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Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Organic Garden

I have been wanting to have a garden for ages now. For some reason or another, I just haven't been able to get a garden started over the past several years - until this year! I am quite pleased to have been able to build two 4'x8' raised beds and have repurposed the existing 4'x12' flower bed. I decided that I wanted to have an organic garden this year, so all the seeds are organic and I am using organic fertilizer and organic pest control measures as needed. While most of my plants are doing quite well, I am having a few issues with the plants in one of the garden beds.

Bed 1 - 4'x12'  Planted on June 29
I planted this one a little later than I had planned. June became quite a busy month for us, so the garden was put on the back burner for a bit. In this bed I have green head lettuce (something similar to bibb lettuce but I can't recall the variety and I'm too lazy to go downstairs to find the packet right now), purple potatoes, white potatoes, red head lettuce (see parentheses above for green lettuce) and some watermelon plants down n the very end.

These are the purple potatoes - looking good!

White potatoes.

Bed #2 - 4'x8' Planted the week of May 23rd
It has sugar snap peas, bell peppers in a variety of colors, purple beans and green beans. My poor green beans took some serious damage early on from bean leaf beetles. I haven't been sure if they were going to survive but they are really starting to get a lot of new leaf growth and some new flowers. I initially got a tiny harvest of about 20 beans from them so it looks like they aren't giving in to the beetles! The purple beans have tons of flowers on them so I can't wait to get some yummy beans from them. The snap peas have a few beans and a lot more flowers coming out now. I think I need to rethink my support for the pea plants though. I also noticed a few flower buds starting on one of my pepper plants! Laural is most excited about this because peppers are her favorite veggie. The neat thing about these peppers is that the seeds all came mixed together so the color of peppers on each of the plants will be a surprise.

Our budding pepper plant and Laural's head excitedly checking out her future peppers.

Bed #3 - 4'x8'  Planted June 9th
This is my sad and pathetic looking garden bed. I'm honestly not sure what is going on with it. It has cucumbers, a couple leftover pepper plants, broccoli, and zucchini. The cucumbers are the worst looking of the bunch. They are barely growing and the stems look like something has stripped it. The plants have flowers on them but they seem to die and fall off before anything happens. I've been doing some reading but I can't figure out what to do to make them better. I guess it's watch and see for now. The pepper plants are healthy looking but staying small. The broccoli seem to be growing well for now. I need to thin them out a little now but I am so paranoid that I will manage to leave behind the worst plants and end up with no broccoli. The zucchini seem to change on a daily basis. One day they are looking great and I am feeling optimistic about them. The next day they look pathetic. For some reason, I thought the zucchini and cucumbers were going to be the no-brainer plants in my garden but they are giving me the hardest time.

My pathetic cucumbers.

 An up close pic of the cucumber stems. They are splitting open length-wise and the leaves are yellowing and dying. I can't seem to find any information on what could be causing this. Anyone have any idea? I welcome any thoughts, ideas & suggestions. I expect them to all be pretty much dead within a few days. I am expecting to have to pull them all out. I don't know if I have enough time to plant new seeds and still get a crop by the end of the season.

The zucchini which is looking half decent today. It has some flower buds but I so far, all my zucchini flowers seem to come up missing shortly after opening so I really don't have high hopes for them right now.

Bed #4 - 4'x8'  Never planted and currently a weedy, brambly mess.
A large blackberry bush is at the center of this garden bed. There is also a small quaking aspen (I think) that shot up quickly over the past couple years in this bed. This is the bed that the Kids' Enchanted Garden is against. I had planned to clear everything out of this bed except the tree and plant carrots and beets in it but when I saw how many potential berries we were going to have, I let it be. I plant to prune back the bush this fall and relocate it so we can use the bed for veggies. An interesting fact is that this bush magically found it's way to this garden bed. When we moved here, the bed had several different flowers & decorative plants in it. We pretty much neglected the flower bed, letting them become a haven for weeds and grasses. The tree and blackberry bush were not there when we moved in. We are guessing that a bird may have deposited the blackberry seed in the bed. Possibly the same scenario with the tree as well since we don't appear to have any other aspen trees nearby. Not sure if we are going to let the tree continue or not.


Laural holding our daily berry harvest. The kids tend to pick them just a hair early sometimes.

Bed #5 Not really a garden bed, it's a planter. Planted week of May 23.

This is an upside down, elevated tomato planter that we bought a couple years ago. We bought organic tomato plants but they didn't do very well. They grew nice and long but we only ever got one flower and it died without producing fruit. This year, I gave up on the upside down planting and used the top to plant some garlic chives and parsley. I already used some of the garlic chives, from thinning them, on a baked potato last week. Super yummy!

I also have a few plants in pots on my porch steps and a couple things that I am going to try to squeeze into the planting season and hope it's not too late. I'll be getting pics of them in the next few days.

Overall, I am quite happy and excited about my garden. I hope that the sad looking plants will perk up soon and produce for me but even if they don't, I am happy that I have been able to get so much accomplished with it this year. Even if we get just a handful of fruit & veggies, it will be a success to be partially self-reliant and we will save a little by not having to spend money for high priced organic produce from the grocery store. Not only that, but I will know exactly how the food was grown and what went into and onto it!

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