The recent rains and subsequent hot, humid weather have caused an explosion of growth in the garden. Although interestingly, I can hardly recognize the amazing growth and changes without going back to look at photos from my “online garden journal” (last month’s entry is here).
Perhaps the biggest transformation has been in the upper garden, where just a month ago, we plowed new land, spread horse manure, rototilled, and then shaped raised beds. This garden is a bit of an experiment, as I really prefer to create garden space without disrupting the soil layers, but tilling a new garden space is far quicker than sheet mulching.
So, a little tour. Starting in the lower right hand corner of the photo, and moving toward the upper left, we have:
- Winter squash and corn
- Two beds of sweet potatoes for winter storage
- Melons, mostly Banana and Ananas, both of which I wrote about here
- Pole beans and peppers
- Heirloom tomatoes, including many of these varieties
- Beets, collards, chard, and zinnias
- Peppers and okra
Corn and winter squash. So far, so good. Last year I had my first run in with squash bugs and squash vine borers, both of which make it really difficult to grow squash without pesticides.
Beets, collards, chard and zinnias. One of the biggest differences I’ve noticed in the upper garden is that my rate of seed germination is MUCH higher than in the lower garden. I’m not sure if that is because water retention is better in the clay soil of the upper garden, or if there are other considerations.
In the orchard, we have harvested our first fruit! This Nanking Cherry, which is a bush cherry native to China, Japan, and the Himalayas, had beautiful flowers in the spring, and in only its second year, has given us a fair crop of delicious fruits! I’m definitely going to be planting more of these bushes, as they are attractive, extremely cold-hardy, and delicious.
Down in the lower garden, beds are so full and lush, and we’re starting to enjoy dinners directly out of the garden. So far, we’ve harvested:
- Basil, parsley, sage, chives, and other herbs
- Garlic scapes
- Salad greens including mizuna, lettuce, arugula, dandelion, lambs quarters, purslane, kale, mustard, and more!
- Broccoli, cabbage, and kale
One of the kids’ garden beds, full of heirloom canteloupe and watermelon. They carefully divided this bed in two (you can see the wooden stick laying in the middle of the bed), so they would know who gets to harvest and carry the ripe melons from the garden!
What’s growing in your garden right now?