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Edible Garden Update

June 8th, 2011

Last Friday I was able to head over to my mom’s and work in the garden that we share. With all the rain we’ve been having and being super busy I haven’t been able to get over much in the last month. I planted the tomatoes and peppers that I started from seed. I also reseeded the beets that got washed away in the huge rain storm. Beet varieties we’re growing:

‘Detroit Dark Red’ Beet – 55 days. The most popular, old standard, all-purpose, red beet with uniform and smooth, blood-red flesh that is sweet and tasty. 14-inch tops make good greens. Heirloom variety introduced in 1892 (source: Bake Creek) These are my mom’s favorite, they make a mean pickled beet!

‘Formonova’ or Cylinder Beet – 55 days. A wonderful Heirloom from Denmark, this one is famous for slicing with its long, cylindrical roots. Produces much more uniform slices than round beets.This tender and sweet variety is also known as “Butter Slicer” because of its wonderful texture. (source: Baker Creek)

‘Golden’ Beet – 55 days. This variety dates back to the 1820’s or before. The beets are a rich, golden-yellow and very sweet. A beautiful beet that won’t bleed like red beets. The greens are also very tasty. A favorite of many. (source: Renee’s Garden)

This year we expanded the garden and added a new gate. It sure is nice to have a proper gate! Right inside the gate we put bean towers that will have morning glories growing on them. Along the front edge of the garden we’re planting flowers to attract beneficial insects and to add some beauty.

Yesterday we were back over to take my dad to the airport and I was able to finally get the popcorn planted, just before a big rainstorm hit (hence the overcast skies in these photos). I’ve grown ‘Strawberry’ Popcorn in the past and it was really great, but this I decided to grow:

‘Pennsylvania Butter’ Popcorn – 102 days. Flavor is superior to commercial popcorn. [Pre-1885 heirloom popcorn maintained by the Pennsylvania Dutch. Introduced in 1988 by SESE.] Produces white-kerneled ears, averaging 2 per 8 foot stalk. Ears contain 26 to 28 rows of kernels, length ranges from 4 to 6 (source: Southern Exposure)

I have just enough space for my sweet corn, which will go in a little later than usual because we’re planning around vacation times. We don’t usually grow sweet corn, but this year I decided to give it a try. A row of sunflowers will go in between the two kinds of corn as well.


Everything was looking good yesterday. The potatoes and peas that we planted a few months ago are blooming (you can see what varieties and the garden plan here). The broccoli and cauliflower that were planted a couple weeks ago are growing beautifully and the onions are also sizing up nicely.


Just as I finished taking these photos the rain moved in and watered the garden nicely. So far it looks like the 2011 gardening season will be a productive one, filling our plates and pantries with delicious homegrown food.

How’s your garden doing? Anything doing worse/better than usual? What have you been planting this week?

22 Comments to “Edible Garden Update”
  1. Jennifer Fisk on June 8, 2011 at 6:26 am

    So far everything is progressing normally even though it seemed as though planting was delayed because of rain. I am watching my Patty Pan Squash closely because they had squash started when I set them out. They usually don’t start producing until mid July but I started them indoors in March.
    My broccoli was getting munched by the slugs even with a barrier of egg shells and diatomacious earth. I think I’ve solved the problem with wood stove ashes. They had to be good for something.
    My potatoes are up about 3 inches. I planted them in the compost pile of chicken house litter, bunny doo, leaves and grass clippings. This is an experiment.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  2. kristin @ going country on June 8, 2011 at 6:31 am

    After weeks of rain that delayed planting, now we NEED some rain. I think we’ll get some today, though. I hope so, anyway, because watering the newly planted onion plugs and my tiny peppers with a watering can is a real drag.

