Grit Blogs > A Long Time Coming

Goings-On In the Garden

A photo of Shannon SaiaMuch goings on in the garden this week!

I’m currently harvesting broccoli, kale, salad greens and radishes. I planted PacMan broccoli this year, picked up at a big box store. The only other broccoli transplants I’ve gotten have been much bigger plants, so I wasn’t expecting the compact and quick-maturing PacMan to be ready so quickly, and to take up so small a space. Had I known I would have planted more. I’ve been steaming it and eating it with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. It’s awesome. I’m already planning my fall broccoli strategy.

side shoots on pacman broccoli 

Favorite use of kale is currently omelets, made with eggs fresh from a local farmer. I have a small patch of kale (about 1’x2’) and I go out there and pick all the decent sized leaves once or twice a week. It’s the perfect amount. Same deal with the spring salad mix greens. I also have my red speckled romaine doing well, which I really like. Not big enough to eat yet though!

I finally identified the mystery volunteer growing up in my pea patch – it’s my old friend kohlrabi!


Speaking of volunteers, I think this is a Johnny Jump-Up from last year’s planting. So pretty. Quick web search confirms that that is, in fact, what it is.

johnny jump up 

Speaking of peas, I’ve confirmed once again that they don’t do well in my garden. Neither does spinach. I’ve either got to give up on them or solve the problem.

Speaking of problems, I kind of discovered by accident that the reason my broccoli leaves are turning magenta whenever I put my transplants in is probably a phosphorous deficiency. I’m going to keep this in mind and amend the soil before putting in my fall transplants in a few months and see if that fixes the problem.

My beneficial bug mix flowers are coming up, but except for a few things which are obvious (only because they’re big and unrecognizable) it’s still kind of hard to tell the flowers from the weeds, so I haven’t tried to pull any weeds out of that spot yet. Much more obvious to me are the calendulas coming up.

calendulas coming up 

I LOVE these flowers. They’re great for little arrangements in the house. My marigolds are coming up quite nicely and I expect to see little blooms on them before too awful long.

Speaking of blooms – my first tomato blooms!

tomatoes in bloom 

Finally, a female bloom on my zucchini!

female bloom on zucchini 

Peppers getting ready to bloom! Boy am I excited about my peppers this year.

jalepeno plant with first blossoms 

I moved my one watermelon transplant today because it appears that I inadvertently planted it in an ant hill and it wasn’t doing well. We’ll see if the transplant helps. But if it doesn’t, I seem to have some volunteer watermelons applying to take over the job. I may move them to somewhere that will be a little more convenient for me when they get a little bigger.

young watermelon plants 

I am still compost impaired. I decided I really just want to get a compost tumbler. Sure, they’re probably not necessary, and it’s an expensive way to do something that shouldn’t cost me anything, but trust me, I’ve made a number of attempts and I can’t get this thing right. However, funds – make that priorities with funds – do not currently allow that kind of indulgence, so I improvised. I figured, if you can do it out of a trash can, you can do it out of a Rubbermaid tub, right? Well, we’ll see. If this works you can bet I”ll be posting pictures of my black gold.

compost bin made from rubbermaid tub 

And finally – the cavalry is out.  Hurray!

ladybug on jalepeno plant 

ladybug on potato plant 

Oh, and of course it wouldn’t be a picture of my garden if there wasn’t a muddy kid in it…..

kid playing in mud 


s.m.r. saia
5/13/2011 2:23:45 PM

Cindy and N. Dave, thanks for coming by. Stay tuned for my next post where I describe how - the very DAY after I posted this - I found that a groundhog had demolished my cabbage, cauliflower, that kohlrabi and the rest of my broccoli! So - Cindy - while I can say that I did escape the rabbit's nest this year (sorry you've got that!) I am apparently still running the local buffet. So, once again, Argghg!! N. Dave, yes, I do pick that tub up and flip it every day or so. That's why I chose the 1/2 tub size, so I could flip it. So far so good. Only problem being that it's already about full.....

nebraska dave
5/12/2011 9:57:53 PM

Shannon, my goodness your garden is doing well. I just got my tomatoes planted today along with the green peppers. I still haven't gotten the potatoes planted. That's on my list for tomorrow. I probably won't see my first bite of fresh vine ripen tomato until the latter part of July. Then for two months or until the acid causes fever blisters on the inside of the mouth, it will be lettuce, tomato, and bacon sandwiches every day. Juicy tomatoes in the salads and spiced tomatoes canned for those winter soups. I have completed stage one of the beautification of the poor man's patio trellis. It is comprised of four hanging baskets of Impatiens a good shade plant. I haven't decided exactly what will be on the sides yet but I'm leaning toward begonias as they are a tough shade plant as well. Hopefully by the end of the weekend I'll be well on the way to having garden and patio planted. That is if it ever quits raining. We aren't being deluged with rain but it's just enough to keep me from digging in the dirt. So how does a compost tub work. Do you pick it up and give it a shake every so often? The only time my compost gets turned is when I pull off the top layers and scoop out the bottom done compost to use in the garden. Then I put the top layers back in the compost area and start dumping on the new material. Works for me. Have a great garden day.

cindy murphy
5/11/2011 7:35:16 AM

Hi, Shannon. I'm always amazed at how much further along you are in your southern climate than we are up here....especially this year, with our very cold and very wet spring. My lettuce, planted weeks ago, is just barely starting to grow. I bet I have something in the garden that's growing quickly that you don't have, though. I remember you problem with rabbits last year. This past weekend I found a nest of baby bunnies - nine of them - smack dab in the middle of a tub of strawberries, which is smack dab in the middle of the vegetable garden. Soon, all they'll have to do is literally roll out of bed into an open buffet of blackberries, spinach, arugula, lettuce, and asparagus. This, of course, comes after the strawberry appetizer. You said it last year; this year it's my turn: "ARGH!!!" The muddy kid I have in my garden though, is quite pleased!