Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Look at Some of the Raised Beds

I grow slicing cucumbers and peppers in a raised bed covered with a cold frame because of our frequent "cool" nights.


The cucumbers are just starting to trail off wanting to escape their "cage."  As you can see, it will still be a while before we're eating crispy, crunchy sliced cukes.  (Darn.  I'm always so eager for them!)


This is a new Italian sweet pepper I'm trying this year.  I was surprised to find three nice peppers already formed on this plant (obviously an early achiever), but they have to turn yellow, orange or red before they're ripe.


In my book, a bed of red and green lettuce is beautiful.  Yummy, too!  (Whenever I look at red/bronze colored lettuce, I remember when we had the restaurant and  a new assistant cook [a college student] was accepting an order of produce.  She nearly refused a case of red lettuce because she thought it was green lettuce gone bad!)


I always grow two zucchini plants in a hill in the center of a raised bed with nasturtiums on either side.  It's too soon yet for any zucchinis to appear or the nasturtiums to blossom.  (Did you know you can eat nasturtium blossoms?  Beautiful in a tossed salad.)


Kinda curious . . . my sugar snap peas (edible podded) each year blossom and bear a couple of weeks before my shell peas.  This year the shell peas are covered with blossoms, but the sugar snap peas have yet to produce one single blossom.  Hmmmmm . . . ?


A whole 4' x 8' raised bed was planted to borage because it's supposed to be a good plant for honey bees.  This area is not farm country (understatement of the day) so we don't have fields of blossoms from which our bees can collect nectar.  They have to make do with any wild flowers or cultivated blossoming plants they can find.  These borage plants should grow 18" to 30" tall so even though they're looking good they have a ways to go before producing their showy blue flowers.


Although these everbearing strawberries I'm experimenting with aren't grown in a raised bed, I've slipped them in with this post.


The plants are healthy and they are just now starting to bear well.  (Even though they're touted as bearing before the June bearing plants.  Hrumpf.)  I picked a bowlful weighing three pounds of them yesterday.  Nice big berries, but they still don't have much of any strawberry flavor . . . and are a titch on the sour side.  Papa Pea suggested I make jam with them this year, and tear them out at the end of the season.

The June bearing strawberries (all three varieties) are producing well.  (And are flavorful!)  As of yesterday's harvest, I've gotten a total of 59 pounds and 14 ounces from them.  Not too shabby! 

25 comments:

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Amazing and it all looks so good. I like the idea of nasturtiums in with the squash. Beautiful plants, looks like a good harvest coming (already here with the strawberries). Happy gardening ahead.

Fiona said...

The strawberry season here is long gone and we already miss them a lot...we do have a good supply preserved but I do have to ration myself! Lovely gardens!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

You have such a beautiful garden :) happy gardening!

Vera said...

What a lovely garden you have, and so much tidier than ours!

Annie's Journal said...

Your lettuce is a work of art... do you harvest them on cut and come again basis, or pull them as a whole plant at one go? Mine never get to that stage...they always seems to bolt and become so leggy right away!!

Sue said...

Your lettuce is gorgeous. I tore mine out yesterday. We had a bout of mid 80's and it was toast. Nineties the next couple days....so I'm sure the Sugar Snaps are history as well. ....

Laurie said...

I've been enjoying my cucumbers for quite a while now. They just keep producing and we keep enjoying. I planted one zucchini and that plant has taken over a 4 X 4 raised bed. Although the plant is huge, it's only giving me about one zucchini a week. My tomato and okra are producing great, also. I really thought the garden would be finished about now, but it looks like it's related to the energizer bunny. I'm starting to get concerned, though, because we leave for Colorado in a couple of weeks and I don't want anything to go to waste. Have you ever picked tomatoes while still green and let them ripen then?

Mama Pea said...

JoAnn - The garden is really starting to burst forth (finally!). I even spotted (flat) shell pea pods yesterday!

Mama Pea said...

Fiona - Don't you wish the strawberries would just keep producing all summer? We aren't tired of eating them fresh yet, but that time may come!

Mama Pea said...

Op Ex - Thank you for saying so!

Mama Pea said...

Vera - Well, a garden doesn't have to be "tidy" to produce. It's just all how we each do it!

Mama Pea said...

