This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. But Skippy always stood by me and was a great friend. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps and garden with me. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees and berry bushes, chickens and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Friday, June 29, 2007

summer

daylily
A row of common orange daylillies (Hemerocallis fulva) grows along side my vegetable garden. Its bright blossoms are a true sign of summer. Last year they opened on June 29th. This year exactly the same timing!

veggie martini's

veggie martini
martini's for three chair
Another true sign of summer is a fresh garden martini! Especially ones that are shared with friends and family. Aahhh. Cheers to a bountiful harvest.


Topic: martini!

pretty peas

peas up close
peas in a pod bowl of peas
I harvested a little crop of green peas and made a few nice servings for my summer guests. This is probably all I will get from my back row of pisello nano peas. It is a short variety. (I thought they would be tall and produce more - but they only climbed 1 foot up my 4 foot trellis.) Though I'm complaining a little, I've actually I've never had such a good pea crop, so I'm very pleased.

Pisum sativum

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

what's growing where

garden with labels
Here's what's growing in my garden right now.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Skippy's vegetable garden

garden june 25 2007
skip checks  out the garden
A couple of shots of my garden. Everything is growing like crazy. The pink rose on the fence, Dorothy Perkins, is at its peak. All of my spring veggies are producing well: The peas are ripe. Lettuce is delicious. I'm also adding cilantro, arugula, parsley, dill and garlic shoots to out salads. I see from this photo that its getting a little yellowish so I'll fertilize today. I want to make sure the summer veggies ripen soon.

aerial views of my home vegetable garden

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

local community garden

BCG
BCG7 BCG5
BCG4 BCG1
BCG9 BCG12
BCG19
Skippy and I visited the Belmont Community Gardens yesterday. What a beautiful place to walk through! All of the plots are so interesting. One of the first times I've been to a community garden and seen gardeners working. I learned several things:

1- My fava beans are WAY behind where they could be. There was one plot with tons of nearly ripe favas. Awesome! Two plots had favas; both were planted much closer together than mine. One had two foot tall flowering plants like mine, but the other's were 3-4 feet tall with nearly ripe beans. Maybe a different variety? I wonder if they started them indoors?

2- It seems like a good idea to focus on a few veggies that work well for a plot. I should try to be more selective next year.

3- Cabbages are beautiful!

4- There are very few honeybees around here this year. I saw many last year, but only ONE this year off in the choke cherry trees.

5- Beautiful patches of 6 foot tall peas. Like my 2 foot tall peas, they are just now ripening. I'll look for taller peas next year.

6- My tomatoes look as good as any, I think.

7- Several patches of very nicely hilled potatoes.

8- One plot used plastic around the cukes and squashes. They looked great.

9- I wonder if I could get a plot? I'd grow half potatoes, half carrots, and half squash. I'd grow the greens, peas, beans, tomatoes and herbs in my home plot. Just a thought..... These plots have a lot of sunlight. More than me. Hhhmmmm.

A slide show of all 22 photos I took at the Community Garden is here. (set it to fast in the lower left corner)

communitygardening
Belmont Victory Garden

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

chili pepper blossom

chili pepper blossom

Capsicum

no scapes :(

garlic stems
garlic bulb garlic 2 garlic 3
I keep checking my garlic for scapes, since I read about them on many gardening blogs and I see them now at the Farmer's Market. This is the first year I have grown garlic. Last fall I planted some of my commercial bulbs from the local supermarket. Sadly, no scapes. I quess I have "softneck garlic".

As Farmer MaryJane explains: Commercial garlic growers from warmer climates (for example, in Gilroy, California) use "softneck" garlic varieties that are readily machine harvested and do not produce scapes. Garlics that are well adapted to colder climates (also known as "hardneck" or "topset" varieties), which also store better and peel more easily than softneck varieties, do produce scapes. Garlic growers cut scapes to enhance bulb growth. The scapes are usually discarded, but recently their value as a unique food has been discovered.

Another new thing for me! I'll have to order some topset garlic for next year.

I did dig down to look at what's going on underground. There is a little garlic bulb forming - that's good news. And yes, those are my fingers - dirty as usual.

Allium sativum

Friday, June 22, 2007

summer squashes

sunburst summer squash
This year I have planted several types of summer squash. In early May, I planted seeds for Casserta, Sunburst and zucchini. The Casserta never sprouted and neither did a second seeding in potting soil several weeks later. The zucchini (Cashflow) came up fast and the Sunburst (a green and yellow colored patty-pan shaped squash) was slow but eventually sprouted. I purchased some plants of Gold Bar, a cylindrical yellow squash, to fill in for the absent Casserta.

In all, I have three hills with about five plants each. I planted some pumpkins nearby and a mystery volunteer has sprouted (probably from my compost) in the middle of the summer squashes (probably a Halloween pumpkin). All of these squashes are just now starting to spread out and bud up. Soon the summer vegetables will be roasting on the grill.

