Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Let's Just Grow Like Crazy, Shall We?

When we first built our raised beds, I remember standing back and surveying the space we had to fill with plants and wondering if we had gotten ourselves in over our heads. Three beds? As we began to plant, my trepidation only increased. I had started so many little tomato and pepper plants, that I was quickly going to run out of space for them all. How was I going to find the time to care for everything like it needs to be cared for? I saw the neglect growing up around the garden before the beds had even been filled with life.

Two months later, there's a little neglect. We don't water as much as we should and weeding would be a lot easier if we tackled the little pesky plants every other day or so. But in the end, it turns out that gardening is not that hard. It's kind of like babies, more robust than you might expect.


Our tomatoes have burst out all over the place:


They're about shoulder height on a 5'3" woman (uh, me), with dozens of tomatoes, both cherry and beafsteak, getting their start, and what looks like hundreds of flowers ready and waiting for their turns.


The peppers have fought against some difficult times and triumphed, already bearing fruit.


The green beans, which turned out to be bush beans instead of the pole beans the Husband was so hoping for, have taken off, so much so they required some staking so they would stop crowding my green peppers.


And my eggplant? Oh. I have no idea if I even like eggplant (these plants were gifted to us by our neighbours), but just for the flowers, these plants were worth growing.


Admittedly, we have one bed that doesn't look so good.


Our lettuce has not enjoyed the heat. It has not enjoyed the lack of rain. It doesn't take the neglect quite so well. Instead of filling out into useful bundles of romaine lettuce, our baby plants are choosing to bolt instead. A number of the spinach plants went to seed before they got big enough to eat. (Is it supposed to do that? I've never grown spinach before.) The lettuce is getting long and spindly, never standing upright properly. The few that matured well, that we ate, are growing back well, but I have have few hopes for the health of the whole two rows of leafy greens.

The carrots however, which are also in this bed? I have absolutely no concern for them. (Though, I think I had best get to thinning them this week.)

Last year's garden was an after thought, an experiment. But this year? I think this year I can say it; I think I can claim the title. I am a gardener.


7 comments:

  1. Love your new cedar railing! A bit of rustic country living in the city right near a high-rise! Yes, spinach and lettuce always bolt in the hot weather. Some strategies I use to prevent this for as long as possible: start seeding as early as possible in the spring, and again in the fall to take advantage of the cooler weather, plant leafy vegetables in the shade (and fruit bearing plants like tomatoes and beans in the sun), create shade if you have to, and pinch out the beginning of the bolt asap to keep the leaves growing for as long as possible. Have a good day!

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  2. Thanks for the suggestions Ellie! I knew about the shade thing - it helps keep the bitterness away too, I've heard - so the bed they're planted in is the on that gets the most shade from the tree at the back of the garden but, during the day, I guess it's just not enough. I will try pinching back the bolt, though I expect I'm too late for a lot of it already. And I will definitely be reseeding in the fall!

    Because lettuce isn't so easy to preserve and is so affordable in the grocery store, I'm not too worried about it, but it would have been nice to have a constant supply of fresh greens available through the summer. Not happening, I guess.

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  3. http://goo.gl/MVnCw

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  4. Your garden is looking wonderful! I can't believe how well your tomatoes are doing compared to mine! My plants flowered just this week.

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  5. Thanks Amber! When you're comparing your tomatoes to mine, you can't forget that I started the seeds in FEBRUARY. WAY too early. Obviously, it worked out, but I lived with a crazy jungle of tomatoes in my front window for much longer than I care to think about!

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  6. Your garden looks phenomenal...nothing better than home grown veggies and herbs. Do you have a problem with small animals eating away your crops though? I noticed that with mine...kind of depressing sometimes!

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  7. No issues yet! Who knows though... we do have a hefty raccoon population around here and the dumpster for the apartment buildings is located right behind our back fence. I'm not sure if that will be good or bad for us in the end...

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