Edibles In May

May 18, 2009 012 (2)The month of May finds the edibles growing in the Fairegarden to be of the quantity if not quality to join good friend Tina’s veggie day report for her blog, In The Garden. Let us begin with the raised bed devoted to food crops. Salad fixings have been harvested from successive sowings of greens and lettuces. The first crop of lettuces were started under lights in the greenhouse. Sugar snap peas are on bamboo stakes at the far end. Parsley and cilantro are doing well.May 17, 2009 010 (2)The radishes got woody and bolted by the time they were large enough to eat, again. No more wasted space with those. Tiny carrot plants are in the same row.May 17, 2009 014 (2)Dear neighbor Mickey gave us a bag of little red seed potatoes. This is the first attempt for this vegetable and we planted them just like he told us, cutting the potatoes into quarters and mounding up the soil. We have added compost, straw and bagged Black Kow to the stems. Flower buds are now forming. There are high hopes.May 17, 2009 015 (2)It is early yet but one tomato has formed on the yellow cherry plant. Most of the other plants are just now flowering.May 17, 2009 019 (2)Caroline Anne golden raspberries are on their second year. These were too delicious for words and a large crop would be welcome. Uniquitous black ants are the caretakers of the veggie patch. Before this plot was the veggie bed, it was home to an old privet hedge that was removed by The Financier. I know, what a guy! There are portions of roots underground that are being taken care of by these ants. They come up for air and sunbathing on the produce.May 17, 2009 016 (2)After whining about the lack of broad beans on the plants at VP’s Veg Plotting blog, beans magically appeared.May 17, 2009 020 (2)Pepper and tomato plants had to be purchased after the crop failure with the greenhouse started seedlings. The cold frame made from the glass shower door was not up to the task of protecting the babies. They were planted anyway and can be seen in front of the store bought ones. Pretty pathetic. Why do I bother with the seeds when they just about give the plants away at local nurseries?May 17, 2009 018 (2)Several patches of summer squashes were planted. We will know what is what when and if the fruit forms.May 18, 2009 015 (2)The first sugar snap pea has formed from the initial planting. More than half of those were eaten as they germinated even through netting tightly secured all around. We suspect mice, but it could be insects also. More peas have been sown and are doing well. We will just have to wait longer for that bit of deliciousness. Last year was our first attempt and the results were astounding. We had so many pea pods that many were frozen and were surprisingly wonderful. The last bag from the freezer was eaten last week. May 17, 2009 024 (2)Store bought tomatoes and seed grown bush green beans. We will identify the tomatoes and everything else when they are harvested. The tags are in the ground by the plants.May 17, 2009 023 (2)Last year was the first for growing cucumbers. They were easy and plentiful. We made pickles that were given as gifts and well received. This year we chose actual pickling cukes and one patch of Straight Eight salad cukes. More Broad beans are on the cage to the right.May 17, 2009 026 (2)The long view down the veggie bed with the finished block wall. Garlic was planted at this end last September and seems to be doing well. We still have garlic from last year. Better get busy in the kitchen. Do you have any suggestions to use up a lot of garlic?May 17, 2009 053 (2)Six ever bearing strawberry plants were purchased late winter of last year. The berries never made it into the house for they wanted to hop into my mouth still warm from the sun. The plants multiplied like mad even growing in the landscape cloth that lines the paths. We replanted all the babies and made a small patch at the very end with the leftovers. There is no straw on these and it is more shaded than the rest of the bed. But there is a problem. As we wait for the perfect ripeness to pick the fruits, the very day of that perfection someone has beaten me to the goods. The score is Frances – 1, rabbits, or whoever is stealing them – 20. Surely there will be enough for us all eventually.
Note: that red berry was eaten right after the photo was taken. That is the one on the scorecard.

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27 Responses to Edibles In May

  1. Diana says:

    Frances — it all looks yummy! And you “bother with seeds because it is such a high to eat something from a veggie planted from seed. Jeff and I ate 2/3 of our first tomato Sun. (a bird had eaten the rest) and it was amazing and I couldn’t have been happier as it was my FIRST tomato plant grown from seed. Your potatoes look so pretty all in a row. Glad you have cilantro – ours has all bolted already and I’m sad.

    Hi Diana, thanks for that pep talk! HA There is nothing that can compare to those tomatoes, yum! How nice you shared, but since you are sharing nature’s garden I guess that makes sense. Some of our cilantro, the ones started in the greenhouse have started to flower, but there were two more sowings so we should still have some later on.

