02 June 2009

Here's Why I'm Meant to be a Southerner

Victory in the Garden!
I took some pictures of our garden a few weeks ago (early May 2009) to show how our vegetables and flowers are coming in. They have grown so much more since I took these pics, but I'm glad to have the documentation of their development. Most of the garden is covered in this blog. There are some flowers and other plants in the yard I didn't photograph. Those will appear some other time, I'm sure.

A view of the raised beds that contain our crops. The view is what you would see if you were walking away from our house towards the neighbor's (the house in the background).

Our beloved potato plants! They have grown vigorously. Probably more so than any other plant in the garden. They are tall, yet bushy. When they develop blossoms, you harvest new potatoes. When the plant dies, large baking potatoes are what you harvest.

Corn--couldn't have a garden without it! This variety is called silver queen. It is white in color with a taste so sweet and delicious, you won't want to ruin it with butter. Did you know that each silk on an ear of corn is directly connected to a single kernal inside the husk? When the silks are pollenated, the kernal develops.

I've never grown cabbage before, but these plants were free and I felt I should at least try growing them. They are more of a cool-weather plant, so I fear the mid-summer heat might affect their taste or even their growth. Behind the cabbages, you can see the rows of lettuce. Lettuce is also a cool-weather plant. *fingers crossed*

Here's a shot of one of the beds. From front to back, you have: yellow pear tomatoes (which I grew from seed, I might add), jalapeno peppers (they're very small, so give it a little squint), purplehull peas (which are very similar to black-eyed peas), and big beef tomatoes. The flowers near the purplehulls are marigolds. They were planted to naturally keep away certain pests, like aphids and rabbits, but the aphids have covered our peas and tomatoes a couple of times. We're sticking to organic gardening, so squishing the miniscule bugs is really the best way to get rid of them instantly besides pesticides.

This is our biggest big beef tomato. It has grown significantly larger since this pic was taken. Tomato plants must be staked in order for any success. They would collapse under their own weight otherwise. As you can see, this guy is resting on a bamboo stake. It is this variety of tomato that you would slice up to put on your hamburger.

Grape tomatoes, of course, are very small, but they have a higher yield than larger varieties. They are also much sweeter, grow in clusters, and ripen more quickly. This tomato type is great for salads.

Here is a shot of our garlic. They look very similar to an onion plant, which makes sense because they're both bulb vegetables. When garlic is ready to harvest, a long stalk in the middle of the plant produces a puffy, purple flower. We're a long way off from harvesting garlic, but it's certainly a staple in my kitchen.

My herbs may look dinky in this shot, yet they take a lot of time and pruning to live up to their potential. This is the bed that the slugs like the most...especially my basil. Copper snail bait keeps them away by sending an electric shock through their little systems.

So these tiny white flowers are not in my garden, but they are in a bed in front of our house. These are known as phlox, a perennial. They grow in bunches and smell fantastic. When they die, though, they leave ugly brown petals everywhere. They are difficult to deadhead and even more difficult to keep looking nice.

Also in the bed in front of the house are coreopsis, another type of perennial. I love the fringed edges of their petals and the ease of their maintenance. I'm seeding several other flowers to join the phlox and coreopsis in this bed, such as coneflower and black-eyed susan. Flowers are an obsession of mine. I want as many blossoms in my yard as I can get.
Here's where I end it for the day. Once I take another round of photos, I'll post them to show how far some of these plants have come.

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