Cucurbita pepo (summer squash)

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dorothy Perkins

dorothy
dorothy by the garden rose by fence
Dorothy Perkins is the big old rose by my vegetable garden. It shades a lot of my vegetables, but rewards me with beautiful pink blossoms, which are just beginning to open on this first day of summer. Dorothy is a classic rambler rose developed in 1901 and said by some to be one of the most famous of all roses. It was in my yard before I came here in 1991 and dug up my vegetable garden. Its flowers are a slightly different color every year. Depending on how much sun it receives, they range from a deep magenta to a sun-bleached pink with speckles of white. This year it is the darkest shade I have seen, which shows how many cloudy days we have had and how large the trees near it are growing. Its one of my favorite photo subjects.

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first pea harvest

first snap pea harvest
This is my first pea harvest. Snap peas and tendrils. Just a small amount. We actually ended up eating them raw in salad. There are many more out there fattening up on the vines.
harvests from my vegetable gardens

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

potato beetle

potato bug
I found this guy on my potatoes this morning and looked him up. Surprise - he's a potato beetle: Threelined Potato Beetle (Lema trilineata). I'll have to watch out for him. But for now I just took his picture and left him alone.

Solanum tuberosum

spring vegetable flowers

garden flowers
From top left: green pea, arugula, broccoli, radish, another radish, snap pea, tomato, fava bean, Capucijner field pea.

a baby tomato!

first baby tomato
Its a very exciting week. School's out, summer starts soon, the town pool is open, AND I have purple peas and baby tomatoes in my garden! It can't get much better than this. I can almost taste a fresh garden tomato ..... This tomato is a Rutgers. There are also baby fruit on my Chadwick's cherry.

Last year I found my first baby tomato on June 22. So this year's is almost exactly the same date. Even though I bought bigger plants that bloomed much earlier this year, the plants did not set fruit until the same time as last year. HHmmmm.

Solanum lycopersicum

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

a purple pea!

purple pea
The purple podded Capucijner peas are starting to make pods.

Pisum sativum, spp. arvense

thinning carrots

thinning carrots
I tried to seed the carrots more thinly this year, but still they have ended up very dense. I am starting now to thin them. They are still too small to eat. I thin them gradually - soon the baby roots will be large enough to munch on as I continue to thin the rows.

Daucus carota

Monday, June 18, 2007

garden photo

garden photo

garden bugs

yellow fly on phlox hopper on soy
green fly on chili peppers long legs on iris
wasp green hopper on arugula flower
I've been trying to find some bees in my garden. I'm sad not to be able to find any after a week of watching. Here are the bugs I have found. I think the closest to a bee is the wasp. From top left: yellow fly on phlox, hopper on soy, green fly on chili peppers, long legs on iris, wasp, green hopper on arugula flower. If get around to submitting the photos to BugGuide I'll add accurate IDs here later. The bugs I didn't show here are all the black aphids enjoying themselves on my favas and a few green ones on my lettuce.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

flowers for the bees

heliopsis
catmint heliopsis and strawberry
To attract bees, I have planted a bunch of flowers. I went down to Mahoney's Garden Center, an enormous place that has every imaginable plant, and walked around looking for flowers with honey bees on them. The busiest plant by far was the nepeta (catmint), which had several honey bees working away. There were also some small bees on the heliopsis table. I asked an employee which plants attracted most bees and he thought the lantanta, daisies and petunias were good. I purchased yellow lantana, nepeta, a daisy and two types of heliopsis. Some of these are in the pictures here. I'll hope these will attract some bees. I haven't seen any bees (except a couple of bumble bees) yet this year.

garden bees
Hymenoptera

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

fava flowers

fava flower
favas fava stem
fava flowers
Fava beans (broad beans) are a new crop for me this year. I'm looking forward to grilling some tender fresh beans. I have one 3.5 foot row of about 10 plants back behind my pole beans. This week they've started to bloom. Big black and white flowers on plants that are about 2 or 2.5 feet tall.

There are still a lot of black aphids on the plants. The aphids are on the top couple inches of the plants. Once I get another set of flowers, I'll cut off the tops of the plants to reduce the aphids and let the plants put all of their energy into making beans.
Vicia faba

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the view from the window

arial

aerial views of my home vegetable garden

Thursday, June 14, 2007

farmer's market fare

farmers market vegetables
Our local Farmer's Market is in a parking lot in our town center once a week. It has been open for two weeks now. We get about a dozen vendors. Often the farmer herself will be there to talk with. The major offering at the stands today was lots of lettuce greens of all different types (which I have in abundance in my garden right now). I bought asparagus, broccoli, purple scallions, spinach, radish, hot house tomatoes and a fresh free range chicken. Other offerings I saw: kohlrabi, chard, strawberries, garlic snapes and spring garlic. I believe a requirement for the vendors is that the crops are organically grown in Massachusetts at a small farm. Don't you love summer food!

Skippy in the garden

skippy 1 skippy 4
Skippy 2

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