Our 2021 Garden: a tour

It occurred to me that, while I’ve been posting lots of pictures of our garden, some areas get focused on more than others. As we are now in July, I figured it would be a good time to do a “tour” of all the garden, and review how things are doing so far.

This is going to be a very photo heavy post! 😀 Which is probably silly of me, as our internet connection is horrible right now, so it will probably take me at least a couple of hours to get it done! 😀

Let’s get started!

Asparagus bed with onions

Our first photo shows both success and failure.

In the foreground is the asparagus bed. We planted 6 crowns of Purple Passion Asparagus. The crowns came in at the same time as our Mulberry sapling. I didn’t get a photo of that. It did not survive that one unusually cold night in late may. 😦 But the asparagus did emerge, and we are very happy with them!

Along two sides of the asparagus bed are some tiny onions. These were some last minute Norstar onions we started indoors after having so many of the other onions seeds we started get destroyed, one way or another. They are incredibly tiny, and yet they are forming bulbs!

In the other bed is where we planted the Strawberry Spinach. That is a total loss. We have no idea what happened to them after they sprouted. I do want to try them again, next year, though. These are both intended to be permanent beds.

Here we have our three bush bean beds, planted in a temporary garden location. The photo on the left has the Royal Burgundy beans. We are totally amazed by how vigorously they are growing! The middle photo shows the Lewis Green beans, and the final photo shows the yellow Golden Rod beans. It’s interesting to see how the colours of the leaves show differently with the different coloured beans!

I would call all of these a success, so far. Aside from the odd deer walking through them, or a cat rolling around in them, they have not had any external issues, and they seem to be growing very well. I’m really looking forward to eating fresh beans! We pretty much never buy them at the grocery store, as they never look good, so these will be a real treat. 🙂

Robin beets with onions

This is the new bed in the old wood pile area, built this spring. It was seeded with Robin beets, a new variety we got along with some Merlin beets, which we tried last year. Later, when we planted onion sets, some were planted around the beets to act as a deer deterrent.

It didn’t work.

Need more onions.

The beets do seem to be recovering, though. A while back, shredded Irish Spring soap was scattered in the bed, and this morning I added the Critter Ridder granules, so hopefully, it will not be a deer buffet again!

This bed, and the two others near it, are intended to be permanent beds, and we will eventually build boxes around them, and figure something better out for the paths in between.

These are the rest of the beets, in the old kitchen garden. They have not been nibbled on by critters, thankfully.

The beets planted along the retaining wall blocks are of the Merlin seeds we got this year, plus seeds from last year, which was a collection of Merlin, Boldor and Chioggia. The girls planted them in blocks. There were still seeds left, and when we finished planting in the other beds, I went ahead and mixed all the remaining beet seeds together and planted them in the L shaped bed, so that is a beet surprise!

All of the beets here are looking to be quite a success. Mostly because the deer haven’t gone into the garden, and apparently our woodchuck doesn’t like beet greens.

We planted 4 types of lettuce in the retaining wall blocks, alternating with Lunix, Merlot, Lollo Rossa and Buttercrunch. We added the mosquito netting wall later, as a deer deterrent. The Lollo Rossa seemed to struggle, but the others were doing okay.

Right up until the woodchuck ate them all.

We will be planting more lettuce later this month, well after the current heat wave is over. The seed packets were together in a slide lock bag that got knocked about, and there was spillage, so they’re all mixed up now, so we’ll have lettuce surprise! 😀

Here we have our carrot beds. The large bed has two types of carrots; Kyoto Red, at the far end, and Napoli. These were pelleted seeds, which made it much easier to plant them without having to thin them later. We also had plenty of seeds left over for next year.

They had been doing so well, until the woodchuck ate all the greens! The wire cover isn’t going to stop a woodchuck, but will hopefully at least slow it down or discourage it. I’m still holding out hope that they will recover, and will be spraying around them with repellent soon.

In the old kitchen garden, we have two other varieties of carrots. Deep Purple and Longe Rouge Sang. There were far fewer seeds in these packets. I’d made a cornstarch gel to make planting them easier, which we did last year successfully, even though the gel was way too thin. This year, however, I made the gel too thick. When my daughters planted them, it came out unevenly, but it still worked out. These have, unfortunately, also been nibbled on, but not decimated like the others were. At the moment, we have a motion sensor light set up that will hopefully startle critters away, and this morning, I sprinkled Critter Ridder granules around this bed, and the beet beds nearby.

The two leafy things in the triangular bed are, I hope, white kohlrabi. These were seeds left over from last year, which had failed so spectacularly. Thankfully, we have seen no flea beetles this year. Still, I’m not even sure these plants are kohlrabi at all! I would call them a definite fail, unfortunately.

Next year, I want to try kohlrabi again, but will start them indoors. They are supposed to be good to sow directly before last frost, but they just don’t seem to do well that way.

Cucamelon

Here we have our cucamelon transplants. We did these last year and, in spite of a poor location, they did really well. This is where we had intended to plant them last year, in the rest of the chimney blocks we have left over after using some for the retaining wall. I am hoping the increased sunlight in this location, plus the chain link fence to climb, will lead to an even better crop than last year. 🙂

Here we have our two experimental corn blocks!

