The Vegetable Garden…

…such as it is.

My sister-in-law posted the most mouth-watering collection of vegetables she’d collected fresh from her garden on Facebook yesterday, and I was green (haha) with envy at the variety of vegetables and the plumpness of her tomatoes.

Because she’s in Ontario, her growing season is shorter, so our vegetables should be further ahead. As it turns out, we’re miles behind. Part of it is that I planted much later than usual this year. I usually plant in early May, but I’d just arrived home from England and Ireland and was working on a research paper throughout April and May–not to mention a trip to Ontario in May as well. Plus, we were both exhausted from a crazy school year and the sale of one condo and purchase of another (plus the move!!). Jury duty and a two-day Council meeting kept me in town until mid-June, and then I think I slept for the two weeks James was in Ireland at the end of June! Anyway, I finally planted my deck garden at the end of June (almost two months late). To be honest, my garden is never very good anyway, but the late start didn’t help.

J and I made some strategic choices this year:

1) Tomatoes, Peppers, and Squashes: accept defeat and move on;

2) Lettuce, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Kale, and Herbs: move to the front where the sunlight is less intense (to discourage early bolting, which has been a problem in the past);

3) Root Vegetables: give them a try at the back where the sun is intense pretty much all day long. Focus on only a couple, so we know what works well in our soil. We decided on carrots and beets.

Our beet leaves took off like crazy, and I became quite excited at the idea of not only harvesting some beautiful beets at the end of the summer, but also tossing these glorious leaves into my morning smoothies and impressing our Friday-night guests with a beet-leaf salad. Fortunately, when I looked up recipes online for beet-leaf salad, I noticed that my beet leaves look nothing like the pictures of beet leaves online.

No wonder: they’re radishes.

No idea what happened there–I suppose we were debating which to try and after we’d planted the seeds, we got it into our heads that we’d planted beets. Anyway, they are actually kind of (kind of) a success:

wpid-20140731_093540.jpgHowever, I harvested the only seven that look anywhere near radish-like. The others are all very tiny red threads of root. I don’t quite get why some are so fat and lovely and others are scrawny little things–they’re in the same square foot of soil. Hopefully this harvest will allow the sun to get at the radish threads that remain.

The herbs and lettuce are going gangbusters at the front:

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The lettuce and herbs are along the rail. I just planted the lower beds for staggered harvesting.

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I’m quite pleased with the cilantro. The sparse area on the left is a replanting of some oregano from last year. It is not doing well at all, though it was a beautiful bushy plant for three years (and always survived the winter outside).

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Basil–I’ve been harvesting this like crazy and the plants keep producing. They do bolt every few days, but I just cut them back:

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The spinach is looking good, but I always harvest it as baby spinach, so it never gets very big:

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And the mesclun mix is coming along nicely.

wpid-20140731_093749.jpgAnd then there are my sprouts, which never fail to grow abundantly on my kitchen counter:

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And finally…there’s my biggest embarrassment: the carrots. I had a pot at the front and two big planters at the back all planted with carrot seeds. It’s almost August, and here’s what I’ve got:

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The reason we plant only on the deck is that the deer eat anything that we plant in the garden. We could put up a deer fence (as the serious gardeners do), but we still get excited when we notice a deer or two grazing on the clover on the septic field. We had a couple of planters of flowers out front, but the deer ate them down to stumps, so we had to move them up to the deck. Mind you, they’ve grown back with a vengeance!

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And J is very pleased with his begonias and geraniums this year:

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