Friday, May 21, 2010

An Incomplete Garden Tour

Hope this isn't awful, terrible boring to y'all. (My feelings won't be hurt if you X me out and go find something more interesting.) I'm posting these garden pics more for myself so I can look back in a month and say, "Well, golldang, it has actually grown some!"

Three 4 foot (crooked) rows of mizuna mustard in a raised bed. My seed was very old so I sowed it heavily thinking I might not get good germination. Guess the little seeds were still viable. (I got it thinned today.)

A 4 x 8' bed of onions. These will be our storage onions for this year. Starting to look like respectable onion tops.

Our bed of comfrey. It's big enough now to cut and throw some to the poultry, and put lots in the compost bins to add nitrogen and aid decomposition.

My big, ol' rhubarb plant. Love it!

A bed of lettuce, arugula, and spinach transplants from thinning another bed. On the far end are some onions I'll probably use as scallions.

Four cherry tomato plants under a cold frame. I didn't plant even one single regular sized tomato this year.

The four double rows of strawberries are looking lush and green.

The rule is one month from blossom to berry. If this holds true, our crop is going to come in about three weeks early this year.

Here we have four rows of potatoes; 2 white and 2 red. (Whadda ya mean you can't see 'em?)

The trellises we'd used for the past 12 years were made out of scrap lumber and chicken wire and were in such bad shape that we ceremoniously burned them last fall. Bit the bullet this spring and purchased some cattle panels for trellises. These should last us forever. I plant peas on either side of my trellises so I have approximately 64 feet of peas here. They look a lot like the potatoes, don't they? (Peas and potatoes were both planted this week.)

A snake's eye view of the pumpkin patch we planted out in a mixture of barley and oats this year hoping to improve the soil. We'll plow it under as a green manure crop as soon as it heads out. I wasn't going to plant pumpkins or squash this year, but now I'm thinking I may have room in the field garden for a little patch of each. (Please don't tell my husband; I promised him I was cutting back on the garden this year.)

Well, (anybody still with me?) that was a partial tour of the garden. More to come in the week ahead. I'll just bet you're all sitting on pins and needles waiting to see a picture of 1/16" carrot greens barely poking through the soil. Or wait! The beets may be even more exciting to see than that!


Katidids said...

It looks beautiful! So thick and lush. I am planning to plant my taters tomorrow in buckets. Its just to wet to chance the garden. What do you use the comfrey for besides the compost? I have a bit of space left if it helps! I love your raised beds. I think that is the way I'm leaning toward for next year. It has to help with the weeds!

Jo said...

Please post more garden photos! I won't tell your husband about the pumpkins.

How did you get your comfrey plants started? I have a small patch but i would like to expand it.

Your onions look beautiful! Much better than mine do right now. And the strawberries look great too. Mmm... Strawberries and cream. Mmmmm...

Leigh said...

Me! I loved the pictures. Everything is looking really good. I'm curious though about your allowing your barley & oats cover crop to head out. Won't that mean you'll be reseeding it?

Susan said...

Oh, Mama Pea! I have garden envy. I have two lone raised beds - one planted with garlic, coming along splendidly thanks to llama 'beans', and one I haven't even finished filling! Looking at pictures of your wonderful garden could never be boring! Keep them coming.

Erin said...

Well I for one AM on pins and needles for those carrot tops... I can't seem to grow them well at all here! NICE trellises, I have trellis envy! Glad you were able to get out and get everything started - seeds in the ground, woodshed full... WOW!

Anonymous said...

Looks fabulous Mama Pea! Wish mine was that lush. I just got mine in the garden this week, and looking kind of sad, but still alive :)

Bravo to you and hubby!!

Mama Pea said...

Hey, Katie - Ha! The thickest and lushest in the pics is the grass that is sadly overdue for cutting!

We feed the comfrey to our poultry. You can also use it (for us humans) in any way you would spinach but be sure to use only the new, small leaves. Otherwise, it will taste prickly and slightly mucilaginous. Also very good as a poultice for any kind of a wound.

I have very little problem with weeds in our raised beds 'cause I plant so intensively in them.

Hi, Jo - Hubby's aunt gave us our original comfrey roots waaaay back in the 60's. We dug up a few and moved them up here to MN with us in the 70's.

To expand a plant, just dig it up, cut it apart with the shovel into several pieces (depending on size of clump) and replant. I find it's hard to kill the stuff!

Hi, Leigh - I probably didn't say that right. We'll plow the barley/oats under as soon as they juuuust start to form heads. We won't let the seeds develop at all.

Hey, Susan - Thanks so much. I envy you your garlic! I've got to order some and get it planted this fall. I've avoided it for a couple of years now because I've had such awful luck getting it to dry for storage properly. But we eat a lot of garlic and it's getting SOOOO expensive to buy the organic stuff. NOTE TO SELF: Order garlic for fall planting.

Hey, Erin - I've still got a few things to get planted. Pickling cucs and beans for sure. The upcoming week looks on the warm side for us and the soil felt wonderfully warm yesterday so maybe I'll be big and brave and put them in a couple of weeks early.

Hi, Stephanie - Thank you, ma'am!
Even after all the years I've gardened, at this time of the year I'm still always afraid I won't have enough of a harvest. So I keep planting just a little more of this, a little more of that!

Melissa said...

Mama Pea, do yo plant onion bulbs or onion sets with tops? We planted sets and the vidalias don't do anything. The neighbor planted bulbs and hers look fab like yours! Your garden looks great-and huge!

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Melissa - I plant the bulbs. I've only tried the sets once. They were much more expensive and didn't do as well as the bulbs so I've stuck with the bulbs.

BUT what I really need to learn to do is start onions from seed. That's next on the list. That would be the most economical and self-sufficient! said...

Beautiful! Very lush and lovely. And like Erin, I have trellis envy. Mine this year are put together with rebar, scrap stakes, hay bale twine and that green trellis stuff that I found left in the garden shed.
Keep those photos coming! You have a captive audience :)

Jody M said...

Looks great, you are soooo far ahead of me. I haven't gotten in the beans yet, only have 2/3 of my tomatoes planted, and my onions don't look nearly as good as yours.

My peas just started blooming, though. Which ones? Little Marvel, of course! Love them. Radishes are ready to pull, but no carrots sprouted. Not one that I can see. I don't know why.

Kim said...

Tell me about comfrey and poultry. I just got started with chickens at our new farm in Oklahoma. Love your garden. We are already getting strawberries here, but our potatoes rotted this year.

Mama Pea said...

Thanks, Fiona. Could have sworn we did burn our old trellises last fall, but it sounds like you may have them now. ;o)

Hey, Jody - Just remember carrots take F-O-R-E-V-E-R to poke their little heads up. Don't give up hope. We've eaten the French Breakfast radishes which always mature first (planted more yesterday) and now the Easter Egg and Crunchy Royale are coming in like crazy.

I've been doing Lincoln peas 'cause I think they freeze so well, but I've grown Little Marvel a lot in the past.

Hi, Kim - Ouch! Sorry to hear about your potatoes.

Leigh over at 5 Acres & A Dream did a really good post about comfrey not long ago. Go to
The links at the end of the post have some good chicken/comfrey info in them.