Annie - I usually harvest the lettuce on a cut and come again basis, but they're starting to get away from me right now so I may pull out every other plant to feed to the poultry. 'Course, this time of year they have so much greenery to eat they sometimes turn up their noses (beaks?) at garden produce. (Gotta get goats again!)

Mama Pea said...

Sue - Yepper, those high temps just kill the greens deader than a door nail! Yesterday I finally spotted two blossoms on my sugar snap peas. Wa-hoo!

Mama Pea said...

Laurie - I've been salivating over your cukes for weeks now! ;o)

When I've been silly enough to try to grow big tomatoes here (sigh) I used to harvest the green ones (before frost got them), wrap each one individually in newspaper, lay them out in flat boxes, check them every Saturday morning and remove the ripe ones. They lasted (and ripened) a long time that way. Unfortunately, they never tasted like vine ripened ones, but they were as good as ones bought in the store. Might be worth a try if you think you'll miss them while you're gone.

Susan said...

Wait one darn minute! Where are your weeds? There's nary a weed to be found! It ain't natural. :) I just discovered a tiny squash plant and you'd think I'd found gold!

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Death to all weeds! Bwha-ha-ha! That's why I mulch with grass clippings so extensively. They hold in moisture, keep the weeds smothered out and by the end of the season, they has literally disappeared into the soil and enriched it.

Was it a volunteer squash plant? If so, you can bet it will be darn healthy and produce like crazy!

Michelle said...

So you used to have a restaurant? That explains a lot about your tasty growing, cooking, and preserving!

I looked and LOOKED for those Italian sweet peppers (I've also seen them called Spanish sweet peppers) and NO one had any starts this year. They are SO GOOD.

Our snap peas are going great guns; had some in fried rice (along with the first turnips and turnip greens) last night.

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - I started my Italian sweet peppers from seed I got from the Sustainable Seed Company. They were good seeds as I got 100% germination on them. They're called Organic Sweet Sunset Italian Pepper. In the past I've purchased containers of the peppers at our local co-op, but have been disappointed in the lack of flavor. I'm sure these from the garden will be much better.

Your snap peas in fried rice (husband loves fried rice!) sounds wonderful. My snap peas are getting drenched with rain today so maybe that will encourage them to get growing!

Rain said...

Is that new profile photo you flopped in the garden? That gave me a giggle :) I'm SO SO SO jealous of your beautiful strawberries Mama Pea. Even though I netted mine, the squirrels got ALL of the red ones that were nearly ready to pick, sigh. They chewed through the netting and just bit into most of them and discarded them to rot. I've been taking the plant in every night now, that and the lemon tree. I may have to think about a closed/screen in garden next year, or maybe even a greenhouse if I can manage to make one.

Your lettuce looks so amazing as everyone pointed out! I didn't have room for that this year, but my tomatoes are looking good, as are all of my herbs! Next year I'd love to do snap peas as well, and maybe snow peas. My bf loves fried rice as well, I'd love to have fresh ones from the garden!

Is there a way you can photograph your entire garden or is it just too vast? I love seeing it, I'd love to see a panoramic shot of everything together so I can be more jealous, lol...or more motivated! :)

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

Your garden beds are beautiful, they look so immaculate. Jealous over here!!!

Hugs to you and yours,
Sandy

Mama Pea said...

Rain - Oh, that is SO frustrating when you can't keep the critters away from the crops you've worked so hard to raise! Last year an unusually large bunch of robins took 90% of our blueberry crop from us. I coulda' cried!

I can get some pictures from the window in my hubby's office of the gardens below and I will try to do that and post them soon. Thanks for the reminder to do so.

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - No need to feel jealous, m'dear. Soon, when you get settled in your "permanent" spot, you will be able to have just the garden you want, too!

Laurie said...

Great idea!!! Thank you! I will definitely try that.

Kristina said...

Wow, it all looks great. I have put calendula petals in my salads. My peas vines are very short this year. The lack of rain has stunted my zinnias and most never even came up this year. Kind of sad about that, but mother nature has her own mind.

Mama Pea said...

Thanks, Kristina. I thought my pea vines were going to be stunted this year, too, even though we've had plenty of rain. But in the last few days they seem to have put on a growth spurt. If only we could all get just the right amount of moisture . . . not too much as you had last year, but not too little as you're struggling with this year!