Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Garden is Planted! (2012 Garden Update #3)

vegetable garden
It's hard to get your garden planted when you're off driving around the West, but the garden is finally planted!

When I'm on a trip, I work hard before I leave so that recipes can still appear on the blog, so readers might not realize that I've been off on a long road trip to visit my brother, visit a nephew and his family, see my friend Cheryl, and most of all to speak at Camp Blogaway (which I highly recommend, especially for relatively new bloggers.)  The weather in Utah got warm very early this year, so I did plant most of my garden before I left.  Since I've been back I managed to finish the planting and had good intentions of getting the garden nicely weeded before I took photos for the blog, but the rain gods made short work of that plan.  The garden loved the rain though, so here's what I'm growing in my garden this year, weeds and all!  Above is an early morning shot of the garden space just as the sun is peeking over the trees that are on the east side in my neighbor's yard.

For the last two years I battled tomato blight in the two tomato beds next to my deck, and after discussing options several times with the experts at Western Gardens (who have no idea I'm giving them a little shout-out here), I decided my best option was to grow tomatoes somewhere else for a year.  So this year I have three clumps of Sweet Slice cucumbers growing on the east side of my deck steps. 

The longer bed on the other side of the steps has two zucchini, two eight ball zucchini, one straightneck yellow squash,  and one scallop squash.   I know this will be a mass of green when all this squash gets producing, and I'll probably need to trim the dead leaves more often with them growing here, but I think the squash will love this sunny location.

So what happened to the tomatoes?  It was starting to get too sunny to get a good shot of this, but  I planted two tomatoes at the end of my four 10 foot wide beds, with an extra tomato in front of that in a couple of them.

When it comes to gardens, I'm a little bit traditional and a little bit adventurous.  One tomato I plant every year is Celebrity, which does well in Utah.  This is a medium sized red tomato, good for salads and very disease-resistant.

And of course I have to have my Green Zebras!   These two are from the garden center, but I also have a smaller one in another bed grown from seed by my brother-in-law Clayton, who's a great gardener.

For the first time ever I found San Marzano tomatoes at the garden center this year!  This is a type of tomato that's used for making sauce and I'm excited to use them to make Slow Roasted Tomatoes!

In the final bed the sun was really getting in my way, so ignore the blown-out photo on the left.  This bed has a Lemon Boy (my favorite yellow tomato), a Big Boy Tomato (from Clayton, started from seed), and my favorite tomato for sandwiches, a Brandywine tomato (also from Clayton.)

This year I decided to plant my seeds going along the watering pipes, even though there are only holes in the pipe at certain spots.  The French Green Beans didn't seem to mind.

However, the  Green Kale was a bit pickier about coming up only where there was water!  I'm waiting a few more days, but I may have to try planting more seeds in a few spots.  (Some of those plants are weeds, but the clump on the left is kale.)

I had the same problem with the seeds for the Red Russian Kale, and also the Swiss Chard, which I forgot to take a photo of!  (Follow that link to see my friend Susan's gorgeous Swiss Chard.)  Luckily these plants do need some space between them.  (In the fall I'm going to plant some Lacinato Kale seeds that my brother gave me, but I decided it's too hot to start them now.)

This year I'm experimenting with this Bush Delicata Squash, a winter squash type I haven't grown before.  Even though it's a bush type, I'll probably have to work to keep it contained to this long narrow space.

I've experimented with different types of eggplant, but I've settled on Ichiban Eggplant as my favorite (no peeling or salting!) and I have four of them.

Every year I struggle with bell peppers, but I keep trying and this year I bought Sweet Horizon Bell Peppers, which are promising "thick-walled peppers that ripen to orange."  Fingers crossed, I have three of these plants!

I'm also excited about growing these Poblano Peppers, and if all three plants do well I'll have a lot of salsa and maybe some Chile Rellenos in my future.  (This is the pepper that's called Ancho when it ripens and is roasted.)

I also have Watermelon Radishes and Sparkler Radishes that I planted when I got home, but they haven't come up yet.  I'll talk about those another time, along with the herbs, which are growing like mad. 

Blogger Disclosure:
All links to commercial seed sites or gardening sites are merely to illustrate that type of plant and are not an endorsement of that business or website.  I would never accept paid links, so none of these companies have any idea I am linking to them.

Who Else Has Garden News?
If you're also growing a garden, let us know in the comments about what's been planted at your house.  (You can see all my Garden Updates since 2006 or the 2012 Garden Updates if you'd like to find out more about my garden.)
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26 comments:

  1. Your garden looks great, Kalyn! Tomatoes did nothing for us last year and despite moving, we've abandonned them in favour of easy-to-grow greens. I hope the collards and kale live up to their hype. ;) Herbs a plenty, too, which is what I yearn for each summer. :)

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  2. I wish I had a green thumb, but alas, I do not. Your garden looks like it will be a good one this year. =)

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  3. I'd like to hear more about your actual garden beds, and perhaps they have been in an earlier post. I have a back yard that I can't dig down in (Asphalt 3 inches down) and I really dig your raised beds. Looks like there is also a watering system in there. Would love to see a "How-To" on that. Thanks, and great blog you've got here!!!

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  4. Janet, my condolences on the tomatoes but I really love my garden kale.

    Stephanie, I do think gardening is a skill you can learn, but I killed a lot of plants in the process.

    Jim, if you click the tab "Gardening" at the top of the blog there are posts from previous years about how my brother built the beds, and then how the sprinklers/gravel was installed. I paid someone to do the irrigation system and gravel so I can't tell all about how they did it, but there are a lot of photos of the process.