    Squash and melons still to go in, but only after I steel myself for a battle with the sheep. I have to go into their pasture to muck out the barn for some nice manure straw for those heavy feeders, and the sheep always try to push through the gate when I go in there. Pushy little buggers. Good source of free fertilizer, though, so I put up with it.
    kristin @ going country´s last post ..Shoes at the Ready

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

    • Susy on June 8, 2011 at 10:55 am

      Our year is shaping up the same way – very wet in the spring and now dry and hot.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Kathi on June 8, 2011 at 6:50 am

    Garlic,shallots, tomatoes and broccoli all look good. My swiss chard which I put in as seed is growing,but not looking great.. This is usually one of the easiest things to grow. I tried a white variety. I think I will put in more but stick to the rainbow chard (which is beautiful anyway). Basil is just hanging out,but I find it is usually a slow starter.I have one more small bed to plant which I change every season. Usually it is a bed of annual flowers ie zinnias and sunflowers. This year I am going to try an attractive(I hope) mix of flowers and vegetables, since I ran out of room for kale,swiss chard annd peppers. Think I am going to put zinnias in back, purple cabbage on sides, swiss chard and kale in front of zinnias, and chilli peppers in the very front. Love that garden gate!!

    Reply to Kathi's comment

  4. Jaye Whitney on June 8, 2011 at 6:56 am

    We have had a bit of severe weather with an unusual amount of hail that damaged parts of the garden…sad to watch as it happened. So I’ve had to take some things out and replace them or put new things in their places.

    So some things are doing quite well and in advanced stages and some things are still beneath the ground or seedlings :)

    Reply to Jaye Whitney's comment

  5. Songbirdtiff on June 8, 2011 at 8:19 am

    I’ve been spending an hour or so weeding each day because we went straight from monsoon season to the surface of “hades season” . Great for my garden plants but unfortunately also great for the weeds. I’ve been spending an hour or so each day pulling up crabgrass and other weeds by the roots and yesterday I finished the last section (thanks to your tips!) Now it’s looking wonderful! This hot weather has really made my tomatoes take off, I have my first tom already (an early girl) and most surprising are how well my spaghetti squash plants are doing. I hope the season continues like this.

    I wrote a post with photos on my blog yesterday, if you want to hop over and see the whole update. I love having a healthy, pretty yard. :)

    Reply to Songbirdtiff's comment

  6. Daedre Craig on June 8, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Other than the extremely cool spring and the fact that everything planted before the last week is about two to three weeks behind, I think this year might be a good year too! I planted my tomatoes and peppers (and pretty much all my other transplants) last weekend…and it hasn’t rained since (and it has been ridiculously hot). Hopefully the dry hot weather is just passing through.
    Daedre Craig´s last post ..First Farmers Market Results

    Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

  7. Angela on June 8, 2011 at 10:40 am

    The strawberries, currants, and gooseberry are doing well, and the beans are coming up like crazy, but just about everything else is having a rough time, as it’s been a year of extremes within a very short period of time — we had snow into May, and then the temperature hit 103 yesterday, so anything depending on spring weather (like peas) is in bad shape. We did get the first honeyberries off our plants a few days ago, though, which was a nice surprise in what has been an otherwise disappointing spring. : )
    Angela´s last post ..May Day feels more like February Day this morning

    Reply to Angela's comment

    • Margaret on June 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm

      Angela,
      I have never heard of a honey berry. What are the berries like? Can you bake or make jam with them? Does anyone have info about these berries?
      Thank you for any info shared.
      Margaret´s last post ..Hen Pecked

      Reply to Margaret's comment

  8. Marcia on June 8, 2011 at 11:12 am

    We are having a cool spring here but the garden is still looking good. I put it in two weeks ago and my garlic two weeks before that. Everything is starting to poke up, radishes, spinach, beans and peas leading the way. I planted my peas (Green Arrow) in a wide row (as per Dick Raymonds the Joy of Gardening) as they usually fall prey to cutworms or rot in the soil and they are coming up beautifully. It will be nice to have some in the freezer this winter. My beans are popping up all over the place, the royal Burgundy variety coming up first, then the yellow then the green. I bought a three variety pack this year and was disappointed to receive an improved goldenwax(yellow) and improved tenderbush(green). The Soybeans still aren`t up at all but they were a test anyway. I`ll give them another week or two to pop up and then plant Kale in their place. I`ve also had great rhubard although it keeps wanting to flower.

