Friday, July 6, 2012

Vegetables are Growing: Pride (and Shame) at Our Helping Hands Plot

I've been really absorbed (and perhaps a bit lost) in a lot of goings-on lately, with children, work, cooking, gardening, trying to spend time with my husband, and bracing for some big lifestyle changes that are coming at us over the next year or so.  It seems to me that summer might not always be the most productive period for this little blog, but I wanted to share a few photos from our community garden plot (and a half) as the season is now really underway.

You can tell by those super long shadows that it is pretty late in the evening!  My plot is the one at the back just beyond the wheelbarrow.  The plot in the middle is one of the food pantry plots, and this one in the foreground is a plot I am sharing with my sister.  Her seeds were just recently planted on the left, and I planted some seriously discounted late-in-the-season eggplant, Roma tomatoes, and canteloupe transplants on the right-hand side, then surrounded them with wood chips.

This is a view of my beloved plot.  Those trellises are for pumpkin, butternut squash, and zucchini.  I realize that they are likely not big enough and may not work, but it was my first year and I was trying to cram as many plants into a small plot as was humanly possible.  I'll let you know how it goes!  Note the un-mulched section on the right.  I'll give a close up of it next  (this is where the shame comes into the post)...

OK so this is my weed patch, otherwise known as the section I planted spinach, swiss chard, carrots, broccoli, and herbs.  Why does it look like I am nurturing lambsquarters, dandelions, and some random feral-oregano-type-herb-intruder?  Well, when it was tilled this year (the very first time in probably ever since the park was established) there were a lot of small clods of sod left in the garden.  I took the biggest ones out, but left the smaller ones to (a) keep some biological matter in the soil to break down and (b) when I took the clods out I lost a lot of dirt that I wanted for planting.  Unfortunately, since most of these weeds are attached to the clods, when I pull a weed out I get a big old chunk of garden with it.  I didn't want to disturb the seeds, so I sort of let the weeds go crazy.  No I really have to spend some serious time with it since my other plants are barely coming up and having to compete with some much tougher garden companions.  Oops.

Clockwise from top left: zucchini, bush pickle cucumber, butternut squash, and pumpkin.  What is the deal with bush pickle (from the name, I would assume it is supposed to grow like a BUSH) being all vine-y and not bushlike at all?  Now I am realizing I squished it in between peas and eggplant because I thought it would grow up, not out.  Lesson learned.  The pumpkin is doing really well, the zucchini not so awesome but those transplants were in need of a little love when I bought them, and my precious organic butternut squash that I grew from seed and looked like it would die a terrible, lonely, neglected death, have come back and are doing really well, even if they are smaller than the others.  Yay!

It's like "Where's Waldo" looking for desirable plants in the weed patch, but here are some broccoli, swiss chard, spinach, peas (actually they're not lost in that patch, they're being smothered by non-bush-like bush pickle cucumbers farther down) and some precious little carrot seedlings.

Exciting and healthy!  Eggplant (first time growing, probably will be my first time eating, actually) and I love those fuzzy leaves!  Tomatoes: planted better boy, lemon boy, beefsteak and Roma and they all look super happy and are growing well; red bell peppers, and corn.  Fun!  I don't care if the corn doesn't do well but thought it would be fun to try and it'll be one of very few veggie varieties the children will actually eat.

Wheelbarrow with my poor little guy's snow shovel in it.  His real little shovel is at my parents' cottage, so he had to make do with this less-than-efficient one when helping me shovel shavings into the wheelbarrow and then onto the garden beds.  Do you appreciate the edge of my finger in the corner of the shot?  I thought so.  Bet you wish you could take stellar photos like I can!

Dancing gardener boy is still excited after a long hour of hard work and dances his way home to bed.  I love this little helper!

This post is shared with the Little House in the Suburbs LinkyThe Homestead Barn Hop #70 on Homestead Revival and Frugal Days, Sustainable Days.


  1. I think your plot is looking really, really good! It's hard to start a garden where grass previously grew. There's a lot of competition the first couple of years but it gets better. Love that last photo!

    1. Thanks for the support Leigh. :) I've actually been pleased with how little resistance the grass and weeds have given us, it hasn't been too bad really. And I love that last photo too!!

  2. You got your half mulched! It makes mine look worse = :( But hopefully my plants will grow soon too!

  3. Hey! Your garden doesn't look bad at all! I'm really interested in those trellises for the pumpkins! I've never seen that before! We have a very small property and are also trying to grow as many vegetables as possible with a small veggie plot! So that is very inspiring! Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks Niki! Yes I have wanted to try growing squash family plants upward for a while (well I have wanted to pretty much grow anything for awhile!) and I am hoping this will work. I'm going to help them out by tying them here and there, and make pantyhose slings for the fruit to hang in when they start to develop. I think a two-dimensional frame made with steel pipe and wire is supposed to be more sturdy and long-lasting, but for this year I thought I'd try the tripod version with 8-foot 2x2 pieces of spruce. I'll let you know how it goes! :)

  4. Good harvest, for the beginner, your garden looked really well. But I just bulid a grow room for indoors, because using led grow light of sunlight, I will not worried about I can not get fresh vegetabls in winter or bad weathers.:) So you can have a try on grow lights for plants.


I love to get comments and questions, and particularly suggestions!