Jun 12, 2013

First pictures of our Garden For the Season and our Garden Plans for the Season


our raspberries are starting to form
It has been a crazy unusually cold (even for MN) spring and needless to say our garden was very late this year.  At least we weren't planning on doing any big landscaping projects this year like we did in 2011 which was also an unusually cold and snowy late spring. 


Last year we had an unusually early spring.  It was interesting seeing my post from April last year and comparing.  Below is what our garden looked like in comparison this year on April 25th.  Last year in April we had asparagus growing, kale (it's second year since it's biannual), cilantro, chives, and our raspberry bushes were already starting to grow leaves.  I think this year it took until mid May for all that to start to grow.
our garden April 25 2013
We just finished planting a few weeks ago.  While we didn't do any major landscaping projects this year, I did a very minor rework of the bricks by our strawberries, which had to be done before we could plant.  We've had a horrible time with them suckering into the main garden.  We had bricks at ground level seperating the strawberries from our garden and we instead turned it on it's side like the border of our garden.  Hopefully this will keep our runners in check.  While doing this project I actually hurt my wrist!  And that's before I even planted.  Thankfully my husband was there to dig holes for me.  Unfortunately I was in such a hurry to get it all planted that I didn't pay to much attention as to where he planted them.  I think some of our plants were planted to close to the aisles and will likely be awkward, but oh well I've survived that in the past what's one more year.  I've learned you're garden will never be perfect but it's also not likely to be a disaster, so nothing to stress about. 

Here's What we Planted this Year

Front Yard
Garden A:
  • 6 Roma tomato plants
  • 6 better boy tomato plants
  • 3 red leaf lettuce (1 transplant died)
  • 6 broccoli plants
  • 6 bell peppers
  • 40 (8 per square foot) pole green bean plants (a few are purple podded pole from seed savers exchange, the rest are green beans)
  • a row of cucumbers
  • rutabaga (2 squares)
  • beets inter planted in all squares
  • Asparagus (has been there for a few years now)
  • purple basil
  • cilantro (self seeded)

1 square of Garden A: Bell peppers, asparagus, purple basil, Roma tomatoes, rutabaga, and beets
1 square of 4 Garden A: broccoli, red leaf lettuce, tomato, beans (green and Purple), beets
1 square of 4 Garden A: broccoli,and beets
Garden A: 2 cilantro plants self seeded
Garden A: We interplanted beets in all 4 squares, I'll have to thin these soon!
Garden B:
  • lettuce (green leaf, romaine)
  • 40 (8 per square foot) pole beans (green and purple podded)
  • 6 big boy tomato plants
  • 12 early girl tomato plants
  • 10 kale plants (dino, curly, and red Russian)
  • one row of cucumbers
  • carrots (half danner) inter planted in all squares
1 square of 4 Garden B: pole beans (green and purple podded), lettuce, big boy tomatoes
Bean seedlings emerging
 
1 square of 4 Garden B: cucumbers, kale (red russian, dino), early girl tomato, and carrots

Fruits & Vegetables: Omega-3 and Omega-6 Comparison

Apples, raw (100 g)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids           9 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids         43 mg  (4.8 times) more omega-6s
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1809/2 Strawberries, raw (100 g)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids         65 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids         90 mg  (1.4 times) more omega-6s
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2064/2 Bananas, raw (1 medium size)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids        27 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids        46 mg  (1.7 times) more omega-6s
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1846/2 Cucumber, with peel, raw (100 g)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids           5 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids       28 mg (5.6 times) more omega-6s
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2439/2 Carrots, raw (100 g)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids        2 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids     115 mg  (58 times) more omega-6s
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2383/2
- See more at: http://www.terawarner.com/blog/2011/04/hold-the-almonds-and-pass-the-arugula-what-you-need-to-know-about-omega-fatty-acids-in-oils-seeds-and-greens/#sthash.JJz0N3H1.dpuf

Fruits & Vegetables: Omega-3 and Omega-6 Comparison

Apples, raw (100 g)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids           9 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids         43 mg  (4.8 times) more omega-6s
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1809/2 Strawberries, raw (100 g)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids         65 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids         90 mg  (1.4 times) more omega-6s
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2064/2 Bananas, raw (1 medium size)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids        27 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids        46 mg  (1.7 times) more omega-6s
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1846/2 Cucumber, with peel, raw (100 g)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids           5 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids       28 mg (5.6 times) more omega-6s
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2439/2 Carrots, raw (100 g)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids        2 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids     115 mg  (58 times) more omega-6s
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2383/2
- See more at: http://www.terawarner.com/blog/2011/04/hold-the-almonds-and-pass-the-arugula-what-you-need-to-know-about-omega-fatty-acids-in-oils-seeds-and-greens/#sthash.JJz0N3H1.dpuf

Front Bed by our House
Front Yard Bed by House 2013: chives and strawberries
Ever since we expanded our front garden bed (we dug up sod in 2011 to make it bigger) we have been using it as extra veggie gardening.  2011 we planted soy beans,and cartnip and 2012 broccoli, chives, strawberries, and lavender.  I started realizing last year that what I really wanted in our front bed is something low, pretty, and no maintenance.  So I figured this year why not take out the catnip, move our chive back, and let strawberries take over the rest.  Well the strawberries from last year have taken over and since I trimmed our shrubs they seem to be blooming and producing fantastically and it looks beautiful too.  So I believe I've found a winning combo for our front bed.  I might even add Asparagus in the fall close to the house.  I think it would look fantastic when it turns into ferns and its pre annual too!
Front bed 2012: Broccoli, strawberries, and catnip (notice how it dwarfs our bushes)
Front yard bed 2013: self seeded catnip seedlings starting to grow
Catnip
In the past I've planted catnip in our front bed, which was great at first.  It was easy to grow and attracted lots of cool wildlife (including many cats to entertain our cat (check the about page to see a pic of our cat), but last year it grew so tall it overshadowed our bushes and blocked the view from our windows,even making it hard to mow our yard! So, I had to keep cutting it down (harvesting it).  Which was difficult to do since the bees we're loving it.  Also I was spending alot of time harvesting and drying catnip when our cat (and friend's cats) had more than they needed already. 
 
