Wednesday, June 2, 2010

First Harvest

On April 11th, we planted mesclun mix and pea pods from seed. On April 29th I shared photos of our first sprouts pushing up from the soil. Yesterday, we harvested our first mesclun mix and enjoyed a lovely salad with dinner. My son, who isn't a big salad eater most of the year, devoured his. Smart boy... eating in season is the healthiest, most earth friendly way to go!

Here it is before we harvested:

We also have our first flowers on the pea pod plants, so pea pods will be here soon!

Here's a lovely head of romaine developing. I bought a "6 pack" of romaine from our local garden center and planted them about 2 1/2 weeks ago. This one will be ready in about a week.

While I was photographing the pea pod flowers, these mating dragonflies happened by. They stayed locked together like this until we went in for dinner at least 30 minutes later.

Here's a photo of our whole garden.  The raised beds measure approximately 200 square feet.

You can see, I haven't mulched with the straw, yet. Maybe tomorrow! In addition to the mesclun mix and pea pods, we also planted bush beans and pole beans from seed. Then we purchased 4-packs and 6-packs of small plants for the rest. We have 6 kale, many varieties of lettuce (roughly 24 plants), many red onions,  4 tomatoes, 6 cabbages, 6 broccoli, 4 red bell peppers, 4 green bell peppers, one zucchini, 6 parsley, 4 celery, 4 eggplant, and 9 basil inside the fence. There will be 4 jalapeno peppers, 3 basil, and 4 butternut squash outside the fence. This is risky because we have hungry bunnies and woodchucks in the area, but the garden is at maximum capacity. I've found the basil usually isn't disturbed and I expect the same will be true of the hot peppers. The squash is another story. It may become lunch for the wildlife, but I have to give it a try.

The volume of plants may seem too much to you for this relatively small space, but we've planted roughly this much each year. (The only exception is the zucchini- by the end of the summer it will take over an entire corner of the garden and overflow the walkway. I train it to grow away from the other plants and just accept that my walkway will be cut off eventually). The key to such productivity is the raised beds and excellent soil quality, thanks to awesome compost from my parents' sheep maure and our own compost bin. For more information, please read The Vegetable Gardener's Bible by Edward C. Smith. Everything you need to know is in there. Trust me!

How are your vegetables coming? Did you plant in pots, in the school yard, on a rooftop, or in a backyard garden? Please share your successes and failures.


  1. amazing dragonfly photo's michelle!

    we're in the process of gopher proofing our garden this weekend. we have to dig out the soil down to the root level of our deepest root veggies then put a chicken wire cage in. we then will refill the cage with soil. hopefully this will last for a couple of years. then, i'll get to plant mainly cooler variety veggies as the fog has just rolled in to the outer richmond of san francisco! no basil or squashes will grow here!

  2. Monique, That sounds like a big job.

    So far, our main pest has been slugs in the lettuce. I generally don't worry about them too much, but yesterday I found 12 in one head of lettuce. So, I went to my last resort remedy... beer. I set some small containers (like a margarine or cream cheese size) into the soil and poured an inch or more of beer in. The slugs will be drawn into the containers and they'll drown (which is why I avoid doing this unless I have to).

  3. The slugs here are gigantic, I didn't even know slugs could be that big, they freak me out. We bought this strip of metalic stuff that we put around our barrels, apparently it causes some sort of electrical current through slugs if they try to pass over it. I hate the beer thing too, but if this doesn't work we'll have to go with the beer.

  4. Kristin, I had no idea slugs in the UK were particularly big. How long are they?

    I've heard of the metal strips you're talking about- I think they're copper- but I've never tried them. Let us know how they work.

    What are you growing in your barrels? (FYI readers... Kristin lives in the city).

  5. I just ordered the Vegetable Gardener's Bible with a BN gift card I had laying around. I hope to read it this winter and use it in the Spring. :)

  6. Amy,
    That's great! I hope you and your family have a wonderful experience. Please let us know how it goes.