Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Vegetable Garden Tour

My vegetable garden had a somewhat rocky start this year as I decided that I was not going to buy any plants this year - they would all be started by seed by me. I mostly was able to accomplish that. The following are pictures from ten days ago and the same area this morning so you can see the growth over that time.

The tomato bed I built last year was filled with compost and topped off with compost/soil from another bed. I planted the tomatoes on the far end at the end of April and had the rest planted by the middle of May. Last year I had my tomatoes planted by the middle of May and they did great. I use cold hardier varieties, like Early Girl, so they don't even seem to be slowed down by the cool weather.
So many things want to eat my peppers this year - and they eat them down to a stick in the ground - if I'm lucky they leave that much. For the slugs I tried lava pebbles, cayenne pepper, coffee grounds, sand, and mullein leaves. So far the mullein leaves have worked the best. I put a little skirt around each plant with the mullein leaves facing up. The slugs do not like to crawl across it because of all the hairs on the leaves. One did cross and died a dried-up horrible death on the pepper plant it reached -- even though it was quite moist that day.
For the rabbits I have been trying coffee grounds. I thought if they could throw off the tracking capabilities of trained drug dogs, they might work with our mutant rabbits. So far, so good. It has even worked on the beets that they have been mowing down.
The squash is hidden somewhere behind all this garlic. My squash falls victim to the squash borer every year, so this year I threw every bit of companion planting deterrent that I could get my hands on: icicle radishes, borage, garlic, onions, and nasturtiums. Something has got to work, right?
This bed was built last year for growing pumpkins. Instead of crop rotation, I am just going to switch out the soil every so often as this will be the only bed big enough to house the big squash. What I have labeled as muskmelon actually turned out to be pickling cucumbers. Where did I plant that muskmelon??
I'm hoping that the plants that I have labeled as muskmelon in this picture really are muskmelon*! You can see that my leek bed has gotten really full.
*Nope. Pickling cucumbers.
These are just two extra shots of my vegetable garden ten days ago. I have had to use a lot of chicken wire this year due to the evil bunnies. But I think I may have a better solution: higher raised beds!


Anonymous Ann Flowers said...

Very Beautiful. A walk around your garden could get you into a very nice frame of mind!

6/24/2010 1:44 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

Your garden is coming along nicely.

Have you put cups of beer in the garden at night? This works very well. I also spray around the perimeter of my beds to keep the bunnies really works.

6/24/2010 5:54 AM  
Blogger vrtlarica said...

The plants are growing very fast this time of year. Too bad about damage to the vegetables, but now it seems that all plants are protected.

I feel very luck that we don’t have any bunnies around our gardens.

6/24/2010 7:06 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Ann Flowers, yes, even if I don't have time to work in the garden, I will take a quick stroll through.

Robin, I didn't try beer because I didn't have any that I would sacrifice :) My neighbor promised to bring me some but never followed through. What do you spray around the garden?

Vrtlarica,I started this post on the 13th, but postponed it due to GBBD. When I went to post it just 10 days later, I realized how much the garden had grown, so I decided to show that too!
Rabbits are a scourge!

6/24/2010 8:01 AM  
Blogger The Violet Fern said...

What a great garden! Wish they had taste tests on here. I have had slug trouble, too. So far I've tried eggshells and pennies (I guess their slime reacts with copper - sort of sci fi.) I was able to curb my rabbits with yarrow and marigolds. Dog hair and orange peels in the past. I also have lots of clover in my lawn - their most favorite!

6/24/2010 8:14 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

The Violet Fern, pennies? That is a good idea. I planted marigolds to keep the rabbits away, but I guess I didn't plant them thick enough. Dog hair has worked for me too, but I for whatever reason haven't used it yet.
And I actually planted clover in the yard years ago and they are just too drawn to my vegetable garden to care.

6/24/2010 8:55 AM  
Blogger Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Lovely vegetable garden! Our raised beds, thus far, have kept the bunnies out. Along the pennies idea, we have used sticky copper tape (many garden centers carry it). It did a fantastic job of protecting our hops, when before the slugs would mow them to the ground before they could get going.

6/24/2010 3:34 PM  
Blogger Zoey said...

What a great looking veggie garden--love those raised beds. Good luck keeping all the critters out...I know it is quite a battle!

6/24/2010 6:34 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Curbstone Valley Farm, I might have to try that copper if the mullein doesn't hold.

Zoey, thanks. I rather like the look of the vegetable garden as well. I am looking to expand this garden outward, and now upward!

6/24/2010 7:12 PM  
Anonymous Ellen said...

Love these pictures and your detailed notes! I am so behind on my garden blogging but not so far behind on my actual garden. I just spend more time updating the cooking site.

6/24/2010 10:16 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Ellen, I have trouble keeping up with the blog during the early growing season -- way too much to do!

6/24/2010 10:44 PM  
Blogger noel said...

aloha sylvana,

wow, i commend all the progress, you have a beautiful vegetable potager along with the usual suspects of critters that like to come to your harvest...sounds like you are got the control portion in sync....i love to see how things are quickly growing!

