Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bloom Season: Brunswick St Community Garden

It's absolutely beautiful this time of year in the garden. Almost every bed has something in bloom and some beds are awash in color. Yesterday, under overcast skies, the colors really popped. 

Columbines easily naturalize in the garden. Seedlings grew unannounced in my plot last year and tend to sprout up all over the place if left unchecked. This year I counted four different varieties, including the ubiquitous purple kind seen above. 

After a very poor showing of roses last year and a tough winter, I was pleasantly surprised to see the bushes bouncing back. I chose a single bloom off this pink plant for a bud vase at home. 

I'm impressed with everyone's participation in their individual plots this year. We had at least 10 plots turn over to new members this year. I've never seen such weed-free, carefully planted beds in the garden in all the years that I've been a member. And so much mulch!

My own plot is on its way to being overtaken by sunflowers. I've moved several to neighboring shared beds and am using the rest to shade my lettuce crop. Otherwise, I would say this year's garden is my most unplanned effort. I've been sticking those pepper seedlings that I started indoors almost anywhere they will fit. I've reseeded inbetween lettuce with more lettuce. I've also randomly planted nasturtium and bush beans in empty spaces. Honestly I can't remember everything I planted and am only reminded when something sprouts. This week a nasturtium popped up and I think some lettuce leaf basil. 

Two strawberries and a bag of greens (kale and lettuce) were harvested on Wednesday this week so I'd say the plot is up and running. Next week I might throw an eggplant plant in if there's room...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spring Love

I love when the weather cooperates in spring and gives us a stretch of warm sunny weather. All the plants shoot up. The bees are going crazy. I'm picking fresh mixed greens for salads almost daily. And there is so much promise for the coming season. 

My Ramapo tomato plant has grown about 4" since planting last week and it even has a couple flowers. It's an old New Jersey variety so it should feel right at home in the garden. 

The bees are loving the indigo blue flowers of the borage plant. I haven't tried eating any leaves yet as they're an unappealing fuzzy texture, but they're supposed to taste like cucumber.  I love the flowers though, so I'm hoping it keeps growing through the season. 

I might be in for a bumper carrot crop. These are Amarillo carrots - bright yellow, juicy and sweet. Carrots are so easy to grow, I grow a different variety every year and always get a good yield. I sometimes leave them in the soil through the summer and have a few left in the late fall when everything else in the garden is finished. If you're wondering, "should I grow carrots?"  The answer is yes!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Last Week in the Plot

With all the sun and showers, stuff is popping up in the garden, including lots of rogue sunflowers. To discourage the garden cats from turning my plot into one big litter box, I'm draping the soil with tomato cages and branches. When the plants are more established, I'll remove the mess. 

The Ragged Jack kale is looking healthy. I planted a second row of the dinosaur kale next to it, but the old seed didn't germinate. 

My red salad mix seems happy. It's not as red as I thought it would be but I'm excited about the speckled leaf variety in there. 

The carrots are now identifiable as carrots. I planted a second batch inbetween these rows. 

The soil has been top dressed with compost. In areas without plants I dug some of it in. Then I sowed nasturtium, yard long beans, melon, and additional rows of lettuce where the first batch didn't take. 

I haven't decided yet what my new trellis will look like. It has to be at least 6' tall to accommodate the yard long beans. 

Tonight I'm planting some organic and conventional plants that I got from

Monday, May 5, 2014

Seedling Update

The seedlings are up and thriving. I lost a few to drought (weekends away) and an unfortunate earthquake (I bumped the tray and everything fell on the floor) but the survivors are hardy little plants. I moved them into larger containers and separated out the plants. 

When it isn't like a wind tunnel on our balcony, I've been hardening them off and letting them bask in the direct sunshine. The red romaine lettuce could have stood better lighting early on - it's a little leggy. Ok, it's really leggy. I don't know what's going to happen to it when I plant them out. The peppers are gorgeous, stocky little plants though. They're the best seed sprouting experience I've had yet. 

This week I'm direct sowing melon seeds on my balcony and yard-long beans in the garden. Time to consider trellis designs!