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  5. Nice to hear about your well planned garden. I am a rookie; I had a dozen or so tomato plants last year and this year have early, cherry and heirloom tomatoes started as well as eating and pickling cucumbers and kohlrabi. Seeds for the rest; carrots, radishes and greens. We are planning a "Square Foot Garden" which uses peat moss, compost and vermiculite. It is still pretty cool here (Montana) but in the next couple of weeks we should be set to go! I read the recipes every day, Thanks!

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  6. I love my garden, but I know I could get a lot more out of it if I were more careful. In Alabama, it's easy to go an extra day without watering and accidentally kill a plant. The years we have water restrictions are especially hard. Last year I put in soaker hoses, and they made a *huge* difference.

    This year I have tomatoes (two Cherokee purple, a black cherry, a grape tomato, a red cherry and a Big Boy), 4 zucchini, 2 bell peppers (green & red), strawberries (they're already finished for the year), thyme, 4 basil plants, oregano & parsley. I do spinach & kale in the early spring and will do them again in the fall. I'll also probably do radishes & carrots in the fall/early winter.

    Can't wait for another garden update - it's very inspiring!

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  7. As always, I'm completely envious of your garden. This year, I put in four tomatoes: sungold, sweet 100, Roma and Early Girl. I hope there will be enough for us and for the chipmunks! In the herb garden, I have perennial thyme, lemon thyme, sage, tarragon and two types of chives. My rosemary overwintered this year, for the first time, thanks to a very mild winter. And today we planted flat-leaf parsley, basil, dill, and Italian oregano. We also put in some nasturtium, which I love to use in salad.

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  8. Nice looking garden!

    I agree that you needed to move the tomatoes to somewhere else - rotating crops is a good idea to keep blights and other diseases from building up in any one area.

    Are you planning on staking your indeterminate tomatoes? I think they're going to overwhelm your little cages once they get going later on.

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  9. So fun hearing what other people are growing. I really need to try those black cherry tomatoes one of these years.

    Nate, I am hoping I can grow the tomatoes by the deck most years, but this year I really needed to move them. The tomato cages are definitely not little. I have used them without staking for several years, no problem. I do trim the tomatoes when they get loaded with fruit.

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  10. Your garden looks amazing! My mouth is watering just thinking about all the fresh veggies that will come out of it. We don't have much space but we have 3 planter boxes that we have planted cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, beets, cilantro, basil & parsley. I'm learning as I go but I'm hopeful for a good harvest this year!

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  11. Kalyn, Your garden is fantastic!!! I am insanely jealous. I have been doing well with my lettuces, kale, chard and asian greens but surprisingly my rosemary and thyme are not doing well. I was out there today cleaning everything up and plan to plant some tomatoes, cucumber, basil and cilantro tomorrow! Exciting :)

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  12. Your garden is beautiful!! Here in North Florida it has been hot for a while, we have been harvesting tomatoes for a few weeks now. There is definitely nothing tastier than a ripe tomato warmed by the sun - I harvest and eat right at the plant sometimes. I do so agree that gardening is a skill you can learn, and each year Mother Nature makes sure you get to learn new ones. :-)

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  13. Andrea, sounds to me like you have all the "must haves" in your garden!

    Thanks Sheila. Don't know what to recommend for rosemary and thyme, but plants can be touchy sometimes. Sounds like you'll have a good garden when you're done.

    Francie, so jealous that you have tomatoes already. I agree, there are lessons every year in the garden!

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  14. I'm quite envious of your well organized and beautiful garden! I too use raised bed methods for mine, but I only have a tiny space on the side of my house for growing.

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  15. Wendy, I do feel very lucky to have such a good space (and thanks to all the family members who have helped get it to this state through the years!)

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  16. Hi Kalyn,

    Your garden is looking good!

    I'm in the midst of getting mine planted... should be complete in a couple of days.

    Bruno

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  17. Bruno I'm excited to see what you grow this year now that your garden is enclosed!

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  18. Great update, Kalyn! I've finally got photos to post and am planning a garden update soon. The climate where I live (coastal northern California) does not support tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or basil - all the vegetables that I love, but I do grow garlic, onions, all kinds of lettuce, potatoes ( yes!, potatoes!), kale, Chard, peas and, new this year, artichokes. All this will appear on my garden blog soon. I envy you your Mediterranean spread!

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  19. Your vegetable garden looks exquisite already, Kalyn. I am planting this week...lots of tomatoes and herbs. I may turn over my raised flower bed into a vegetable garden. My overzealous spring clear out landscapers cleaned out all my perennials too.
    Happy growing!

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  20. Christine, I think artichokes sound like a lot of fun! May have to try them next year.

    Wanda, that's kind of sad about the flowers, but I bet you'd love having a whole bed for a garden.

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  21. How beautiful! I'm such a novice when it comes to home gardens, and frankly, my track record for growing things on my own has not been great. I'm hoping my little kitchen herb garden I just planted gets about 10 percent of your vegetable garden karma!

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  22. What a ridiculously pretty backyard and garden! Love it. I hope you're out there with some iced tea or a cocktail every single night. :)

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  23. So far my garden continues to be a mixed bag; my jalepenos are starting to give off the impression that they'll be prodigious, and the strawberries are startign to come in strong, but the tomato plants are getting huge without actually starting to show signs of tomatoes, and all my radishes died. I don't know what is happening with the squash or peas; results are inconclusive.

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  24. John I have my fingers crossed for your tomatoes!

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  25. Your garden looks great, Kalyn! I always enjoy these updates. I think you'll be really glad you rotated the tomatoes. Planting another fast growing veggie like arugula or lettuce in between tomato crops can help with soil diseases too.

    Thanks for the Swiss chard shout out. You know I'm on a one farmgirl mission to get everybody growing (and eating) this wonderful stuff! :)

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  26. Thanks Susan. I'm really looking forward to having Swiss Chard this summer!

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