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.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

mom and dad's vegetable garden

mom and dad garden 02
mom and dad garden 01 mom and dad garden 04

Can you believe the size of these vegetables! Twice the size of mine.

mom and dad garden 03

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pumpkin on the counter

pumpkin

I suppose this is an unusual photo for summer.

Its a pumpkin I grew in my garden last year. I've enjoyed having its nice bright orange color on my counter all winter and spring. Its a Jarrahdale, a blue/gray pumpkin that ripened to orange midwinter. A really good keeper. This pumpkin is finally getting spots and so today I'm putting it out to the compost bin. :( I have a couple of new Jarrahdale plants in my garden that are growing fast in the heat. I'm looking forward to more of these.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

bachelor button

bachleor button

Friday, June 25, 2010

my basil plot

basil plot

Here's a photo of my basil today. OK I think. No basil blight. Weeds, but no blight.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

basil blight! what's that?

NPR ran this story yesterday: Basil Blight Threatens Pesto Lovers. I haven't noticed any signs here yet, but now I will watch for it.

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fresh garlic bulbs

fresh garlic bulbs

These beautiful bulbs were give to me by a fellow community gardener. I didn't realize garlic could be pulled this early, with the clove wrappers still thick. Maybe its just that they aren't good for storage if pulled before the wrappers dry. In any case, its delicious!

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

sweet potato vines

sweet potatoes

My sweet potatoes seem to be doing very well. I bet they'll exceed their plot - which I always enjoy. Maybe they'll grow up the popcorn stalks or weave through the old broccoli plants. We'll see.

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baby apple

baby apple

There are only a couple baby apples on my little Fugi apple tree this year. I need to remember to cover them very soon. Last year I didn't cover them and the they got eaten my bugs. They are deliciously crisp apples and I'd like to eat them myself!

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

crimson fava beans

favas 028
favas 026 favas 025

Almost full size. I've picked a few already, but haven;t tried them yet.

baby cucumber

baby cucumber

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beets are sizing up

white beets - Copy

I planted them close this year in clumps of 2-4 and they are pushing apart now. These are White Detroit.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

summer solstice

Its the summer solstice! Welcome Summer!!!

popcorn seedlings

popcorn

This is my popcorn. I have about twice as much this year as last year. So far, so good.

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melon plants

charentais melon

So far, so good on my melon plants. Last year they looked like this at the end of the season. They are snug and warm in my cold frame this year. Still growing slowly, but I think now that the weather has warmed up, they will take off.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

baby tomatoes

baby tomatoes 2

Finally! Little baby tomatoes on the vines! These are Beaver Lodge plants. A new ultra early variety that I have never grown before.

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pumpkins and squashes are blooming

zucchini - Copy
yellow squash - Copy pumpkins

Saturday, June 19, 2010

garden work

Today I spent most of the day at my community plot. After doing a few hours of path mowing and debris removal, I brought several wheel barrows full of wood chips to my plot. These are the remains of many Belmont trees that were blown over in the big wind storm 2 weeks ago. I spread a 2-3 inch layer on the paths between my raised beds.

Its perfect timing to get some mulch down as the summer is heating up and the garden needs help retaining its moisture. I'd like to buy some salt marsh hay tomorrow to mulch in the beds around the plants.

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broccoli

broccoli
broccoli (2) coldframe broccoli

I've had several gardeners come by and thank me for weed whacking the community garden paths today. One gardener also commented on my broccoli, which is fantastic this year (variety Blue Wind). I have two patches of broccoli: one at my community plot, the other in my cold frame at home. The gardener said she also has a broccoli that's doing well. Hers is a perennial purple broccoli. Wow that sounds great! She said it overwinters and grows heads every year. And she said she will drop off a few seeds in my garden mailbox. I'm looking forward to this new variety. Sounds great!

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cabbage spots

savoy cabbage spots raddichio spots

Any ideas about whats causing these spots? I'm thinking it doesn't look like insects. Maybe sunburn, because we've gone so fast from cool and cloudy weather to hot sunny weather? Comments appreciated.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Belmont Community Victory Gardens

BVG entrance

We have been putting a lot of work into the front area of our community gardens. We would like a nice inviting grass area with the garden plots behind. And nice grassy paths between all the plots.

Its wonderful how native grasses seed themselves naturally if an overgrown area is mowed. We have just finished leveling sufficiently to run a lawn mower. Here's the view just after the very first mowing. Isn't it beautiful!!

We will be holding a work day tomorrow to continue working on the grass. I haven't done a very good job of circulating information on this event, but it will be held from 10 am -12 noon tomorrow (Saturday). Please come and help us. Bring weed whackers lawn mowers, clippers, or rakes.

We will flatten the front area at the far right of the photo - in front of the new plots. There are rock and debris piles to remove and dirt pile to flatten. We will also mow/weed whack/clip the grass in the paths. I have done about 1/3 of the paths so far, and it would be good to get then all done this weekend.

I enjoyed seeing a whole flock of baby bluebirds foraging in the freshly mowed area the other day. A clutch of 4 or 5 was recently hatched from a box in the meadow. Bluebirds like areas with short grass and perching posts. Our mowed entrance not only looks neat and is a good place for garden events, but it's also a valuable wildlife habitat.

Other reasons to come and help out with the path work: I will bring FREE COFFEE and its fun to work together with other gardeners.

Another event to mention is the Solstice Garden Tours that will be held on Sunday June 20 at the Belmont Victory Gardens. An informal event. Our first time trying this. This will run 11 am - 1 pm. Come enjoy the results of the path and front area work we do the day before!

