May 24, 2013

May Garden Tour

I have to say that except for an excess of weeds, things are doing pretty well in my garden. Here are the highlights.

Jerusalem artichokes are new this year.

Jerusalem artichokes. 

They will be winter food for us and the goats. To the left of those are multiplier onions and the remains of the winter lettuce, which is starting to bolt.

I have three beds of Red Pontiac potatoes. Cabbages share one of those beds.

Cabbages and potatoes.

I have three beds of peas with cattle panel trellises.

Peas on cattle panel trellises. Volunteer borage in front left

In two of them, I also planted tomatoes. Fortunately I have a long enough growing season to sow the seeds directly into the ground.  

Amish Paste tomato seedlings

In the other pea bed I planted cucumbers and radishes. By planting the cukes and tomatoes in the pea beds, they can use the trellises after the peas are done. 

Straight 8 cucumbers and Cherry Belle radishes. 

Another first is flax.

A bed of flax. 

I'm growing it for seed for the goats.

I'm getting my wish about getting strawberries! The wiregrass is still a problem but at least we have berries.


There hasn't been enough for jam, but there is plenty for eating fresh and strawberry short cake. In the strawberry bed I planted a type of lettuce I've never planted before. The variety is called Jericho, and is supposed to do well in hot weather. 

Jericho lettuce. 

Another new crop for me is sugar beets, although I've grown mangels before. 

Bucklunch sugar beets

Mostly I'm planting them to feed to the goats in winter, but I'll be curious to perhaps try my hand at making a bit of sugar from them.

Next to the sugar beets is a bed of Swiss chard, parsley, and volunteer 4 o'clocks, which are taking over. I hope to plant black turtle beans here as soon as I can make room. 

Swiss chard, parsley, and volunteer 4 o'clocks. 

I also have two beds of popcorn, planted early so they won't cross pollinate with our field corn.

Japanese Hull-less popcorn and orange cushaw

In the lower right of the above photo, you can see a cushaw sprout. Last year I planted Orange Bulldog pumpkins, of which I got only two pumpkins. Although they were fantastic keepers, I decided to go for orange cushaw squash this year. Cushaws make excellent "pumpkin" pie.

I'm still getting the last of the autumn planted lettuce plus a little broccoli. A few things have just been planted: okra, peppers, eggplant. And there are still a few more things I'd like to plant. Besides the turtle beans, I'd like to plant amaranth, also watermelons and black oil sunflowers.  Maybe some green beans too. Hopefully I can get everything into the ground soon.

May Garden Tour © May 2013 


Ngo Family Farm said...

Everything looks wonderfully vibrant and healthy! So beautiful. And where are these "weeds" of which you speak? I don't see any in your pics ;)

The Cranky said...

Your garden is thriving and looks so wonderful! I'll be interested in seeing how things progress with the Jerusalem artichokes; they are one of the permaculture crops I want to try next year, along with asparagus and rhubarb.

Tami said...

Looks like everything is growing gangbusters.

Farmer Barb said...

So much color on those strawberries! I am wishing to join you this year on that front. I am trying potatoes, too. Keep me posted on when they are supposed to come out.

DFW said...

Love the garden. And I agree, those strawberries look good. Do you know if I can plant strawberries underneath blueberry bushes?

Nina said...

Spring gardens are exciting. I just planted my tomato seedlings and some zucchini seeds. We've had some very cool weather, with frost warnings, so garden planting has slowed to nothing until it warms up again. I'd like to grow some flax, but for the fibre. I've been trying to figure out where I could put a patch but I'm beginning to think it would have to be at the neighbours!

DebbieB said...

I love that you grow so much of the goat's food, and so much variety for them, too, as well as variety for you. The garden is truly a "family affair"!

Katy said...

Hi Leah, we finally had more success this year with our strawberries too! of course it might just be because i figured out i have to pinch of those "runners" :/

i tried peas for the first time - i am jealous of your cattle panels. Because it turns out they are very hard to train to climb unless you've got something really sturdy and vertical and close to the shoots. I had some netting close by that I tried to train them to climb and it's not happening :/ bah

daisy g said...

You must get a steady dose of rain! Everything looks like it's coming along nicely. Enjoy!

Leigh said...

Jaime, we've gotten plenty of rain so all the plants are happy. :) The weeds are there, in unplanted, unmulched beds and taking over the pathways!

Jacqueline, I've grown the Jerusalem artichokes before and can tell you that they can take over. My asparagus has done okay, but I had to move it because of wiregrass. Rhubarb I've had no success with. I kept three plants alive for several years, but the heat always did them in.

Tami, emphasis on everything. :)

Barb, that red is really pretty, isn't it? The potatoes are ready to harvest when the vines die back. I hope we both have good harvests!

DFW, thanks. Strawberries will do better in sun, especially ripening.