  2. Oh, bananas! I can’t believe everything you already have growing. I just lost a bunch of heirloom tomatoes (eeny beeny ones still int he trays) due to the unexpected frost. I still don’t know why. I covered them and everything. Others are OK, but I’m going to have to reseed quickly! You best bring me some of your cherry tomatoes at SF or I’m going to have to plan a pirate raid of your garden! HA! Or HARRRR!

    Hi Monica, uh oh! It looks like you will have to come down here! That is the only tomato and it is still quite green and I am not picking it yet! Stubborn you know. πŸ™‚ The seeds from Bisignano looked dead, but started to grow new green tops after a late frost here as well. I have planted them and a couple might actually grow tomatoes someday. Maybe yours will regrow too, don’t get rid of them! πŸ™‚

  3. Yum! What a great garden you’ve got growing there! Golden raspberries — delicious! πŸ™‚


    Hi Cameron, thanks. If there was only one fruit allowed, those golden raspberries would have to be the chosen ones. So easy, no pests, no problems, just eating!

  4. Sylvia (England) says:

    Oh Frances, you inspire me. I have only a small veg bed but I still have about half that I haven’t planted, I think I was afraid to fill it up to quick! I will get some supports up for the sugar snap peas and some more seeds in this weekend.

    Great post, best wishes Sylvia (England)

    Hi Sylvia, thanks, so nice to see you. I know what you mean about ‘saving’ the space in the veggie plot. But go ahead and fill it up, if something else needs planting, just pull up what is not doing well. No stress. Also I wanted to let you know that I have received back issues of Garden Illustrated from last year, but only the winter garden one with Piet was still available. So I treasure the others you were so kind to scan. If there is anything I can do for you…..

  5. tina says:

    Your garden looks much like mine, but no tomatoes here yet! You have so much and it looks great! I have to say, I stopped growing veggies from seeds a long time ago. It is just not worth it. I made a vow to grow easy stuff or stuff you can’t get in stores for the ornamental garden. The stores do practically give the seedlings away and it is much easier and simpler. I did not know your seedlings didn’t make it as they were so happy. I missed it? We’ll watch the garlic together okay? The first year I grew it, it was so good! The last few years it’s been too hot for my liking. I don’t do hot tastes at all. The Army broke me of that. Have a good day. I have the ENTIRE day in the garden. Finally finished the house (fairly) yesterday and Rog is moved back home. Looks to be fantastic day. I do hope Mickey is doing fine. You’ll have tons of fresh potatoes-the best!

    Hi Tina, only your garden is much larger! HA I am going to follow your lead, no more things I can buy from our local growers. They offer over one hundred tomato varieties, plenty of heirlooms too. I took photos of the frozen plants but never posted them. Actually some of them regrew and have been planted so if there are any tomatoes grown we will mention them. We love hot stuff here so enjoy the garlic, but I don’t know hot from normal for it. Maybe we have never had not garlic? Mickey is working in the garden for long hours every day it is not raining. Plenty to do in the garden to soothe one’s soul and heart.

  6. Gail says:

    Frances, Good morning! What a great garden! Forgive me…I am not a detail person, but I don’t remember the raspberries! I imagine they are delicious fresh off the vine! This is exciting, potatoes, raspberries, tomatoes…I can’t wait to visit and eat from the garden! gail

    Good morning Gail. I think you were here so late in the season that the raspberries and most all of the garden was done. Do you like dill pickles? πŸ™‚

  7. Randy says:

    Everything is looking delicious around your place! I’ll just pitch a tent in your garden this summer and live off the land. πŸ™‚

    Hi Randy, thanks. Come on up! You will have trouble finding a level spot for that tent though, maybe the guest room would be more to your liking? πŸ™‚

  8. gittan says:

    Mmm… I can (almost)feel the taste of that strawberry. Mine do have a lot of flowers this year, meaning that about a month from now when we celebrate midsommer, there will be lots of them =) I love to eat them sunworm to! Everything is a little bit faster at yours but we will catch up during the summer. Squash, suger peas…. can barely wait until they are ready to pick. Letuce you made me grow in the greenhouse – great idea! And I did put some raddishes there to – all eaten by now. It looks as it’s going to be a tastefull summer / kram gittan

    HA Gittan, so I made you plant that lettuce in the greenhouse! It is so easy to do and the leaves are so clean so I am glad you followed the orders! πŸ™‚ You will catch up soon and we will both be enjoying fresh produce and flowers together across the seas.

  9. commonweeder says:

    Frances, this is all beautiful. And delicious. I planted more veggie seeds this year and they are sprouting, but we are just coming up to our big planting weekend here in Massachusetts. However, I think we’ll start eating our own lettuce next week. Hooray!

