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.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

my side yard vegetable garden

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I continued today with working on cleaning up my side yard garden. The rose on the fence always need a lot of trimming in the spring. I'm gradually clearing old leaves and last year's vegetable debris from the beds. Also removing weeds. The dandelions are especially vigorous this year.

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open garden at fenway

A late posting, but this sounds fun. There will be an Open Garden today at the Fenway Victory Gardens. Brochure is here. I'm on my way over there!

There are also Emerald Necklace Conservancy Ribbon cutting events at the Fenway today (link for info).

my community garden plot after vacation

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my cold frame after vacation

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Everything is growing fast now. The lettuce, spinach and escarole are filling our salad bowl. These are plants from last fall, that overwintered in the cold frame. My overwintered beets are also doing well with nice greens now and just starting to form roots.

The overwintered broccoli did not do well. It grew nicely, but then "buttoned", that is, it formed tiny little broccoli heads. I picked them a couple days ago and they made a single small serving. I'm told that broccoli will button when its stressed. I'll pull these plants and make room for something else.

PS. Actually the beets are not doing good. They are bolting with no roots. I suppose they too were stressed by over wintering. I'll pull them soon for the nice greens.

Friday, April 29, 2011

today's garden work

It was a sunny warm day, in the upper 70's, perfect for gardening. Its nice to be back to work in my own garden after being away for a week.

- Some marigolds and cosmos transplanted to pots.
- Sow 2 flats of seeds for cucumbers, zinnias, pumpkins, winter squash, summer squash, melons and broccoli.
- Prepare one garden bed and plant fava beans.
- Weed the garlic and asparagus beds.
- Weed the main path in my community garden plot.

vegetable gardens in switzerland

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I was so impressed by the Swiss garden plots. Such a nice mix of flowers, grass and productive space. Most of the plots I photographed are 'community gardens'. They have small huts, eating space, and grassy areas so the plots can be enjoyed as a vacation or weekend getaway.

I was impressed by the nice pruning of espaliered fruit trees. I will try do prune back my pears and apple tree this year.

Also different from US is that most gardens seem to use a cover for tomatoes. These are just being set up now and some have been planted with small tomato plants already. I think this keeps the rain off the leaves and the plants are watered by hand directly at the soil level. A good idea to reduce fungal diseases. I think here this may not be as effective since our climate is more damp and the covered will also reduce moisture evaporation. Does anyone in the US cover their tomatoes?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

photos of switzerland

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I'm just back from a vacation in Switzerland and have photos of vegetable gardens and the Saturday morning Farmer's Market. Photos of the Farmer's Market in Basel Switzerland are here. Basel is located in the northwest corner of Switzerland, along the French and German borders. There was an amazing variety of local produce. Truly amazing. We filled our bags with food to make a delicious Easter dinner.

Though Basel is at a more Northern latitude than us here in Boston, the weather is much warmer. The lilacs were in full bloom there, and these have not even leafed out here in Belmont yet. Our Belmont Farmer's market won't open until June 9! But in Basel, the market had lots of new potatoes, new garlic, fava beans, white and green asparagus, broccoli, lots of greens and herbs, etc, etc.

I haven't ever seen baby garlic at a market. We bought some and it was great. The wrappers hadn't begun to dry at all and the cloves were quite small still. We could just slice and eat the whole head without peeling the cloves.

The potatoes on the stands were mostly a little white variety with buttery flesh. Very good!

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

happy easter !!!

Boston Globe article: a sense of community

Erica from the Globe wrote a very nice article about our community gardens. Its in today's paper: here's the link. I love the way she wrote little bits about lots of different gardeners. That the way our garden is: a patchwork mix of different garden styles and gardeners.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

seed potatoes arrived

My seed potatoes arrived in the mail today. I have to get their bed ready and get them planted - next weekend.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

first harvest of the season

first harvest

I picked a nice bunch of spinach from my cold frame. These are plants I started late last fall. They grew very slowly over the winter and have now taken off in the warming spring sun. I sauteed it and it was delicious!

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

side yard aerial

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I planted the bed at the far left with 3 rows of peas a few days ago. I'm watching for sprouts. The cold frame is filling up fast and perennials in the bed next to it are sprouting.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

furry catkins

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The bees are out and about when the sun warms things up. This tiny little one was collecting pollen in the willow catkins outside my dining room window.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

please vote for my cancer research company

Please vote for my company!!

When I'm not in the garden, I work at a start-up biotech company to develop new tests to help breast cancer patients. We have entered a contest, called MassChallenge, because the prize money would be allow us to bring our test to patients sooner. Start-up companies from all over the world enter this contest and the competition is fierce.

Please help us by voting for BIOARRAY.

ANYONE CAN VOTE FOR BIOARRAY. To do so, register with MassChallenge by going to https://masschallenge.org/user/register. Fill out the log-in information and select “Supporter.” You do not have to create a profile. Once you are logged in, go to BIOARRAY’s profile at http://masschallenge.org/content/bioarray-therapeutics. and vote for us by giving us 5 stars. You can also post feedback.

THANKS!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

cold frame seedlings

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I had a zoom lens on my camera, so these photos show only parts of my cold frame. Its filling fast. My dad says the orchids don't belong in a vegetable cold frame. Maybe not, but they seem to be enjoying it. They've suffered from the long dry dark winter inside and my neglect.

Monday, April 11, 2011

spring! finally - flowers in my yard

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These are the flowers blooming in my yard this week. I planted 50 of the bright yellow waterlily tulips (top) in my front yard last fall and they're in full bloom now. The bright cerise Batalini tulips (bottom left) are at my community garden plot. I love early tulips! They open in the sun and close when its cloudy. I'm so happy to see them after a long and snowy winter.

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I bought a tray full of bright little violas to plat in the big pots in my back yard for a cheerful view from my kitchen window.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Work Day

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We had a fantastic spring Work Day at the Belmont Victory Gardens yesterday!

We must have have well over 100 gardeners shown up. All of us ready for garden work after a long winter. Ready to rake, dig and join with our old friends in the beautiful start of another season.

Once again, Bob kept my camera in action and took photos of the event. I love how good he is at photographing smiles.

Things we accomplished:

- The area in front of the new plats was cleared of rocks and debris and leveled so it can be mowed this summer.
- We designed, purchased supplies, and installed corner posts for a new set of staged compost bins.
- Two areas where garden debris has been piled in previous years were cleared to expose the layer of rich compost so gardeners can take it to their gardens.
- Two new plots were added and cleared, one by the meadow, one at the back.
- A big area of debris and dense raspberries was cleared between the plots and the meadow.
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Thanks to all who helped!!

(PS. Here is a slide show of the photos : link)

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