Nina, LOL. My daughter had a friend who grew flax for the fiber. He got so far as to retting it, but then expected his sister to spin and weave it for him. :)

Debbie, animals are a great way to deal with excess! Plus, I want to make sure my goats are getting the very healthiest diet possible. :)

Katy, congrats on your strawberries! The cattle panels work well, but you're right about training the peas. I can only hope they catch one another on the opposite sides of the panel.

Daisy, almost too much rain. But, that's why everything is such a vibrant green!

Cassandra said...

Looking good! I planted Jerusalem artichokes for the first time this year too. My great grandmother used to grow them and I've been meaning to try them for a long time. I'll be interested to compare our results. Your strawberries *are* looking good, even with the wiregrass.

Renee Nefe said...

Looking great!

I picked up these I was actually just looking for large planting boxes for my temporary garden. I didn't realize that it came with all that fertilizer and stuff. So I'm giving it a try with my roma tomatoes (Health Kicks) and peppers. I'm really hoping that I get enough to can some sauce this year. I've also got spinach & Lettuce that are volunteers in the garden from last year, hoping to plant some more of that along with some carrots. There are still onions and chives in the old garden. And I started some broccoli and green beans.

Su Ba said...

Your stuff looks great. Everything so lush and green. I envy your strawberries. I have a big bed of them but just as I got the slug problem under control a group of feral turkeys discovered the patch and ate them all. Bummer. The cattle panels are a super idea. Is this your first time using them? Are they as easy to work with as they appear?

I'm fascinated by the flax. I've never seen it growing before. Good idea. Where did you find the seed for it?

Sandy Livesay said...


Your garden beds are beautiful. I'm going to borrow your idea with the cattle/horse fencing for a bean lattice.

Please let me know how things go with the Amaranth. I've planted from seed two years in a row, and had nothing. I must be doing something wrong or the seeds are no good.

Leigh said...

Cassandra, if I can just stay a step or two ahead of the wiregrass it will be all right! I'm curious as to how your grandmother prepared those Jerusalem artichokes. Any recipes to share?

Renee, I'm so glad to hear you've got your garden underway. Your weather hasn't been very cooperative, has it?

Su Ba, it's the rain. :) Sounds like you really have your strawberry challenges. I get bites taken out of mine, but covering them seems to help. For flax seed, try Baker Creek or Sustainable Both carry it.

Sandy, be my guest. I borrowed the idea from someone else. :) I'm surprised to hear you've had trouble growing amaranth. Two years ago I planted a big bed of Golden Giant variety and it reseeds itself every year. This year I'm going to try another variety. I'll let you know how it does.


Cassandra said...

Leigh- as I remember, she peeled, sliced and steamed them. They weren't soft like potatoes- more crispy like water chestnuts.

Leigh said...

Cassandra, thank you for that. That's pretty much how I've always used them too. We have eaten them raw, grated on salads, but Dan finds them hard to digest that way.

Ellen and Adrian said...

Keep in mind that your animals will enjoy the greens and stalks as well as having the tubers for winter eating. I'm on my second year with a patch of chokes, and they've come back gangbusters even after I dug 'all' of them up and replanted the bed with some of the tubers that were damaged, smallish or oddly shaped - makes sense to pull the ones that will be easiest to clean and prepare. Last year I pulled dozens of leaves every two or three days, off a 4x8 stand of the plants for rabbit feed with no noticeable affect on the plants - and the rabbits loved them. In the fall, I advanced my use of the whole upper plant prior to havest when I would have pulled them anyway, and the animals ate stalk and all. We didn't feed them the tubers, as I didn't know how much of a harvest there would be.

We added the chopped, skin-on tubers to our mix of roasting vegetables, into the oven at 350 with a bit of oil and spices, and found they cooked a bit more quickly that carrots, turnips and potatoes - but then tasted a bit creamy/caramelized and added a lovely variation in texture.

This year, the vegetation came back so lushly, that I've been pinching off the tips of some of the growth and throwing that to the rabbits.

Anonymous said...

I started Amish Paste from seeds for the first time this spring. Transplanting went well although the plants are a bit spindle-y. Got them in the ground last week and what happens but low high 30s at night in late May in Chicago. Had some damage but hope they'll pull through. Yours look beautiful!

Leigh said...

Ellen and Adrian, I hadn't thought about the leaves, but I'm guessing my goats will love them too. We've found in the past that, like yours, ours were eternally abundant! We didn't roast veggies back then, so I'm looking forward to that addition for sure.

Amanda, I just love the sauce from Amish Paste. I don't do well with indoor starts, so that's another reason to plant them in the ground. Interesting you're from Chicago. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs. :)

luckybunny said...

Everything looks really great! I got really excited about the Flax, how cool!

Anonymous said...

Garden looks GREAT!!! Keep up the good work! I'm envious.

Unknown said...

your garden is well maintained.A mind relaxing blog

Unknown said...

well maintained garden.mind relaxing blog