    Hi Pat, thanks. When we lived in PA, memorial day was planting day for the veggie gardens except for peas which were planted on St. Patrick’s Day. That is great news that you will harvest lettuce soon too. It is so much sweeter and more tender than store bought. We have the problem of it bolting as the weather warms so we have to eat fast! πŸ™‚

  10. Barbara says:

    What a great photo-essay – had no idea you had so many veggies as well. We grow things from seed, because we’re driven to do it – and yes, stuff is inexpensive and lovely at the store, but there’s nothing like seeing a seed sprout and grow on the light table. My father-in-law Patrick Conroy from Connemara – who only spoke Gaelic until he came to Canada would give you the golden accordion award for those excellent potatoes!

    Oh Barbara, that is the nicest compliment! Thanks so much and I love hearing about your father in law too. Hope the potatoes turn out to be deserving of that fine award! You are right about the excitement of seed growing in the dead of winter, but tomatoes and peppers are off the list. Now lettuce? Oh yes. πŸ™‚

  11. Daphne Gould says:

    Your veggies look wonderful. I used to grow strawberries, but the chipmunks would eat them all. If I grew a lot of strawberries so we could both have them, they would pick a berry take a bite then throw it away and go to the next berry. The chipmunks just wouldn’t share. I don’t grow them anymore :<. I like growing things from seed because I can get varieties that the nurseries don't grow. And my favorite nursery that did grow a lot of interesting plants closed down.

    Hi Daphne, thanks. Maybe we have chipmunks too. Somebody is eating the strawberries and it is not me! That is too bad about your nursery. We have found both of the locally owned places have tons of varieties of all the veggies, but especially tomatoes and peppers. They grow the seeds themselves so that is kind of like us growing them? My greenhouse is small and the space under the lights limited. I started too soon and had too much stuff. I wanted to tell you that I bought one of those pot makers for newspaper pots next winter.

  12. Dave says:

    Your vegetables are looking good! I use a lot of garlic but I’m not sure I can come up with a way to use that much! Maybe an olive oil with infused garlic for cooking? I wish I had made an effort for potatoes. I need to get out there and plant my second succession of plantings and get my irrigation set up.

    Hi Dave, thanks. Olive oil with garlic sounds very good! If the potatoes are any good, they might get more space next year. I am not good with succession other than peas and lettuce. I don’t know what to plant after the garlic is harvested. Our irrigation is going to be milk jugs filled with water from the rain barrel. Good thing we drink loads of milk. So far we haven’t needed to use it, but know we will later on.

  13. Darla says:

    I think it’s all looking great! We have blooms on our squash and tomatoesso far!

    Hi Darla, thanks. That is wonderful for your stuff too. I adore squash from the garden, can’t get enough of it. πŸ™‚

  14. Tatyana says:

    Good morning Frances! Your garden is so much ahead of our NW gardens! It brings an inspiration! I noticed some mulch around radishes. Did you mulch some of your vegetables?

    Hi Tatyana, good afternoon to you and thanks for visiting. The mulch around the radishes in the photo is soil conditioner that I use heavily around here on everything. I like to top the beds with it in late fall after they are cleaned up. First the ground up leaves from the trees are applied, then the soil conditioner which is very finely ground bark. Some places call it pine fines I believe. It works wonders for our clay. I add straw to the tomatoes and strawberries too.

  15. dpnguyen says:

    Hi Frances- I am sorry to hear about your strawberry battle with whatever animal is taking your ripe strawberries. Grr!

    I have never planted potatoes before, but the leaves on those plants look so healthy. I hope you get a plentiful harvest this year!

    Yay for your raspberries and for your tomato. The peas look like they are really coming along. You’ll have lots to munch on and eat this year.

    I eat garlic by the handful. I add them in everything I make. That’s the Vietnamese in me. We use lots and lots of garlic in my household. In fried rice. Spaghetti. Fish sauce that we make. Or just roasted garlic still in its shell.

    Hi DP, thanks. I like the sound of lots of roasted garlic. I hate to peel it. That would use up a lot in one swoop too. πŸ™‚

  16. Joanne says:

    Lovely photos as always but now I realise you are of this world and improvise with all sorts, like the rest of us when it comes to veggie gardening.
    Buying plants is cheap but so much more rewarding when you have grown them yourselves. Our own little babies.

    Hi Joanne, thanks, HA. Definitely of this world. I just don’t always show the failures on the blog, but there are many of them that could be shown. The seedling disaster was the worst in recent memory. They were so promising too. But too early outside did them in. Lesson learned.

  17. Oh Frances, edibles! My favorites and you certainly have a loads of goodies. It is looking great!
    xoxo Tyra

    Hi Tyra, thanks. We hope there will be loads. The tomatoes always do well, we’ll see about the rest.

