Several years ago, friends of ours taught us how to grow potatoes under mulch. Much easier, I thought, than hilling up the potatoes with dirt in the old traditional method. This year, the Idea Man (that would be my husband) suggested I do a side-by-side experiment to see which method gave us the better yield. So here are two rows under straw mulch and two under dirt. Should be interesting to see how this little trial test comes out. Me, I'm rooting for the mulch to be the winner . . . so much easier than hilling.
These are my two rows of shelling peas that have a ways to go climbing their trellis. They're just starting to blossom. I know some people feel shelling peas are "so much trouble" in that after harvesting you have to sit and, well, shell each and every pod. But by the time the peas are ready to harvest and freeze, I'm ready for any sit-down job. Besides, ya just can't beat the taste of fresh frozen peas in February.
Here's Roy holding up the shade cloth lid on a bed of radishes that is just days away from harvest. Radishes are a cool weather crop so need some shade provided during the hot weather and long days of sunshine, sunshine, sunshine. Interestingly enough, our radishes continually get praises from the kitchen staff at the restaurant. They say they've never seen such beautiful radishes. And here I had always thought a radish was a radish was a radish. Go figure.
This is a section of our strawberry patch. The plants are loaded with oodles of green berries. Actually, I found the first totally ripe one day before yesterday. Just one, mind you, but I know there will be lots more soon. In our locale, the first batch of ripe berries usually appears close to July 4th. I haven't had enough of a crop for the past couple/few years to make jam (Roy's favorite . . . slathered on rye bread, of course, Bohemian boy that he is) so this year we'll eat our fill of fresh berries first, and then instead of freezing most of the crop for our winter's use in smoothies, I'm gonna make a couple batches of jam, I am!
This is a shot peeking into one of our new cold frames. The cold frames we made to use over the garden beds when we first moved here eleven years ago are seriously falling apart so it's time to make new ones. We're experimenting using different materials (ANYthing lighter, puleeze!) and sizes. These are cherry tomato plants that are very happy in their new confines. Last year we had more than we could eat and/or give away but this year we've been assured the restaurant will take every little ruby nugget we can provide.
Here are two of the new big cold frames sitting on beds with one of the old models sandwiched in between. There are cherry tomatoes growing like crazy in the old, shorter cold frame but the plants are already bumping their heads on the top when it's closed.
A picture of my happy cabbages. They're just starting to form teeny-tiny heads. You can perhaps notice the ground underneath them looks green. I had just mulched with fresh grass clippings. It holds the moisture, keeps the cabbages clean when it rains (no mud splashes), discourages the weeds and enriches the garden soil.
This was taken from the top of our yard overlooking one of the three rows of garden beds with the field garden farther on down. The white cylinders are another experiment this year for growing tomatoes. So far, for a couple of reasons, it's been a bust. But stay tuned, we're not giving up on it yet.
I took this so I would have a "before and after" picture to post. This is obviously the "before." The line of fuzzy plants on the right is 35 feet of cosmos that are going to soon bloom with luxuriant blossoms and be a spectacular sight . . . I hope. The start of the strawberry patch is on the left.
The fence trellis (bare though it still is) on the left here is for my pickling cucumbers. If you look very closely, you can see the little guys just poking up on either side of the trellis. I LOVE making pickles.
The tepee trellis (bare again) has morning glories planted around its base. Will they make it to bloom this season? Dunno. I started seeds inside this spring, too early (drat), and the plants wound around each other (and anything else within reach) before I could get them outside. A friend and Master Gardener told me they wouldn't make it transplanted outside after having gotten so big outside. And ya know what? She was right. Hence, the new seeds planted around my garden trellis.
Last but not least, here's Zoey our faithful dog companion sitting in front of Roy's favorite flower bed. If Zoe looks a little less than chirky-perky, it's because she had just tangled with some of our honey bees, gotten stung several times, and was not a happy camper. We were actually a little concerned as she did seem quite uncomfortable (swelling and lumps on her belly) so we gave her a dose of Apis and happily she was right as rain the next morning. Moral of story: Bees get angry when you try to catch and eat them.