Wednesday, June 15, 2011


On June 10th, I spread the compost that’s been cooking in the bin since the early spring.  It was rich and dark and I top dressed most of the garden, giving a little extra to the giant tomato plants.  The compost bin works well and I turn it every week.  I lift the bin and move to the next spot and fork the ingredients back into it, thereby giving it a good mixing.  The weather has been good with nice sunny hot days mixed with periods of rain, so I’ve had to do very little watering.  Once again, the stars of the garden are the tomato plants.  They are 6’ tall and require a hair cut every now and again.  They are full of blooms and green tomatoes.  I found a beefsteak today that is as big as my fist and still green.  I can already taste it in my sandwich!  No sign of hornworms, but I keep looking for the tell tale signs of eaten leaves and little black poops.  The hot weather crops are starting to take off with the cukes already climbing the fence.  The cabbage looks great and is forming heads.  Hopefully those cabbage moths will stay away (not!).  I’ve been picking the snow peas every day although I don’t have enough yet except to use in salads.  We are still enjoying salad, but I think that the lettuce will be finished very soon, just in time for Swiss Chard salads!  The bush beans and pole beans are doing very well and I think that we will have a bumper crop of beans.  It surprises me at this time of year how little work the vegetable garden requires.  Yes, there is the occasional composting and ripping out the spent vegetables, but all in all, not much work to do.  I generally plant my seeds close together and that seems to inhibit any week growth.  I checked my garden chart and realized that I could probably start seeding my fall crop already (broccoli and cabbage).  I guess I have to determine which bed is going to have the hoophouse over it this winter.  Last  year’s fall crop was planted too late since the garden was producing well into the fall and there was no room to start any plants.  It’s a dilemma with a small garden.  Maybe I’ll put a few broccoli seeds in today and see what happens, problem is, I've used up all the broccoli seeds.  At this time, it might be difficult to buy seeds at the local Agway.  I guess the alternative is to order them online.    


GARDEN: Swiss Chard (wo hh, ds 5/3, 6/8), Spinach (wo hh H 5/10, ds 4/11 & 4/14, B H 6/1), Lettuce (wo hh, ds hh 2/17 & 2/6, ds 5/25), Mesclun (wo hh, ds hh 2/6 & 2/17), Broccoli (T hh 3/1, ds fc 6/15), Swiss Chard (T hh 3/1), Peas (ds hh 3/14, ds 4/11 & 4/14 & 5/3, 5/25), turnips (ds 5/10), garlic (wo), kale (ds 3/16, H 6/9), onions (ds bulbs 4/7), Bush Beans (ds 5/3, 5/10, 5/11, 5/25, 6/13), Pole Beans (ds 5/25, 6/8, 6/15), Carrots (ds 5/3), Parsnips (ds 5/3), Herbs (ds 5/3), Cherry tomatoes (si 3/1, T hh 4/4 & 4/18, dt 5/11), Roma tomatoes (si 3/1, T hh 4/4 & 4/18, tg 5/11), Beefsteak tomatoes (si 3/1, T hh 4/4 & 4/18, tg 5/11), Peppers (si 2/8, T hh 4/11 & 4/18, tg 5/11 & 5/23), Zucchini (ds in pot hh 4/28, tg 5/11), Acorn Squash (ds in pots hh 4/28, tg 5/11), Cukes (ds in pots hh 4/28, tg 5/11, ds 6/8), Marigolds (si 3/1, T hh 4/4), Nasturiums ds 5/25), Zinnias ds 5/6, Sunflowers ds 5/6

si = sown inside
ds = directly sown
wo = wintered over
hh = hoophouse
fc = fall crop
H = harvested
T = transplanted
B = bolted
tg = transplant into open garden

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Lake Placid Lupine
Lobster boats in Stonington, Maine

Or is that a vacation FOR the garden? It seems that whenever we go away and I am not hovering over the garden, it does better. Maybe I have a tendency to smother it with love. But after a week on the road driving through New England, we drive down the driveway and I instantly see how much the tomato plants have grown and what seeds are now popping out of the ground. We had a great road trip up through Massachusetts on up to the Maine coast. We went to Stonington, Maine, which is definitely not a tourist mecca like Bar Harbor, but it definitely is lobster country. Lots of lobster boats out in the harbor and the locals are all lobstermen. Everybody seemed like very hard workers who loved what they are doing. And boy did we eat some great lobster!! While traveling west across Maine, I noticed that lots of people had put in their gardens, but looked like nothing more than flat patches of rich soil. Only thing that seemed to be growing so far was the rhubarb. I did see some greenhouses and hoophouses, but not as many as I thought I'd see considering that Maine is the home of Eliot Coleman who literally wrote the book on hoophouse gardening. I thought that everybody would have a hoophouse. The hoophouses and greenhouses that I did see were nice and green and waiting for the warmer weather. It is such a beautiful part of the country and so diverse with its rugged coast line and mountains in the west. A great area for a road trip. Then we headed further west and on to Lake Placid to check out the Olympic Village. It still honors its Olympic roots and thrives on tourism. Oddly the food served here is heavy on meat and very little vegetables. I guess they haven't seen the new food pyramid (or should I say circle?). Maybe they should think about hoophouses too.  New England is a few weeks behind us weather-wise and so their tulips were in bloom and their lupine were in full bloom.  I've tried to grow lupine with very limited success. 

My garden did survive very well without me and the tomato plants are taller than I am and full of flowers and green tomatoes.  The snow peas are producing and the kale is ready to be cut.  The new Swiss Chard is ready for salads, which is a very good thing since the lettuces are starting to bolt.  It is supposed to be in the 90s tomorrow and it will bolt for sure in the heat.  Some critter or insect ate the strawberries and I really have to wonder why I try at all since so many of the farmers nearby have fields of strawberries ready to be picked.  Maybe I shouldn't devote a bed to something that is so easy to get here.  I'll have to rethink that part of the garden.  The peppers are taking their good old time and look puny compared to everything else.  The squashes are doing well and are starting to really take off and grow up the fence.  We haven't had any rain for about a week and a half, so I watered from the rain barrel today and hopefully that will do until we do get rain, possibly this weekend.  So all in all, the garden survived my vacation and the lack of 'mothering'.