catnip takes over our lawn!  Whoops!  Self seeded from drying catnip upside down outside

I pulled up our catnip plant from prior years, but as pictured above it has self seeded and started to grow new seedlings (which I plan to pull out soon).  I  do plan to still grow catnip just in our backyard in a bed by our house that is shaded that we have not ever grown anything in before.  We are also trying to grow mint there since I would love to have some to make mint smoothies and tea and mint has similar properties (pre annual and grows like weeds).  I got the ideal when I saw catnip plants self seeded in this bed that I thought nothing would grow in.  Cat nip had even self seeded our backyard lawn (as pictured below), whopps!  This was really my fault, because I decided to hang our catnip upside down on our clothesline pole to dry out. It even fell off the pole and landed up laying in our yard for awhile. So I have concluded that it's nice to have only in areas where letting it grow wild is fine and is self contained.  Hopefully it's new home will suit it better.

Backyard

Side Bed:
Our rhubarb is doing well, I should probably start harvesting it soon.  our onions we've had for years now (I'm guessing 3 yrs) finally rotted out.  In it's place I've planted rutabaga and parsley.  Our asparagus that we've had for two year planted here has only grown one very small shoot. Much less than last year and I was thinking this year would be our first year we could harvest our asparagus in this bed (it takes 3 years to harvest asparagus and we planted one year old crowns).
 
Seed Savers blue podded peas (Pisum sativum) (aka Blauwschokkers) Productive Dutch strain

Bed By our Fence
This year we planted our peas in the backyard.  We are trying a new variety called blue podded peas from Seed Savers Exchange.  I just realized that I think these are not sugar snap which is what I usually plant, but it should be fun anyway.  Our peas are already starting to grow.  We also decided to plant cauliflower for the first time, strawberries, and turnips. Last year we had zuccinin, squash, and pumpkins here.  None of them turned out because they were attacked by squash bugs (2 different kinds).  I decided not to grow them this year because I think it's not worth all the work with pest control especially since our farmers markets has fantastic deals on squash, and zuccini and we have limited space.  I say grow what you love that is expensive or hard to find and produces with little effort!

Backyard bed by fence:  Blue podded peas, and cauliflower
 
 Concrete Raised Garden
Last year we planted way to much stuff in our concrete raised garden.  We grew mustard (which did well), cherry tomatoes which also did well.  Our spinach, kale, brussel sprouts, and Swiss chard, did not do as well because they were to crowded.  I decided this year to plant large cherry tomatoes (4 plants) mustard and arugula only.  I think mustard and arugula will do well here since they are hardy greens that are easy to grow but can self seed aggressively (so best to be contained).  I planted mustard on the left and arugula to the right.  As you can see the mustard is doing well but I only have a few arugula pants that germinated so today I plan to reseed that side.

We also planted strawberries in the concrete block holes (only every few so I can still have a place to sit to weed and plant and harvest easily).   In order to plant in the concrete holes in the fall we stuffed the wholes full of leaves which have decomposed a little making for perfect drainage and less need to fill with  dirt since strawberries don't need a lot.  So far they seem to be doing well.

our concrete raised bed: strawberries, mustard, arugula, and large cherry tomatoes
Containers 

Here's what we are growing this year in containers
  • strawberries
  • stevia
  • purple basil
  • cilantro
  •  jalapeno
  • habanero pepper
  • thai basil
  • rosemary
 

We had so many strawberries that had grown from runners in our main garden that I ran out of places to put them so I put some in containers (filled half with leaves and half potting soil). 
our strawberries are starting to grow in to strawberries

We also transplanted our stevia plant we've had for 2 years to a larger container and it seems to be doing well.  Last year our stevia plant was often stressed and needed constant watering.  Luckily I had it on our front steps so I was going past it often to notice it needed to be watered.  Hopefully this year it will need less watering.  
our 2 year old stevia plant
Last year I planted arugula, cabbage, lettuce, and bok choy in our large container and never thinned them out so they never grew past the baby plant stage.  In other words I wayyyyy over planted.  Well hopefully not this year.  I planted a jalapeño, and habanero pepper, and Thai basil (one of our transplants died so I had to buy another).  We have grown jalapenos for the last two years with great success even from direct seed.  This is the first year we are planting Thai basil and habanero peppers.

Jalapeño, Thai basil, Habanero pepper  in our wooden container we made
Here is what we are planting that is new this year:
  • Thai basil
  • habanero pepper
  • cauliflower
  • blue podded peas (heirloom variety)
  • better boy tomato
  • dinosaur and red russian kale

This is what we have planted in the past that we have decided not to plant this year because of low yield and high maintenance.

This is what we have planted in the past that we have decided not to plant this year because of lack of space.
  •  fennel (one year did great, the next never grew from seed, last year grew but was to crowded and I didn't thin appropriately. Since I forgot to even harvest it in time last year I figured this was low priority, but I would grow again given enough space)
  • onions (didn't plan for since our 3 year old sets finally rotted out)  I use them only for green onion tops and I like that it grows early in the spring by itself.  I will plant again
  • spinach (has been sporadic in the past and kale has been much more reliable and has a longer harvest time)

So what are you growing in your garden this year?  I'd love to hear about it!
 
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