6/25/2010 11:56 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Noel, thanks. I couldn't believe how much growth had happened in just ten days.

6/25/2010 9:30 PM  
Blogger Grace Peterson said...

Hi Sylvana, I'm impressed with your tidy veggie gardens. And I'm amazed at what a 10 day stretch can accomplish. You must have some mighty healthy soil.

I have heard Diatomacious Earth, which is just crushed seashells is a great deterrent for slugs. I haven't tried it though since I grow very few edibles and use commercial slug bait around my ornamentals.

I hope your resident bunny population can resist your goodies without you having to up the ante so to speak.

6/26/2010 4:37 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Grace, I thank you for your generosity in calling it tidy. I do try to keep it looking nice for myself and my neighbors. These beds were filled with pure compost and compostables - no soil, it's too expensive when compost is FREE!

I have looked for Diatomacious Earth and can't find it in the garden centers around here. But to be honest, I don't know how to pronounce it, so I tell them "I'm looking for the seashell stuff that slugs don't like." I just get a weird look. I figure if they were really knowledgeable about gardens and had this in stock, they would know what I was talking about.

6/27/2010 4:38 PM  
Blogger debsgarden said...

Your vegetable garden looks great! Your beds seem very organized, and everything looks healthy. I also like all the natural ways you are using to deter pests. I will have to remember the coffee grounds!

6/27/2010 6:25 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

DebsGarden, the coffee grounds have been working really well. The rabbits have been avoiding the areas that I really doused down with the grounds. And they last for a long time, unlike the cayenne pepper and garlic chives that I had been using. I just bought a whole flat of marigolds (end of season 1/2 off!)and have planted those around anything that the rabbits have been devastating. Marigolds are said to repel rabbits. I guess we will see if the increased number of plants, 30, will be more effective than the eight I had previously.

6/27/2010 7:54 PM  
Blogger meemsnyc said...

We started all of our plants from seed too. It's a lot of hard work but so rewarding!

6/27/2010 9:58 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

it looks fantastic! Things happen fast out there, huh? I love alll the little outbuildings on your property too. THe whole thing is gorgeous.

6/28/2010 11:58 AM  
Blogger primrozie said...

Looks great! You've been really busy! This isn't one of my better years, but I'm getting some things done at home that have needed my attention. We're still looking for property so in order to get the best loan rate it will have to be a home equity loan. Repairs on said home have to be made first.

I'm dreaming of a little herd of goats with some grazing room in addition to my garden space. :D

6/28/2010 12:58 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Meemsync, I have to say that even though there has been some heartaches and headaches involved with starting seeds, I like FAR BETTER than buying plants! :)

Wendy, we have been getting so much rain, its hard for things not to grow. The raised beds have been great at allowing the excess to drain away, while the bedding stays nice and moist from all the rain.

I'm slowly converting my 1/4 acre property into an urban homestead.

Primrozie, mmmm... goat's milk cheese.
Good luck on finding your property!

6/28/2010 2:00 PM  
Blogger joey said...

All looks wonderful and so neat and tidy! Thank you for popping over ... it's been a joy visiting your lovely garden and now, as a follower, will return to catch up.

6/30/2010 8:34 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Joey, I am so surprised to hear everyone telling me that my vegetable garden looks neat and tidy. I'm glad though because I have a grouchy neighbor that hates gardens because they think they look messy and would rather see a yard be a carpet of grass -- like theirs. I think a yard could be put to much better use.

6/30/2010 2:46 PM  
Blogger Annelie said...

As always, your writing entertains me. :)
Looks like there wont be many trips to the grocery store for vegetables this summer. You've got a lot going on. Fun.
For snails, I read somewhere that you can put egg shells out around the plant.
About rabbits, I think you might be right about raising the bed. Mine is raised a foot off the ground, plus I have chicken wire - and no bunnies yet. Also, read that you can collect human hair and stuff into nylon socks and put it in your garden. A bit creepy though.

7/01/2010 7:42 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Annelie, I'm glad you get me :)
Those stinking rabbits ate one of my brussel sprout plants today! And I had it surrounded with marigolds and coffee grounds.

I have been using branches from my barberry shrub. That has really worked, but it makes it hard for me to get to the plants.

I hope the higher raised beds works, because I am running out of options.

7/01/2010 7:42 PM  
Anonymous Barry said...


Beautiful garden! Hard to tell you are having problems. I admire your wide open spaces as I enjoy nature, but I am not sure I would like to fight off wild animals from my garden.

I am only face with neighbors letting their pets loose now and then, but hardly a garden problem. Beer does work but I would rather keep it for my self, but some times when I have friends over I find left over beer in cans that I put to good use getting rid of slugs.

7/04/2010 4:47 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Barry, thanks. Other people usually see things about my garden I have trouble seeing so it's nice to get outside perspective.

Neighborhood pets aren't usually a problem in my vegetable garden, but definitely a problem in my ornamental garden.

I will have to give the beer another shot.

7/07/2010 9:20 AM  
Anonymous modeflowers said...

Nice garden. Very clean and so green.

3/23/2011 9:26 PM  

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