Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Is It Food Yet?

I thought for once instead of concentrating on my flowers, I would document my two raised veggie beds, and what I have growing in them. Most of my veggies are doing ok, but with this cold, wet Spring they are growing slowly, even the peas, and at the moment I am rather despairing of ever getting any food out of them.
It was almost too pretty to eat.

Although I do have quite a bit of lettuce, and we have had a few lovely salads already this Spring. But that's it.

 All the pretty lettuces

With the sun we had last week, the peas have shot up, but there is still no sign of flowers. I gave them all a sprinkling of kelp meal. I've heard that encourages flowers.

The little plant in the square pot is a ginger mint -- don't want to put that in the bed

Next to the lettuce is Brussels sprouts. And interplanted between them are some rainbow chard. I don't know how workable that is, but I hope they don't interfere with each other. Also, I think my timing is off. The chard should be bigger by now (I just transplanted it from the little cups it had sprouted in), and if the Brussels sprouts ripen before Fall, they might not be as tasty as they should have been. I've heard that if you can set them up to ripen just as you get your first frost, they turn much sweeter. I've never grown either Brussels sprouts or Swiss chard before. The garden is always a learning experience.

Next to the Brussels sprouts is the herb section. Clockwise, starting with the chives at 3 o'clock -- French tarragon, Borage, Genovese basil, wedding lavender, and flat leaf parsley.

I bet you want to know what wedding lavender is. When my son and his wife got married in 2009, this was the wedding favor.

Last year I sowed the lavender seeds, and the clump is bigger this year. There were also basil and parsley seeds. The basil of course was an annual, and grew last year, but the parsley seeds never germinated.

Next to those herbs are fava beans. If you look closely, you'll see that to the left of the fava beans are three little clumps of lemon basil, grown from seeds that came all the way from Australia, from Diana, who writes the blog Kebun Malay-Kadazan Girls.

There are flower buds on the fava beans, but they are taking their time opening up.

In my second raised bed are the indeterminate tomatoes under the hoophouse (posted about here) but at the end where the plastic wasn't long enough to reach, are two rows, one of Walla Walla onions, and one of leeks.
My three (count em) Walla Walla onions

I don't know why, but I have a devil of a time getting onion seeds to sprout, and once they sprout and are transplanted, they won't thrive. These three have been in the ground since last November, and are still tiny.

I have much better luck with leeks.

Most of these leeks will stay in the ground till next winter, some will be harvested late in the fall/early winter, and some will actually overwinter, and be harvested early next year.

A couple of weeks ago I potted up my determinate tomatoes, and planted them under Walls-o-Water. I'm hoping the WoWs will help them grow faster and bigger.
The one on the end is a Sun Gold (I ran out of WoWs). The Sun Gold is the only one that I didn't grow from seed, I bought it at Fred Meyer. I've heard such good things about it, I wanted to give it a try.

Some of the toms have already reached the opening at the top.

I have four more determinate tomatoes growing in pots and WoWs in the front garden, on the South Side of the house, on top of river rocks. I'm trying them in two different locations, to see if one is better than another. They definitely get more sun here. And I'm counting on that river rock to reflect some heat.

A couple of days ago, I transplanted some peppers (Early Jalapeno and Poblano) into one-gallon nursery pots. I've run out of room in the raised beds, so I'm trying them in pots. I've never grown peppers in pots before, so I don't know if one-gallon pots are big enough. We'll see. I do know that they like even hotter temps than tomatoes, so I've enclosed each of the plants in a little plastic tent.

Back by the raised beds, I have four more peppers, as well as two Partenon zucchini plants, and a pot of Greek oregano, all started from seed.

Well, except for some blueberry and gooseberry bushes (hopefully not planted just for the wildlife), and the rhubarb plants mentioned in my last post, that is all my food plants.

Oh, I have some potatoes that aren't planted yet. That's this weekend's chore. I hope I'm not too late.

Geez! Spring always makes me feel like a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest.


  1. I was excited to see your post. I just planted my vegetable garden in the greenhouse! I'm so excited. In two days the radishes are already sprouted! It was 90 in the greenhouse today and 60 outside. I can see this will boost my tomato productions. Your stuff looks so good and is already so tall. Your lettuce and peas are wonderful. Please tell your son and daughter-in-law that I really liked their wedding favor idea and presentation. Such fun. I really enjoyed seeing your vegetable garden and hearing your stories. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Oh, Alison, you just gave me the best laugh of the whole day, a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest, LOL!. But you're right, this spring is definitely kicking my butt, too.

    Your vegetables are amazing, I wish I could say the same for mine. I went and bought a dozen tomato plants yesterday in an attempt to say I have a vegetable garden in case anyone asks.

    I loved your post about the rhubarb too. We have a huge old rhubarb plant in the Back 40 and I haven't made a thing with it yet this year. Carl loves rhubarb too, but I'm not all that fond of it. We've been married almost 33 years and I have never made him any pies at all, I'm so bad!

  3. Wow Alison, there is a lot going on there, and not a weed in sight - I am envious of that! I have heard about the wall of water - it looks like a continuous watering system - very interesting. I love the interesting lettuce leaves you have in your colander.

  4. One legged man... too funny! Your food gardens look great and I'm sure you're going to have a bountiful harvest.

  5. Your veggie garden looks really good, so much better than what is happening in mine. I've sowed several things twice and barely have anything growing. Of all things the beans are growing the fastest and the peas are inching along. I hope the WoWs work, I may need to invest in some. Hoping we get a little heat and sun to motivate these veggies.

  6. My goodness Alison, you have a lot of veggies! Interesting with the Wall-o-Waters...Once upon a time I had a 1000 sq ft some respects I miss it. We do have a good farmer's market and I have two containers on the deck of tomatoes.

  7. Hi Allison,
    I'm trying to read blogs and watch The Biggest Loser with my daughter. I keep reading parts of your post, then forgetting where I left off. I enjoyed reading about your vegetables. I don't think onions form in one season from seed. I always buy plants. I hope you get lots of peas and other produce. Oh, and your different kinds of lettuce are quite pretty. I like how you had them arranged.

  8. Oh, once that borage starts to bloom you should have lots of bees in the garden! You have a lot growing on! Your salad greens look divine, and I admit sometimes they do look too good to eat when you've grown them yourself. I think you'll enjoy Sun Gold. It packs a lot of flavor for such a small tomato. We only had one disappointing year with it, last year, but all around it was a poor tomato season with the cool temperatures. This year we just ran out of room for one!

  9. Those WoW's are pretty cool! I'd like to try to grow tomatoes from seed. Exciting to see your raised beds, so nice and tidy and looks like if we get nothing else..we will have lettuce! (it's the same down here ;) Cheers, Jenni

  10. I have been fighting mice, deer and chippies for my food. It is a non-stop fight!
    I think your trellis is a very efficient way to grow beans and peas. Nice!

  11. Wow Alison your garden is looking wonderful. Have you tried the red plastic for the tomatoes before? I have been reading that it increases their output.You have so much planted already. I am just hoping that I can get my mini garden dug up this week. I f the weather will just give me three good days without rain. Have a wonderful weekend.

  12. That lettuce is really pretty and I'm sure very tasty. Our lettuces are long gone with the soil heating up to the 80's ... it turns bitter. Looks like you are going to have lots of tasty edibles once that sun decides to hang around a while longer.

  13. Your garden is so organised, neat and beautifully laid out...just perfect! You seem to have a lot of fun experimenting with different ways of growing things...I think you must have been a nurserywoman in one of your past lives ;)
    I always leave here in awe of you and feeling inspired to try harder in my own garden :)


Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.