouts (which will eventually take over in the fall), and potatoes. The peas are coming in like crazy, which pleases my girls who enjoy picking them for a quick snack when they play outside.
Snow peas and snap peas in behind.
Despite growing too much chard last year and finding out my family isn't especially fond of it, I am growing a few plants again this year. I like having chard for sauces and stews.
My potatoes are huge! We harvested our first of the potatoes for dinner last night and my goodness they were so sweet. I hope they last with the way we like potatoes in the summer.
These potatoes are full and tall! 
Of course I had to grow Brussels sprouts again. I like having them freshly harvested for our family Thanksgiving and if there are any left, for Christmas dinner as well. I think cabbage moth caterpillars are eating mine again so I need to deal with them soon. I forgot to cover them with my garden cloth to prevent this so I am going to try sprinkling them with a mixture of baking soda and flour (supposed to kill the caterpillars when they ingest it).
My Brussels sprouts - not looking so good.
Next up I am going to be reseeding several greens to continue my supply through the summer, and transplant my tomato babies into larger pots. I started them quite late this year as we went on a spring break vacation so they are still small and needing lots of TLC. 

I look forward to seeing how this year's garden develops through the growing season!

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