Monday, June 16, 2014

Garden update: Week 3

It's mid-June, and the community garden is officially in full swing. With the exception of herb plants, our plot isn't quite ready for any kind of harvest, but it looks like some gardeners are nearly ready to enjoy some kale and lettuce and Swiss chard.

Today marks three weeks exactly since I got everything planted, so it's time for an update! (I aspire to be more diligent about actual garden updates and not just garden pictures this year, because I do find myself looking back at last summer's post to see the timelines for the plants.)

Our community garden consists of two large circles. New this year: more structured versions of last year's fences. (They're cedar and smell great.)

Here's a view of our plot from above, a photo that I obtained by standing on a five-gallon bucket:

The key:

1) Grown from seed: purple beans and a few climbing bean plants (that will ideally climb up the fence)
2) A few more purple beans (not yet visible), planted last week
3) Hopefully some lettuce (also not yet visible, also started last week)
4) Onions
5) Rosemary
6) Tomato plant
7) Jalapeno pepper plant
8) Sage
9) Dill
10) Oregano
11) Tomato plant #2
12) The tiniest little basil plant, just out of the ground
13) Tomato plant #3
14) The second-tiniest basil plant, plus another round of 2-3 basil plants (once they pop out of the ground)
15) Tomato plant #4 (there's one cherry and one grape tomato plant among the four and of course I didn't mark which is which)
16) A new batch of purple beans, planted the same day as the green beans in location #2

Early highlights:

Three of the tomato plants I bought settled in well, especially one in particular that is growing wildly and has two flowers already:

The onions, part of a huge surplus batch (truly, dozens or maybe a hundred) that a neighbor dropped off for the gardeners:

The herbs are doing well, though the star so far is actually the lemon balm plant on our patio table back at home. That plant must have tripled in size since I potted it a few weeks back. Lemon balm is in the mint family, so I shouldn't be too surprised by its fast growth.

Anyway, sage at the garden, growing nicely:

I started basil from seed in between my tomato plants. It sprouted last week and is so tiny but without a doubt basil, and I felt excited that I didn't have to google images of tiny basil plant like I had to do last year with the green bean plants (to make sure they aren't weeds).

Also, those clover plants you see on the left side of the "view from above" photo (in between our plot and the next one to the left) are good for the soil - I think I'm getting the names and facts right here - but they were curving over one side of our plot and obscuring it. I noticed this on one visit last week and pushed it back a bit, freeing up about eight extra inches of gardening space on the plot's long edge!

Mixed success:

Purple beans: It feels wrong to put the beans in the "mixed success" category because they were the first seeds out of the ground. But even though they're growing well, they've been attacked by some creature that's making holes in the leaves. (You can kind of see the holes in the "view from above" photo.) The leaves aren't completely gobbled, so I'm crossing my fingers.

The dill plant was also part of a surplus donation, and it's not quite robust yet. One tomato plant is also in that category.

Less successful (or more accurately, not at all successful):

Lettuce and Swiss chard: Areas 2 and 3 on the map are still pretty quiet, and that's because I planted lettuce and Swiss chard that never sprouted. I think the problem is that I planted the seeds too deep. (The seed packet recommends just 1/8 of an inch under ground!)

Late last week, I tried again with more lettuce, in three even rows, so I'm hoping I'll see some progress soon. I used some of the space to plant another batch of purple beans, to stagger the plot's bean production.

To do:
  • Buy and plant a poblano pepper plant.
  • Try again with Swiss chard in the remaining free space.
  • Bring a stake over for the pepper plant sometime soon.
That's the three-week update! If you have a garden, what successes and challenges are you seeing? What herbs or vegetables am I overlooking that I could still get settled in the remaining space next to the tomatoes? (And of course, if you are cringing at a mistake I'm making, definitely drop me an email or comment! I welcome all advice and tips!)

1 comment:

  1. Swiss chard and lettuces are notoriously slow this year...I'm thinking maybe not enough hot sun and a little too much rain! Kale is even limping along! Keep your hopes up, each year is a new adventure in the garden!