Peas always take me by surprise. One day, you have pea vines and the next, BOOM, peas. These are shelling peas (vs snap peas), so we need to wait a smidge more for them to fatten up.
This area of my garden has just exploded! In the raised bed pictured up front, I have growing: sorrel, lettuce, borage, kale, and nasturtium (in that order). The nasturtium in particular, is going CRAZY.
Nasturtiums are fun, useful plants to grow. They fill in a space quickly with beautiful bright orange flowers and lily-pad shaped leaves. The flowers are edible (they have a nice zesty, peppery flavor) and you can also pickle the flower buds for an alternative to capers. Last year, I found that hummingbirds were attracted to the flowers as well.
We’ve been enjoying the very first of the raspberries! I always look forward to eating these in the summer. Some people wonder about how to grow raspberries, because they are afraid they will spread. Our plants have been growing quite nicely in a raised bed for a few years now. At some point soon, I’ll likely move some of the plants to another bed or space and start afresh. Anyhow, they can easily be contained in a bed or with a border.
We’ve been eating strawberries here and there for the last couple weeks as well. As a reminder, we grew our strawberries in this Big Grow Bed that I can’t recommend enough. It’s a simple, no-build, inexpensive alternative to constructing a raised bed. It’s also great if you are in a temporary living situation or want more growing space NOW! The other advantage – we’ve not had ANY slug damage on our berries this year. I’d almost given up on growing strawberries for this exact reason in the past.
Here they are with their Furbies. I’m not sure what the deal is, but they played with these things for like 10 hours yesterday. Until finally this morning, the larger one developed an Australian accent and then ran out of batteries.
The first of my tomatoes are starting to develop. Last year, I grew a ton of tomato plants in pots and it was a TOTAL bust. I see posts where people talk about growing tomatoes in buckets or upside down or all kinds of fancy things, but I’m beginning to think for the best fruit, tomatoes need real room to throw down roots and develop nice, hearty fruit. Of course, this may be anecdotal as I’m just one person, but I’ve decided to only grow my toms in my raised beds (or eventually, the ground) from here on out.
What has your experience been growing tomatoes in containers? Better than mine?
My pumpkins are starting to blossom! This year, we’re growing the miniature variety we had success with growing last year. Some people will tell you not to grow things like pumpkin in a raised bed. BAH! I say. I just planted mine towards the edge of the bed and let the vines cascade over the side and along the ground. It totally worked and they were really fun for the kids to watch grow. Just watch out for the slugs!
I wanted to update you on the progress of my no-build garden bed I assembled using mostly recycled and inexpensive materials a couple months ago. Honestly, some plants are thriving in this environment more than others.
The pumpkins, zucchini and comfrey are LOVING this set up. Some of the flowers… are just meh. I planted a few on the bottom part of the slope that have failed to grow much at all. If you decide to replicate this type of a garden, I’d encourage you to plant vigorous growers (such as squashes, cucumbers) or small, creeping type herbs. I am thinking strawberries would also work nicely for their spreading habit.
Here’s a newer addition, also planted on that sunny slope: goji berry! I nestled it between two mature flower bushes, worked in some good soil and compost and kind of staked it up as it seems to be a bit of a floppy plant. So far, looks good. It may be a couple years before it produces fruit, we’ll see!
Here’s that comfrey I mentioned that’s loving the new garden bed. I think by the size of the leaves and growth, it’s saying “I want to be a big plant!” Yowzers. I mainly chose this plant because I’ve read it’s an amazing compost activator. You can chop the leaves several times during the growing season and it will really get things heated up! It can also be used as a poultice to soothe skin conditions (though I’ve not tried this yet).
When I first started gardening, I pretty much ONLY wanted to plant edibles. But in the last couple years, I’ve really come to fall in love with flowers of all kinds! Having a variety of flowers come in bloom at different times of the season keeps the bees happy, and just adds a pleasing splash of color to your garden palette. Some flowers, like the borage and lavender pictured in the bottom row in the picture above, are edible or can be used to make potpourriKiwis are doing good! Not only have they begun to climb over the top of the arbor, “Mr” finally tied the knot with “Mrs!”
While I don’t have a ton ready to harvest these days, I do have some. Here I am with some berries I picked yesterday, fresh mint (I love to make tea with the fresh leaves!) and oregano which went into last night’s quiche (I made this recipe – SO good – I had 2.5 pieces – DOH!). We’ve also been enjoying fresh salads with the lettuce, sorrel, and some volunteer parsley that’s come up. I anticipate we’ll have some zucchini and peas here in the next couple weeks to enjoy, as well as more raspberries.
What’s growing in your garden these days? I’ve love to hear about it!