Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Garden - 110529

Right now my little garden has a Death Sentence and is on The Green Mile.  One of the retaining wall concrete plates is cracked and bowing outward.  The elderly, and sometimes cranky, Dutch woman behind me is afraid that my three foot high wall will collapse and come crashing across the walkway and into her yard.  So my landlord has been notified of the problem and has come out to look.  He wants to replace the wall, which will require digging out most of my garden area.  I have an appeal pending and have asked for a delay of execution until the fall.  He hasn't said yes or no but I think (and have my fingers crossed for luck) that he will be willing to wait until the fall. In any case, a lot of hard work trying to improve the soil will be for naught when this is dug out and then backfilled when the new wall is done.

I was away most of the day today at an antique tractor show in Bochtol, Belgium.  But I did get into my garden to do some weeding and reseeding.  Between the birds and two cats (at least two that I know of) my garden is in sorry shape.  I have reseeded the new radish patch, scallion onion patch, and lettuce patch at least three times so far.  Each time I would come home from work to find it all dug up or scratched out.  After a lot of trial and error I think I have the netting pretty well pest proof.  But they are really determined pests and have squirmed their way in before when I thought it was well protected.

As you can see I have harvested about half of my first batch of radishes.  I take two, fresh, cut-up radishes to work each day to eat with my lunch.  It is a nice, spicy addition to whatever else I am eating.  Radishes are low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. They are also a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium, Copper and Manganese, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Folate and Potassium.  Two radishes a day are not going to solve any nutritional problem I might have but I do enjoy eating them and I am growing them basically for free.

I have some large onions that I could pick now but as they are green I would have to eat the whole thing in just a few days.  I do eat a lot of onions but for now I am waiting until I cook something that will take a whole onion, cut up.  I am looking forward to it because the onions I grew last year were seriously strong.  These will be great in a stir fry or stew.  This group has grown the largest but there are about ten more growing along the back of the garden; much slower though because there is more shade in the back.

As you can see in this photo the lettuce patch on the right was damaged but a lot of it is coming back.  As I mentioned in an earlier posting I rarely eat iceberg lettuce anymore, at least not if I have to buy it.  What I have growing here is a type of Butterhead lettuce.  Butterhead lettuce is a crisp, loosely formed head lettuce.  This lettuce is low in Sodium, and has no fat or Cholesterol at all. It is a good source of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron, Potassium and Manganese.  The spring onion bed on the left was almost totally wiped out.  It has been reseeded but the bed was so disturbed I don't know how it will do.  There are about 8-10 plants from the first seeding that survived the animals.  Next weekend I am going to do some additional planting in another area of the garden.

The green bean plants that withstood the various animal pests are doing pretty good.  I expect to see some flowers in this coming week or next week at the latest.  I have repeatedly reseeded the gaps in the plants but either they aren't germinating or the bird pulled and ate the sprouts.  So I reseeded them today as well.  It is still very cool at night and the soil might be a little too cool for the beans to germinate; I'm not sure.  This will only be about sixteen plants in this particular patch but that will be more than enough to supply me with a couple side-dishes a week once they start coming in.  That is, presuming I get some pollinators in the garden.  I have only seen one bee so far.  A few of my flowers are starting to blossom so hopefully that will bring in the bees.

My two pepper plants are coming along nicely.  The one on the right is not as dark a green as I would like to see.  I never tested this soil but considering the amount of wood chips and wood-based compost that I put in it I think I can presume it is low in Nitrogen.  Yellowish leaves are often a sign of nitrogen deficiency.  So I am treating the symptom.  I mulched both pepper plants and the tomato plant with some recovered potting soil and broken up root refuse.  In the winter I salvaged a thrown out plant that was completely root bound.  I cut all the roots back to the main stem of the plant and shook the roots and soil into a bin I use for gardening.  I let it dry and then chopped it all up.  I have done this before and found that a tremendous amount of salvageable plant nutrients are tied up in the roots and the soil attached to them.  This mulch will serve two purposes.  First, it is a mulch to keep down weeds, maintain moisture, and keep the plants clean from splashing ground water (a common cause of fungal problems).  Secondly, it will slowly release nutrients into the soil surrounding the plants to feed them in an organic manner.  We shall see.

I have twenty flowering plants planted in and around the garden.  Beneficial insects need places to live and food sources.  I almost always plant Marigolds in and around my vegetable gardens.  The good bugs like them and the bad bugs hate the smell.  Planting Marigolds between your bean plants, for example, is one of the best natural defenses against pests.  Even rabbits don't particularly like them.  There is a very good technique called, "Companion Planting" that I try to observe and use.  Companion planting is using the natural likes and dislikes of plants to your advantage.  Some plants do not like to be grown near certain other plants and some plants are beneficial to certain other plants.


So that is the status of my garden this week.  With a little luck the birds and cats will stay out of my garden and my other plants will thrive.  I have only about one more week's worth of radishes and then will have to wait for the next patch to come in.

1 comment:

  1. My garden is doing okay considering how late it went in. I have some green tomatoes on 2 plants. The peppers look about like yours. My beans, carrots and onions went in late and that night we had a hard rain so I am not sure how they will fair. Something loves my cucumbers. Everyone has been eaten down to a stem. I will try them again. I think it is too late for lettuce since we are experiencing 90+ degree days. We went from frost to hot temps., seems like. My flowers are doing well. I did notice that only my yellow irises came up. I wonder if the bulbs to the other colors taste more appetising to the voles. I can not keep a tulip bulb in the yard because of the rascals. Got any recipes for cooked vole? LoL