My Edible Garden

I've been gardening for most of my life and have been a devoted fan of organic gardening the whole time. It just makes so much more sense to work in harmony with Mother Nature than to fight her. Besides which it is better for the planet and better for our bodies. Here you can see what I'm planting and harvesting, with gardening hints and resources thrown in for good measure.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Busy Busy!

Victorian style cloche
Spring is always a busy time of year in the garden. This year I'm busier than most because of the rapid warm up. We are hitting 80 degrees this week and things are growing fast.

In that greenhouse bed I cleared the other day I planted some more Hale's Best Jumbo cantaloupes, an heirloom variety. To help keep them even warmer for good germination I've covered them with this Victorian style cloche that my daughter gave me.

In the space around them I've planted chard on one side and Strawberry spinach on the other. Strawberry spinach is related to regular spinach and the edible weed called Lamb's Quarters. In fact it looks like Lamb's Quarters but in addition to edible leaves it has a strawberry like fruit. The seeds I have are a bit old, so we'll see if they do anything.

New Greenhouse Door
Last fall when I finished the greenhouse I didn't have any really good scrap lumber to complete a door on the west end, so I just covered it with plastic. It's been getting way too hot in there even with all the windows into the house open to pull out some of the heat. But I haven't wanted to pull the top of the plastic off yet, it is still under 50 degrees most nights. But it definitely needed more ventilation during the day. So I scrounged through the piles and found some wood and built a new door, covered with chicken wire. I also pulled the plastic off the other door. Now I can keep critters out but still have ventilation during the day. If the weather turns fickle I can tack the plastic back on both ends.

potted potatoes and celery

While I was working in the greenhouse, I pulled out the potted potatoes to live on the patio. Here you can also see some of the celery plants. This batch is in an old ice chest and apparently the soil isn't so great. They are stunted and yellow and not doing very well, so I'll probably feed them to the rabbits and rework the soil and plant something else.

Recycled storage containers and ice chests
I have a number of old storage containers that while they were in good shape, their lids are long gone. So here they are as planters, along with an old ice chest. I spent some time planting Snow White cherry tomatoes and Princepe Borghese, an Italian heirloom tomato for drying. I loosened up the soil in them, added some organic fertilizer and some fresh compost. Here on the stone patio it's a bit warmer at night than in the open garden, something I discovered during a late freeze one year. The tomatoes in the garden froze to death while all the tomatoes on the patio survived.

I'm linking up with Harvest Monday, a blog hop sponsored by Daphne's Dandelions. I don't seem to have taken any harvest pictures this week, but I've been harvesting my usual salad along with greens to cook like chard, red mustard, spinach and lamb's quarters. (super good with diced bacon and onions fried together then put the greens in to wilt) Also peas and of course eggs from my new chickens. I've seemed to have mis laid my calculator but a rough count looks like some where in the neighborhood of 30 pounds of produce picked and eaten in the month of March and a total of 20 eggs since 3/24. All four of the hens are laying now, so I'll probably be over run with them shortly.


  1. I adore that little victorian greenhouse cloche! Just darling! I bet it is really effective too.

    The new door looks great and will be a real asset as the weather continues to warm up.

  2. HAHAAH! It took me a minute to see it wasn't a real greenhouse! :-D I LOVE IT!!!!

  3. That cloche is so cute. Even with my small yard I have some different microclimates around the yard. Usually it is based on how much concrete or brick they are surrounded by. I've sworn never to try to grow lettuce in my circle garden any more in the summer. There is just too much brick. I'll always put some good warm weather crops there once summer hits. Though I can use it for the cooler loving crops during the off seasons.

  4. @Daphne, I'm still learning some of my microclimates; I'm trying to figure out what to do on the north side of the house; only gets an hour or two of direct sun late in the afternoon (more like north west than true north)

  5. How do you manage to keep all those containers watered especially during the hot, dry periods?

  6. It seems as though you have more space than I originally thought...if I might big is your lot? Congrats on the harvests and the eggs!

  7. @Norma, the storage containers cum planters are made as self watering containers from a video I saw on youtube a few years ago by some Aussies (can't seem to find it again of course) Basically 2=3 inches up from the bottom on one end of the box drill about a quarter inch hole. On the opposite end of the box take a piece of pvc pipe, or cut and connect some water bottles together to make a pipe, lay some water bottles (with their lids on) or some other loose inert material on the bottom of the box up to the level of the drain hole you made.This makes a reservoir for the water; you can add a little straw or something to keep the soil from falling into the bottom and clogging it up. Fill with soil and plant. I do water from the top at first while the roots are shallow, but also fill up the reservoir by pouring water down the pipe. My only regret is that the pipe I used was the same size as my hose so harder to fill than if I had used something big enough to stick the end of the hose into.

    @Bee Girl, actually all told I have 20 acres but most is not really usable, being vertical. Right here around the house is probably the size of an older suburban lot. The house is roughly 30x30 feet; the front yard about 25x50, dominated by the 80ft tall locust tree. The little garden next to my green house is only 22x18, it was once the clothes drying yard. My patio where those containers are is only about 8 feet wide between the stone bench and the house. If that wall weren't there I'd have the mountain side in my kitchen.

    The chickens are over in the new area along the creek bank where I've been building retaining walls since last summer.

  8. The cloche is great - I wish i could grow canteloupe, every year I try and every year I fail - just not the right climate I guess.

  9. Strawberry spinach now that sounds interesting.......
    will be interested to hear how quickly your seeds germinate under the cloche.

  10. Spring is really a busy time for gardeners. But don't forget to take care of yourself. We have summer temperatures this week, although it is mid-autumn.