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today's harvest

today's harvest

Finally I have a chance to escape to the garden. This summer is turning out to be very busy and keeping me away from the plot. But with the regular rain, everything is growing fine without my attention. I have a fantastic crop of broccoli now ready to pick. Also the beets are sizing up.

This harvest includes one head of broccoli (Blue Wind, Johnny's), beets (Chiogga and Detroit White) and a couple little radish (French Breakfast).

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Friday, June 11, 2010

today's sowing list: sunflowers and soybeans

Normally I would direct seed sunflowers and soybeans, but because of my voracious chipmunk, I am sowing them at home in trays and will transplant.

Sunflowers:
Tahumara white (Sand Hill)
Ling's Grey Stripe (Johnny's)
Elf's blend (Botanical Interests)

Soybeans:
Butterbeans (Johnny's)
Envy (Johnny's)

My soybeans that I planted 2 weeks ago had a germination rate of about 3/30 - bad. Today I remembered that I specifically bought the soybean inoculant and I forgot to use it. Today I added it to the soil as I sowed. I also went ahead and planted 3-4 seeds per cell. I hope to get a good crop.

I mostly eat soybeans as edamame (as an appetizer with salt and directly from the pod). I find that home grown are so much better than store bought - even if they're frozen. The best varieties of soybeans are developed by commercial growers to ripen all at once. So sometime in mid August, I look forward to a week of lots of fresh-from-the-garden edamame, then for a month or so, I have fresh frozen. Then ... its back to the store again ...

The sunflowers are an experiment. Sunflowers don't transplant well. I've killed them several times trying to move volunteers. But I've also bought potted plants and they transplanted fine. I wanted to use peat pots, but didn't have any left. So I used regular plastic seed cells. I'll be try to be careful to not disturb the roots when transplanting.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

garlic scapes

a082 scapes

My garlic is FANTASTIC this year! The scapes are ready for picking now. They are such fantastic shapes. The rule of thumb I think I heard is that scapes should be picked before they curl around once. Well many of mine were double curled before I even realized they were there. Also, I find some varieties curl more than others. Anyway.... I think I'll try a nice scape pesto.

Does anyone have good recipes for me?

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glowing leaves

a113 plot

My plot in the late evening light. That's my garlic in the foreground. Peas are over at the right.

garden thieves

a101 theft

Last weekend my community plot neighbor told me that some critter had been eating his sunflower seeds as he planted them. Since I planted sunflowers a couple weeks ago, I immediately went to look for my sprouts. No sprouts! Some critter has eaten mine too!

While walked through the gardens I see that other gardeners have nice sunflowers growing, so its just our location. We must be in the territory of a very hungry little sunflower-eating chipmunk!

On top of this I am finding evidence of a pea-thief! I pulled aside the vines and found many empty and nibbled pods on the ground. Again, I am blaming a chipmunk! But fortunately, I have enough peas to share.

I will have to try some trick to get my sunflowers to sprout. I will plant some at home in peat pots. Sunflowers don't like to be transplanted but peat pots should be OK. My plot neighbor is going to try using fine chicken wire on the top of the soil. We'll see if we can outsmart the little critter.

I am also trying to grow soybeans at home because of the chipmunk/thief. So far, these are not sprouting well - old seeds. I have a newer pack to try, I'll keep at it.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

giant weed pile

a107 weed pile

Look at this pile of weeds! After being away a while I had a big job clearing out all the weeds. I spent an hour or so, pulled them all, then raked most into a big pile. I usually put weeds in my compost bin, but last year's bin is full. It'll take another year to compost and empty it. Soon I'll devise another bin for another corner of my garden and these weeds will go in first.

thrush or thrasher?

a070 bird
a069 bird

Can you help me identify this bird? He was very upset with Skippy and I walking down the path through his territory. He clucked and flapped. There is probably a nest nearby. Do you think its a brown thrasher or a wood thrush?

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beautiful summertime!

a027 rock meadow

(though still spring a few more days ...)

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milkweed

a015 milkweed
a023 milkweed a025 milkweed

Someone recently asked me about where to find milkweed. I've been looking. These photos are from Rock Meadow in Belmont - along Mill Street. The milkweed there is beautiful and just starting to bud. The Monarchs will be happy! I've also found smaller stands of milkweed off of Trapelo Road in Waltham in the area of the old Met life buildings.

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

my home garden

a010 tomato blossoms
a011 greens a012 melons

The tomatoes are blooming, and have been for a month now, but no fruit is setting. My understanding is that tomato plants will only set fruit when they are big enough to handle a full sized tomato. So I guess they just need to grow more. Guess I'm still a month from getting a ripe tomato. I haven't gotten around to tying the plants up yet and need to remember to do this soon.

Several of my greens bolted this week, in both plots. The Feb sown escarole and romaine bolted, but I still got lots of tasty leaves from these.

I planted melons and cucumbers in the cold frame after harvesting kale and lettuce. These are doing great! I am looking forward to a good season for them.

Monday, June 07, 2010

back in the garden

I've been away. Its always amazing what the garden does in the absence of its gardener! I will gradually catch up - and enjoy - my findings.

I spent today gardening. The morning in my home garden - the afternoon at my community plot. Lots of weeding. Some harvesting. Some planning. There are a few more summer sowings that need to be done. Also, just general checking on what's going on. Gardens develop their own life. Sometimes I feel I'm just the observer - doing my best to follow along.

I have a bunch of photos I took today and I'll get them posted over the next couple days. And I'm looking forward to regular gardening for a while now. Also regular harvesting and enjoying of the gifts of the earth.















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