We have moved on to our own house with a great big yard. We ave continued using the same containers that we put in the border beds as well as 4 raised bed gardening systems.This means we have A LOT of room to garden, it’s almost more than I can handle ( I have 34 tomato plants, what was I thinking??). Most of the time I am just interested in growing edible things but the previous homeowners left me a yard full of beautiful roses, lilacs and many other perennials that I will need advice to care for. I have had a hard time finding beginner gardening info in books an online. They all use terms that are not necessarily clear if you are a true beginner. Pruning roses is still a mystery and I wish someone would just post a video! I am better with visuals and non-technical terms when I am new at something so I will do my best to help anyone else out there giving this gardening thing a first try. Here is whats growing and going on…
In the Spring we had : Crocuses, tulips, daffodils, lily of the valley and then lilacs. The lilacs have a white moldy looking powder on the leaves now and I sprayed them with an organic ( hopefully safe?) solution for downy mildew. I hope that’s what it is! Does anyone know if the bushes should be pruned?
The Crocuses were the first thing to pop their heads out of the frozen ground…
We have two light purple lilacs
And a darker one too
Sugar Snap Peas: Love these, and had them growing up until the first week in July here in New York. They started to yellow a bit and produce less pods and I needed the room for summer crops in their pots. This year I planted 6 plants up a bamboo teepee trellis in a large container. They did much better than in the old house where I don’t think they got enough sun. I like to use zip ties instead of the twist ties to hold things up, it takes half the time and they really stay. They are easy to slip off as well when you are finished.
This was a new one for me this year and I really enjoyed in soups and lots of other things. I bought 6 plants and planted 4 in 1 large container and 2 in another. The ones with more room got bigger but if you lack space you can squeeze 4 in. By June they started to ”bolt” which means instead of leaves they produced a long shoot up the middle. I cut them down a few times to trick the plant into to giving me more leaves but by late June I pulled them out and planted summer crops. Here is picture of when they were babies :c).
Lettuces: This is my all time favorite thing to grow. It’s so delicious and ten times better than what you can buy. I prefer the black seeded simpson variety as well as the pointy one you see in there. It usually comes as a mix of “cut and come again” lettuces from my garden store. I have not found out the name. The mesclun greens are kind of stringy and don’t grow as hearty. I stay away from lettuces that you have to grow the head before harvesting. The cut and come again varieties keep coming back. They didn’t do well for me in the heat last year and they started to bolt and wilt in the sun. I am going to try to hold on to them as long as possible but cutting them back and giving them shade. I would love to have them through the fall. My store only sells them in the spring so I bought seeds and I have been planting them in the little pods containers since May. I am going to try to plant the new seedlings through the summer and see if they will live. I am kind of stingy when it comes to giving plants room, I shoved 4 or 5 baby plants into my containers this year and they did fine. I’m greedy with my space and try to squeeze in as much as possible.
Kale: This was my first year with Kale and it was really easy. I didn’t use it as much as I should but I pulled leaves from it a few times and they came back. I also kept cutting the flowers that grew on top to keep the plant from “going to seed” which means it will stop growing leaves. I am going to try to grow this from seed again in the fall. I kept it going until the first week of July, it yellowed a little after some hot days but a good watering and it came back for me a few times. I gave it a pot of its own because it was a pretty big plant to begin with when I bought it.
Swiss Chard: I was able to grow rainbow swiss chard all through the summer last year and since its a cool weather plant I had it up until Thanksgiving! I love this buttery leafy green vegetable a million different ways. Its pretty low maintenance but in the heat give it good water otherwise it wilts. Shade it the hot summer sun doesnt hurt for half of the day also. I give these plants some room to grow because their leaves get huge! I usually go 2 to a container pot.
Carrots and Beets: As of July, they still aren’t ready. I think I have made the same mistake two years in a row by not giving them enough room. We’ll see, I am going to give them more time. The last time I pulled a carrot it was big on top and through the middle but half the length it should be. They are a spring vegetable but I find that since they take so long to mature its hard to dedicate a spot in the garden for them because they wont be ready when you are ready to plant summer crops like tomatoes. Thats why I tried shoving them all together in a pot this year and hoped for the best! Next year I will have the room and will give them more space.
All photos on this page taken by Loretta Miles. Copyright 2010