Those who follow my gardening escapades here know I have several large flower gardens, but I hardly ever talk about my food garden. This is the year of food gardening for me. I spend more time in my vegetable garden than all of my flower gardens combined. I have even taken up a vegetable garden in a friend's backyard down the street.
My first harvest of the year was June 22 from my strawberry patch. I use strawberries as a border plant in my main garden. These are Honoeye. They have great flavor, but aren't consistently sweet. When they are sweet, they are the best strawberry around for fresh eating. They are always great for preserves.
On June 24 I had my first major spinach (Bloomsdale), lettuce (speckled Romaine) and broccoli (Packman) harvest.
And the Early Girls were setting fruit.
By July 09 we built an extra raised bed
and a squash trellis
to get even more out of our vegetable garden space. As you can see, I pack a lot into a little space. Each of these beds is 4'x16' and are loaded with more plants than some would dare put in twice the space.
In the first - the Broccoli Bed: 4ft of curled vates kale, 8ft Bloomsdale spinach, 10ft mixed lettuce, 8 Packman broccoli, 10 mixed pepper plants, 4 Early Girl tomatoes, 4 mixed tomatoes, 2 spaghetti squash, 2 zucchini, 12 garlic, 16 Maxibel filet beans, 4 rutabaga, 40 sweet peas, and basil plants here and there.
In the second -the Garlic Bed: 3 yellow summer squash, 18 Maxibel filet beans, 12 rutabaga, 45 garlic, 8sqft of volunteer American Flag leeks, 6 mixed tomatoes, 24ft various peas, 16ft large leaf basil, 1 volunteer broccoli, 4 turnips, 1 sweet pepper, and some spinach sprinkled here and there.
In the third -the Squash Bed: 2 Triple Treat pumpkin, 2 Table Queen acorn squash, 2 buttercup, 2 butternut, 6 edamame, 16ft Detroit Red beets, 16ftblack-eyed peas, 10 sweet yellow onions, 10 rutabaga, 15 large leaf basil, 6 shallots, and tons of volunteer lamb's quarter (which not only are an edible weed, but are high in nutrients and are darn tasty!).
By packing in the plants I reduce space for weeds, cool the ground, and reduce water loss. I had a goal this year to have enough to bring some of each to our local food bank. I am definitely meeting that goal. It's not only great to have somewhere to go with all my extra, it's great to know that I am helping others.