  18. mamawhatthe says:

    Oh gosh! This is the year I planted strawberries (many more than I actually have room for!). I sure hope I can do better than 1 in 20 berries! But, they are so tasty I can’t really blame whoever is stealing yours

    Hi Mamawhatthe, thanks and welcome. Love the name! Good luck with your strawberries, they really made a ton of babies so surely there will be some strawberries for human consumption. If not, there will have to be a hardware cloth barrier of some kind, what a hassle to harvest around.

  19. Kathleen says:

    What a great looking veggie bed you have there Frances. I hear you on strawberries hopping into your mouth! I could make myself sick eating them that way. and yes, why do we torture ourselves with the seed starting when plants are so available? The fun of it I guess. and for unusual varieties. It also keeps us occupied during the long wait till spring too, doesn’t it? I hope you have a bountiful harvest this season. Wish I knew of a way to use up all the garlic!

    Hi Kathleen, thanks. I think you have hit upon the crux of the seed starting, it seems like gardening before we can do stuff outside. It is so fulfilling to see things growing. Now to get them to transition to the outdoors with success….

  20. Lola says:

    It’s all looking so good Frances. Oil with garlic is all I can think of just now. I need to plant more garlic. It is so good for you.
    I think this rain has done a lot of good for all the plants.

    Hi Lola, thanks. Oil and garlic sounds delicious! The rain has had a good impact on the salad greens for sure.

  21. Brenda Kula says:

    Be still my heart: strawberries! How I love them on my morning cereal, courtesy of Walmart. Now once Robert is done out there, I’ve got to plant this girl some fruit!

    Hi Brenda, thanks, you are so funny. Strawberries should grow well in your area. Maybe Robert can build a special bed for them too! πŸ™‚

  22. layanee says:

    A feast for the eyes as well as the senses! Why don’t I have strawberries? Your sleeping goddess’s twin has been planted and we should get them together for tea! Soon to meet in Chicago.

    Hi Layanee, thanks. I can’t answer your strawberry question, other than get thee to the nursery, they grow so easily. I was thinking about the twin sister just recently. Can’t wait to meet you! πŸ™‚

  23. Catherine says:

    It sure looks nice there. I love how you’ve planted around your veggie bed, I think I see nigella πŸ™‚ and iris. We haven’t harvested anything or even close to harvesting.
    I think there’s something called 40 clove chicken, I did something like that for dinner last night. Also roasted garlic spread on french bread is yummy!

    Hi Catherine, thanks. HA, that nigella is in every nook and cranny in the garden, after blooming it will be quickly pulled so we can still walk through the paths. 40 clove chicken sounds like a great way to use a lot of garlic and the spread is a good idea too, thanks! πŸ™‚

  24. Hi Frances

    It’s broad beans and potatoes that ‘float’ my veggie boat.

    You were right to freeze peas. If you can’t eat fresh peas straight away, the sugars quickly turn to starch. Even top chefs endorse freezing peas.

    Do you get slug and snail problems in TN?


    Hi Rob, thnaks. Does that mean they should be cooked and served together? I have never even eaten a broad bean before. Now potatoes I know. πŸ™‚ Slugs and snails are more of a problem with the tiny stuff, but not in the veggie garden, very sunny up there. I hope we get enough peas to freeze some.

  25. Lzyjo says:

    Hello Frances, everything looks so wonderful! I can tell the Faire family will be eating exta well this summer. Your potatoes look so healthy!!!

    It’s amazing how pests can foil any sort of barrier for a tasty pea or bean sprout!

    Hi Izyjo, thanks. We do hope to have some good meals out of all this produce growing. Salad tonight in fact! High hopes for the potatoes, yes. I read somewhere to plant extra to share with the critters, good advice! πŸ™‚

  26. Racquel says:

    Hi Frances, your veggie garden seems to be doing well. I’m sure it has enjoyed this wet spring very much. I didn’t have much luck with my Tomato & Pepper seedlings either. Heirlooms are easy to find now in the local big box stores & nurserie which works out well. I find the beans, squash, cukes & herbs all do well from direct sowing. Still my prefered way of seed starting. πŸ™‚

    Hi Racquel, thanks. Seem is a good word to use. Until we have harvest there is always doubt. I agree with what you name for direct sowing, very easy if you wait for the soil to warm. Our little Mom and Pop nurseries had over one hundred tomato types, lots of heirlooms and ones I had never heard of before, like Hillbilly. Had to get that one. πŸ™‚

  27. Wow, Frances, you have quite the veggie garden too. I know you’ll get potatoes. Your plants look really good. Now, watch for those pesky potato beetles.~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks. The veggie garden is new as of last year and way too small of course. I am on the lookout for those beetles. We have already seen the cucumber beetles, arghhh!

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