The purple Montana Morado corn (the photo on the left) were started indoors and transplanted, and so far they seem to be a success. A few of them don’t seem to be thriving at all, but most of them look like they are doing just great.

The Dorinny corn were planted before last frost, and you can see the remnants in the photo on the right. Though they are a cold hardy hybrid that would have been able to handle a normal frost, it turned out they couldn’t handle the -8C/18F night we had in late May. The seeds that had germinated before then did look like they survived, but after a few days, they were gone. Thankfully, more germinated later, and of those, they are doing quite well. As long as more don’t get eaten by the deer! The ones that did get nibbled on seem to be recovering, but I doubt we’ll get any corn on those ones.

Just yesterday, I used one of the empty rows in the Dorinny corn block to transplant some Hopi Black Dye seedlings. I’ll talk about those more, later. I also transplanted the few, spindly pink celery seedlings. I don’t expect those to survive. They should have been started indoors much, much earlier. I want to try them again, next year.

Where the Dorinny corn is planted is temporary. Where the Montana Morado corn is planted will probably become a permanent part of our garden. I was really surprised by how much better the soil was in this location, compared to other parts of the old garden area.

Here we have our hard neck garlic beds, which were planted last fall.

The Porcelain Music is looking amazing! Big, strong plants. They started showing scapes first. As I write this, we’ve gathered scapes from all these plants.

The Purple Stripe is looking like they will be ready to harvest soon – but they are still producing scapes! I’m not sure if this is a problem, or if this is normal for the variety!

The Racombole got split between the two beds. They came up later than the others, and the plants are smaller and slighter. They were also the last to start producing scapes. I don’t know if that’s normal or not for this variety. It’s possible, being on the East ends of the beds, they had slightly less sunlight than the others.

So far, these are looking like a fabulous success.

Now, we move on to the gourds. 🙂

I honestly didn’t expect to have gourds this year. We started them indoors early, yet they didn’t germinate until much later.

These first ones are next to the cucamelons, in an area that will be a permanent bed.

These ones are the Ozark Nest Egg gourds. These had one plant germinated per pot, even though several seeds were in each. This morning, I noticed one of those seeds had germinated!

Thai Bottle Edible Gourd

Last time I posted about these, I mistakenly referred to them as the Tennessee Dancing gourd. Silly me. These are the Thai Bottle Gourds. There’s just the two of them.

The Tennessee Dancing Gourd were among the first to germinate, and we got quite a few of them! If they are as prolific as I’ve read in reviews, we’ll be up to our eyeballs with them. 😀

It’s the luffa I am most eager to see how they turn out. They also germinated faster, though that’s not saying much, considering how long it took for the other gourds to germinate!

This area is temporary, even though we built a squash tunnel for them to climb. We intend to plant trees in this far-flung area, but this area, and the squash tunnel, might see another year of use. I’m pretty sure there is a telephone line buried under here, so we will probably not be planting trees exactly here.

As late as they all started, they all seem to be doing surprisingly well! They are really loving this heat wave. I’m looking forward to seeing how they climb the structure!

Here we have our grapes. There are two vines. We did not plant these. My mother did, but she does not remember what variety they are. I was talking to my mother today, and she worked out how long ago she planted them here, and figures it was about 12 years ago. !!! They had been completely engulfed by spirea when we first moved here, and we’ve been slowly working at getting them strong and healthy again. They are producing tiny clusters of grapes right now, and I look forward to seeing if they grow bigger this year, than last year. 🙂

I am really excited at how the melons are doing! We stared them indoors at the same time as we started with summer squash, but everything took a long time to germinate. That we ended up with so many is totally bonus. I love melons and really look forward to how these do! They are currently blooming, and starting to get big enough to train up the mesh, so I hope that means they’ll have a good summer’s growth.

Here we have more successes and failures.

The Norstar onions were started from seed, and they are growing nice big bulbs right now! They may have been small when they were transplanted, but they easily match the Red Karmen sets they share a bed with.

What you don’t see is what should be growing in that gap in the middle. The very first seeds we planted outdoors was purple kale; seeds we got for free with one of our Baker Creek orders. If they ever germinated, we never saw them.

Because the bunching onions and shallots we tried to start from seed died a glorious, cat induced death, we ended up buying sets. Unsure if the Norstar seedlings would survive, I picked up some onions sets when they came out in the stores. When I found shallots as sets, too, I grabbed a couple of bags. They both seem to be doing well.

However, they too should have a neighbor.

In the middle, our purple kohlrabi was planted. Like the kale, if anything sprouted, we never saw them.

I do want to try the purple kohlrabi again, but will start them indoors next time.

Here we have our peas. We planted all of the purple peas in the one row, while there were so many of the green peas, we were able to replant in spaces where peas did not germinate, and still have some left over!

They are currently blooming and growing pods, but I am not sure if they are actually doing well. They aren’t very big! It could be because of the poor soil in this temporary location. Quite a lot of whatever was trying to grow here before is now making its way through the straw and garden soil we added, quite enjoying the watering and feeding the peas are getting!

