My garden is finally giving me some reward for all the hard work I’ve put into the garden the last few months. We are beginning to eat more regularly out of the garden. Our first zucchini have come in and I am determined to pick it while it is small and tender. We have been roasting lots of root vegetables like carrots and beets. I’m excited for what else my garden has to offer me.
Yesterday I harvested some of my dad’s beautiful lavender (Lavandula angustifolia “Hidcote Blue’). This lavender smells delicious and looks even better this year than last year (click here to see my harvest from last year). My dad said he cut back the plant pretty aggressively after the blooms were done last season which may account for the overflowing flowers this year. It was a bit challenging harvesting without disturbing the hundreds of honey bees visiting the lavender. I definitely need this lavender in my garden!
I always have my eye on other people’s garden space so when my brother and sister-in-law decided not to use their garden beds this year since they were expecting a baby, I jumped on the opportunity to double my growing space. They have seven raised beds in total and told me I could use five. The other two are full of strawberries and asparagus.
At the end of April, a friend, my daughter and I spend a day (or two) weeding, digging up the beds and amending with soil. The beds were extremely dry and difficult to work. Also the soil level had reduced significantly from previous growing seasons so we hauled in about 25 cubic feet of Soil Booster from Green Acres Nursery and 5 cubic feet of Earthworm Castings. A flurry of seed starting happened immediately when I knew I was getting the space. Because I will not be there every day to harvest, my plan was to plant things that don’t need constant attention.
Here is what the beds look like after weeding and new soil (and only 1 broken sprinkler pipe!):
This is everything I planted:
Bed #1: (farthest right bed)
– Delicata Squash
– Waltham Butternut Squash
– Detroit Red Beets
– Scarlet Nantes Carrots
– Blue Lake Bush Beans
– Lacinato Kale (6)
– Acorn squash
– Blue lake beans growing on bamboo trellis
– Zinnias (4)
– Mikado Turnips
– Lemon Cucumber
– Space Master Cucumber
– Tomato (Varieties: Big Boy, Sungold, Better Bush, John Baer, Moon Glow, Striped German, Hillbilly Potato Leaf & Fox Cherry)
– Zinnia (California Giant and Cool Canyon)
– Green Raven Zucchini
– Black Beauty Zucchini
– Early Jalapeño Peppers (2)
– Sweet Banana Peppers (3)
– Bachelor’s Buttons
– Tomato (Varieties: Nebraska Wedding, Moon Glow, John Baer, Sungold, Hillbilly Potato Leaf, Persimmon, Striped German, Big Boy)
– Giant Sunflowers
Sounds impressive huh? I am pretty impressed with myself too! I can’t believe I was able to start all of these plants from seed and able to fill a huge amount of space that otherwise would have been unproductive. I’m still waiting for some small basil plants to get a bit bigger before I transplant them and I think I will tuck in a few herbs here and there. Otherwise, this garden is ready to go!
Here are a few pictures from June 4th of what the garden looks like and a picture of our first harvest:
Bamboo is one thing I do not have in my garden… and I don’t really want it either since it can be highly invasive if you don’t put it in correctly.
However, if it is taking over someone else’s garden… I’m all for that!
My friend’s garden has a bamboo problem and I offered to take some of it off her hands to use as stake poles in my garden. Total score! I’m going to cut down several to use as garden trellises this year but I think I read that you should really let them dry out for awhile before using them so I am going to cut down additional ones to store and dry for upcoming gardening years. I think my friend’s grove really needs some thinning and you can cut up to 1/3 of the grove every year without hurting the plant.
Here is what her bamboo grove looks like:
I was able to cut down about 10 poles the other day which were about 18 feet tall and the larger bases were about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. I cut each pole into two pieces so I could fit them in my car. Finding poles of this size is pretty impossible at any store so I feel really lucky to have a source. Plus cutting down the bamboo was really a lot easier than I thought it was going to be!
Did you know you can eat the young shoots of bamboo? For several summers I went bamboo hunting with my aunt in Japan. You look for the very very young shoots and with a little push they should break off pretty easily. Delicious!