Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The early summer garden 2011

It's early summer and the garden is starting to take off. Just yesterday we ate our first tender little zucchinis, and every day the plants seem to stretch and grow. Here's a little tour of our best garden yet, beginning with the Dark Opal basil I started from seed. I love the beautiful colors of the leaves. We are also growing Lettuce Leaf basil, Spicy Bush basil, Lemon basil, Holy basil and Sweet Genovese basil. I started them just after the tomatoes in January.

Here is a Tashkent marigold. The basil and marigolds are planted between the double row of tomatoes. Next year I might plant them between each plant, because the tomatoes are starting to shade them out.

This is a little patch of Oaxacan Green Dent corn, from Seed Saver's Exchange, growing between the squash plants. I separated the squash plants with rows of corn in hopes that it will give me some time to find squash bugs before they are all over the place. Supposedly it takes squash bugs awhile to get around, so if the squash is isolated it can help control them. They were a major problem the first year. Last year it was stem borer moths. This year I've been keeping a close watch and picking off any squash bug or stem borer eggs I find, and I've already found lots. We even found an adult male stem borer moth on the Cocozelle Zucchini.

A squash flower. I've been picking the extra males and battering and frying them. They are so good!

The yellow crookneck looks like it will be prolific this year. Already it has a lot of female blossoms.

Here is the red amaranth between the squash.

I love the way the moon and stars melons have dappled leaves. They are so pretty.

Here is a Golden Jenny melon. No female flowers yet, but it has a lot of male blossoms. The cucumbers seem to be the first along this row to have female flowers (I planted the melons, watermelons and cucumbers in a long row together, to make it easier to rotate these similar plants). All the melons are doing well. I am so hoping to get a taste of the Delice de la Table melons this year!

The bush beans are becoming a mini forest. I have seen a few blossoms. I can't wait for fresh beans! The pole beans are really coming along, too, although I have no photos of them. The bean pole idea this year seems to have worked well--they are all climbing easily. Last year we used Ethan's idea (failure) of a single top string with strands of twine hanging down for the beans to grow on. What actually happened was that the wind blew all the strands of twine into a single enormous knot that would have Alexander the Great cringing and the poor bean vines groveled among the grasses, didn't make beans and died. So it's been two years since we've had any decent amount of our own beans.

We actually have peppers this year so far. I had wanted to keep them in pots so they could survive the winter, but they were just not very happy. So they are all safely in the ground now, and seeming to enjoy it. We even have a few little peppers just starting to grow.