We shall see how they do over the next few weeks.

Here we have before and after pictures of our potatoes.

The first picture was taken four days after they were “hilled”. The other was taken 10 days later.

I can’t believe how huge they are! All four varieties are just thriving in these home made grow bags.

And now for something a bit different.

Raspberry bushes.

We bought raspberries for the first time this year, as a birthday gift for my daughter. She chose the Heritage variety. They were doing great after transplanting – until they got nibbled on by deer, and then hit by that late May frost.

They won’t do very well this year, but they will survive, and should be fine, next year.

The others are a combination of raspberries my mother transplanted many years ago, and other self-seeded plants we transplanted when we mulched the area that now has our main garden beds in it. They, too, were hit hard, not just by that one bitter night, but also the Polar Vortex we got hit with in February. Yet, they survived, and we will probably get raspberries from them this summer!

Here we have our Crespo squash. This is another one we weren’t sure would work – and I’m still not sure we have a long enough growing season for them, even with starting them indoors. They seem to be doing very well, though, and one of them is starting to bloom quite nicely!

and now, the summer squash!

This morning, I finally saw some little Sunburst squash! They were our favourite, last year. We are also seeing the green Endeavor zucchini, and the lighter green Magda squash. Still no sign of the yellow Goldy zucchini.

This year, we are trying to grow them vertically, but not all of them are big enough to tie to the stakes yet. But we’ve already got squash forming on those little plants! I am so excited by these! 😀

Winter Squash

Here we have our two varieties of winter squash, Little Gem and Teddy, both chosen for their shorter growing season and smaller size. They look like they are doing very well in this heat wave, too! They’re not big enough to train up the mesh, yet, but I do see some tendrils forming on some of them.

Mystery squash

Then there are these mystery squash, growing out of the old compost pile. We think they might be from the pumpkins we tried to grow last year. Hopefully, they’ll grow well enough that we’ll find out!

Here we have our sunflowers, in between blocks of corn. The corn are from a collection that included, Early Eh, Montauk and Sweetness. I didn’t bother taking separate photos of them. They are doing remarkably well, considering the poor conditions in this temporary location.

The sunflowers that are supported by twine are the Mongolian Giant sunflowers we started indoors, then transplanted. None of the Hopi Black Dye we started indoors had germinated… until they finally did! Long after these were done, which is why they are now planted near the Dorinny corn. Aside from losing a few to deer, I think they are doing well. At least as well as can be, in these conditions, and surrounded by weeds! Last year, none of our giant sunflowers reached full maturity before the first frost hit. I’m hoping at least the transplanted ones will have the time they need. If not… well, they make a good privacy screen.

If all goes well, we will be planting our first nut trees in the area next year.

Here are our wee little tomatoes! The teeny Spoon tomatoes have fruit developing already, while the Mosaic Mix is still just blooming.

In front of the Spoon tomatoes, you can see tiny wisps of onions. Those are the Red Baron bunching onions, from a very late start with the last of the seeds, indoors. In front of the Mosaic Mix, we have little Norstar bunching onions, again a late planting of the last seeds indoors. Starting these were a bit of a Hail Mary, and I doubt much will come of them, but hwo knows? 😀

Here we have a bit of a mish mash.

The photo on the left is where we seeded the Giant Rattle poppies. They came up in patches, mostly beside the rhubarb in the background (which predates us living here!). At the tip of this triangular bed, my daughter planted an iris that was shipped for spring planting – only to get hit by that late May frost, which killed it off. Other irises were planted in a trench along the south side of the old kitchen garden. One type has come up. They are hard to see, but several are by the laundry platform in the middle photo, with a few along the edge in the left photo. The ones planted in the trench towards the rhubarb never came up at all.

However, while trying to weed the area, I noticed something. You can barely see one in the photo on the right.

Dill!

All in a row, along the edge of where the trench to plant the irises last fall was dug!

We did not plant any dill. In fact, we have not seen any dill coming up since we moved here!

My guess is that, in digging the trench to plant the bulbs last fall, any dill seeds in the ground were brought closer to the surface, and this year, they could germinate.

I’m letting them be. We were intending to plant dill eventually, anyhow! 😀

Not pictured: our spinach beds. Because they’re all harvested and the beds are empty right now. The three varieties of spinach were a huge success, even with loosing some to deer. We will be sowing more in late July, for a fall crop. 🙂

Also not pictured are our little pumpkins, Baby Pam. None germinated. We have seeds left over, though, so we can try again next year.

Also, also not pictures. The radishes we interplanted with the Peaches ‘n Cream corn blocks. They germinated, then disappeared, and we have no idea what happened!

That is finally it!

And now I hope I can actually publish this. I’ve lost internet over and over while trying to write this, almost lost the entire post while the editor was stuck on “autosaving” – and now it’s stuck there again!

I might have to do some browser magic to save this post and finally get it published… more than 4 hours after I started!

If you’re reading this now, I succeeded, and didn’t give up in a fit of rage. LOL

The Re-Farmer

5 thoughts on “Our 2021 Garden: a tour

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