    Reply to Marcia's comment

  9. MAYBELLINE on June 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Just planted more Borlotto Solista beans in my 3 Sisters area of the garden. Will post about it tonight.
    MAYBELLINE´s last post ..Espalier Growth

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  10. Debbie on June 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Everything seems to be doing quite well – our potatoes were only put in a month ago and yet they have been hilled twice and are STILL 8 inches tall. Tomatoes and peppers are starting to take off. The peas are all in bloom and looking gorgeous. Our mustard greens and lettuces are doing well but something is eathing the crap out of my radishes so I think I’ll just pull them. They are usually full size by now but they are still just little roots and little greens. We’ve harvested some strawberries already and our raspberris are starting to berry. Carrots are doing well as are the cucs and squash. The herbs are going crazy and the garlic is 18″ tall. I guess it’s going to be a good harvest this year despite the cold and wet spring. Question Susy, about your corn. I was always under the impression that you shouldn’t plant popcorn and regular corn near each other because if they cross pollinate, both crops will be ruined. What do you know about this? When will you plant your corn? Might still try to get some in. :)
    Debbie´s last post ..gathering on the green

    Reply to Debbie's comment

    • Susy on June 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm

      Cross pollination can affect the flavor of corn, especially sweet corn. Our corn will be planted with enough time in between so that we won’t have problems with cross-pollination. Since we’re planting the sweet corn late for a later harvest and the popcorn for a long season they won’t tassel at the same time and cross-pollination will not happen. We’ll also be planting a row of sunflowers in between just in case, although we won’t need it.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Debbie on June 9, 2011 at 12:06 am

        Of course. :) I figured the sunflowers were to protect the crops from cross pollination…but planning on different pollination times makes great sense. Thanks, Susy.
        Debbie´s last post ..gathering on the green

        to Debbie's comment

  11. elizabeth on June 8, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Will you stake or cage those tomato plants? It looks like you planted them outside the ladders, what will you use the ladders for?

    Reply to elizabeth's comment

    • Susy on June 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm

      We use the tomato ladders as supports and then use long poles in between them to make a long fence. Then the tomatoes are woven through the long poles. That way we don’t need to buy as many ladders as they’re quite expensive. They work beautifully for this purpose and stay strong all season long!

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • elizabeth on June 8, 2011 at 11:28 pm

        Thanks Susy. Please post a picture when you have the complete set-up in place.

        to elizabeth's comment

      • Kathi on June 9, 2011 at 6:19 am

        I would love to see a picture of that when they are big. I am always looking for the perfect tomatoe staking system and i already have the same ladders.

        to Kathi's comment

  12. Patricia on June 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Snow peas are fine, but not the sugar snap peas. Even with the 90+ degree weather, the lettuce is still holding up well. The tomatoes and potatoes are faring fine.

    Reply to Patricia's comment

    • Michele on June 8, 2011 at 9:57 pm

      My sugar snap peas are in terrible shape also. How everything is still alive after these temperature swings, hail, nasty thunderstorms amazes me.
      Michele´s last post ..Angry Plants…

      Reply to Michele's comment

  13. elizabeth on June 24, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Susy,
    Could you tell me more about your tomato support method? We’re just finishing up a greenhouse and I’m about to plant my tomato beds and need a staking method. Your way looks smart. I need to order some ladders, what size? What kind of poles do you use between the ladders? Do you use this method for indeterminate and determinate? Can I put the ladders up a week after I plant?
    Thank you!

    Reply to elizabeth's comment

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