Pole beans with squash plants underneath.
Despite our recent heat wave in the northeast, our garden is doing great. I thought I would share what we have been harvesting each month, so you can better understand what we can get from a small garden.
May: Cilantro, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Sugar Snap Peas, Kale, Arugula and Lettuce
June: Broccoli, Swiss Chard, Sugar Snap Peas, Kale, Lettuce and Black Raspberries
July: Green Beans, Black Raspberries, Kale, and Lettuce (so far, lots more to come)
With all the rain we had in the Northeast, the garden is doing really well this season.
We have already harvested asparagus, lettuce, cilantro, spinach, kale and arugula this season.
Despite the unusually cold weather we had in April here in the Northeast, we are finally starting to see things come to life in the garden. The broccoli plants are looking good and the sugar snap peas are starting to grow. Even the asparagus is trying to push through the soil. They are calling for warmer weather this week, so things should really start to take off.
I decided to try a new method this year for preparing my garden beds called double-digging. The double-digging method requires removing the top 12 inches of soil so that you can loosen the soil below. According to the experts, there are several reasons for taking the time to do this; better drainage, aeration of the soil, and it helps facilitate root penetration.
There are three key tools required for this method; a garden spade, round point shovel, and a spading fork. I started this process out using a garden spade to edge the garden bed. I drove the spade deep down into the soil re-establishing a new edge around the perimeter of the bed.
If you have ever transplanted young plants into your garden, you know all of the challenges of keeping those plants alive so they can develop into hardy, mature vegetable plants. Over the years I have tried several ways of protecting the young plants, but the best method I’ve found so far is to simply place a milk carton around the plant. This was something my grandparents always did to protect their young plants until they were well established, and I have just not been able to find anything cheaper, or better, for serving this purpose.
I collect cardboard milk cartons all year-long to use as protective shells for my transplants. I start by cutting the top and bottom off of the milk carton. Then, I wash the carton and allow it to air dry. Once they are dry, I place them in storage until its time to plant.
Here are two great gardening books to read this summer, while you are on vacation or just relaxing at home.
The first book is “A Rich Spot of Earth” Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello by Peter J. Hatch. If you are interested in gardening history or heirloom vegetables this is the perfect book for you.
The author Peter Hatch has been the director of the Gardens and the Grounds at Monticello since 1977. He gives a great first hand account of how the Gardens at Monticello have been restored over the years and how they came to look the way they do today.
I can use one word to describe our garden right now “Growing”. Over the last few weeks we have been really busy planting a wide variety of vegetables for our summer garden and even harvesting a few things from our spring garden.
Last spring I had a really hard time growing lettuce, but that is not the case this year. Over the last few weeks we have been enjoying a wide selection of lettuces. We have been enjoying some great homegrown salads.
One thing you begin to realize the longer you garden is what little control you have over certain things, like the weather. Here in the Northeast, Spring has finally arrived, after a colder than normal March. This has set my planting schedule back a few weeks, just one of the many adjustments you learn to make during the gardening season.
Yesterday, my wife and I attended The 6th Annual Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello, in Charlottesville, VA. This event was put on by Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. The focus of the event was heirloom gardening, but there was so much more to see and do.
The rain has finally arrived, so now the weeds are really growing. Overall this summer is really producing some good crops, despite our higher than normal temperatures. All our plants seem to be staying healthy and the insect damage has been minimal.