The New Home Economics

Garden update, Memorial Day weekend

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Here’s how it’s looking out there in the vegetable garden.

First, the whole garden, an overview.  Adam thought my cardboard aisles looked ghetto so he offered to put down landscape fabric instead.  Fine by me.  The garlic (foreground) is huge.  We harvested some scapes last weekend.

Scapes are the bloom of the garlic plant.  Basically, you pick them as soon as you see them.  If you let the garlic plant go into full bloom, your final bulb in the fall will be much smaller because the plant will put energy into flowering instead of growing a bulb.  The scapes can be used like green onions/scallions and taste like (surprise) garlicky green onions.

Moving on, here is the radish/parsnip area.  What a mess.  I let the kids help me broadcast plant this area, and even after I tried to fix things, everything still came up in clumps.  I can definitely see some parsnip plants, so as soon as the radishes are all done — which will be very soon — I will re-arrange the parsnips and then possibly fill in with something else.

Peppers, herbs, and cauliflower.  A baby rabbit was getting past my rabbit-proof fence and ate 3 pepper plants and several peas before I figured out what was going on — I actually caught him in there one night.  (Boy was he cute.)  So I went to a local nursery this weekend and picked up four new pepper plants and put them in.  It’s easy to tell which are the new ones if you enlarge the picture — they’re the ones with no insect damage.  All these plants are doing well, though, and the cauliflower has already doubled in size from this picture (bonus points if you can pinpoint the tiny cauliflower plants in this pic).

Cabbages/celeriac area.  Well, I’ve finally determined that only TWO celeriac seeds sprouted.  I think it would have been better to start both of these plants inside.  Then I could have laid this out a little nicer, instead of re-arranging plants twice.  Right now I have about 20 cabbages —  I will need to thin a bit more since the variety I chose is supposed to get quite large.  But we can always eat a few of them small, right?  Right?  There have been absolutely no signs of cabbage worms now for a few days, so hopefully that was an isolated incident.

Finally, the odd west corner of the garden with its angled fence-line.  This year I’ve got peas along the fence and beans in the middle.  It’s ok, but it’s really hard to weed next to the peas, since I can’t quite reach everything.  If you enlarge the picture, you’ll also see the additional rabbit deterrant that Adam added to the bottom of the chain-link fence, and the three tomato plants and our neighbor’s dog beyond that.  I’d like to see that baby bunny TRY to get in there now.  In the immediate foreground is our cuke cage.  I started some cukes inside from seed but did not harden them off gradually and all but one died when I set them out in the hot sun a couple weeks ago.  So now I’m trying to just direct sow the cucumber seeds.  Should be OK.

And… here’s my final confession: against all advice and gardening wisdom, I am planting my tomatoes in the same spot as last year.  It is an absolutely ideal tomato spot — close to the kitchen, in prime rabbit area (rabbits don’t eat tomato plants), and along the fence so it makes staking/caging super easy.  My companion planting book says that tomatoes actually like being in the same spot each year, as long as the soil is well-amended (and I amended mine with lots of compost), but every other website, blog, publication, and master gardener I’ve ever consulted has said it’s a bad idea.  Well, all I can do is see what happens…

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