Front Yard Vegetable Garden Update! August

Title

Heirloom Tomatoes

 

I just ate a bug.  And that’s not the worst of it.  I have a bug on my boob and 3 of them in my hair.  Actually eating one probably was the worst of it.

I just got in from talking with some of my neighbours outside and we were viciously attacked by some gnats.  They weren’t biting bugs or anything but they were swarmy.  All kind of flitty and bothersome.  Like Bieber fans.

At around 7:30 tonight I sauntered down the street with that very basket of tomatoes you see in the picture above, handing them out to neighbours, strangers … the homeless guy who lives in the bush.  I guess technically he’s not homeless, he does have a home, it just happens to be a tarp.

Anyone and everyone got a tomato.  It’s been a bumper crop.  The problem is … they just don’t taste as good as the ones I tasted at Tree & Twig.  I asked the owner,  Linda about that and she said it was probably my soil.  Apparently she has delicious dirt.  The amount and types of minerals and nutrients and compost and stuff you have in your soil makes a big difference in how the things you grow in it taste.  She’s a proponent of Spanish River Carbonatite which is proven to increase the Brix count of what’s grown in it.

 Blah, blah, blah,  who cares, don’t understand what she’s talking about so I’m going to go play with cheese  now.  That’s what you’re thinking right?

All that means is, if you amend your soil with this stuff your tomatoes will be sweeter.  The Brix count is a measurement of sugar levels.  I learned all about it when I was teaching myself to make Maple Syrup this spring.

So even though this here front yard food patch is barely growed up, I’ve already started planning next year’s garden. And it will include Spanish River Carbonatite.

Settle in.  This is gonna be a big one …

Onto the reveal!

 

 

Front Yard Vegetable Garden

 

Wanna grow something that produces from spring until fall, has bright colours and never looks messy and floppy?  Grow Swiss Chard. It’s the tall, upright plants on both sides of my path.

 

Front Path

 

You might notice some bare spots.  That’s where old vegetables came out, and new vegetables are still being planted.

 

Front Right

 

The famous Amish Cockscomb.  The most fantastic flower ever grown.  Want some?  Buy it from Tree & Twig here.

 

Cockscomb

 

No idea.  If you know what he is … lemme know.  They SWARM the Cockscomb every day.

 

Bug

 

Remember the Great Green Bean experiment?  Well, this is how the pole beans look less than a month later.

 

Green Beans

 

Green Pole Beans

 

This is disaster corner.  Welcome to it.  I had planted 4 Zucchinis and every SINGLE one of them croaked due to a variety of ailments and pests.  The same pests got 3 of my 4 Acorn Squash plants.  For hours I hand picked Striped Beetles and Squash Bugs off my  plants only to have them up and die from a gross maggoty thing that bores into the stem of the plant and eats it from the inside out.  So you don’t even know it’s there!  Vine Borers are vile, parasitic annoyances.  Like Nickleback fans.

Just kidding.

About the fans.  Not about Nickelback though.  Yeah, yeah, you’re a big fan.  Whatever. They’re no Barenaked Ladies.  This is about vegetables anyway …

Squash And Sweet Potato

 

So I have managed to get a few acorn squash off of this one vine, but thanks to Squash Vine Borer I lost all my other vines. 

Update: I have been growing squash successfully for years now in my 40′ x 40′ community garden. I researched and learned how to prevent and control squash vine borer by literally watching for them and cutting them out of the plants! You can read my whole post covering squash vine borer prevention and control here. 

Acorn Squash

 

This is the sweet potato patch.  There better be sweet potatoes under that patch of vines or there’s gonna be a shit show.  They take up a lot of space those sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Vines

 

Green peppers which will eventually be red peppers. We’ve harvested 2 reds already and have another 15 or so on the 2 plants.

 

Pepper

 

My biggest surprise has been the celery.  I will never go celeryless again.  Think about it.  How often do you buy a bunch of celery, use a few pieces and then let the rest of it wither then turn slimy in your crisper? Always.  You always, always do that.  Or maybe I always, always do that.  Regardless, growing celery is the perfect solution.  I go outside, pull of a few stalks and let the plant continue to grow.  I’ve been doing this all summer long and it thrills me every single time.  Also, celery from the garden is so crunchy it feels like the earth is moving underneath you when you bite into it.

Celery In Garden
Tomatoes.  Yup.  Even though I don’t really like them, I grew 4 varieties of tomatoes.  It’s my way of trying to like them.  And growing them really has increased my appetite for these little suckers.  I ordered all of my seeds from Linda at Tree & Twig, OTHER THAN one variety.  I decided I really wanted to grow Black Krim tomatoes.  They’re dark, dark tomatoes with a hint of saltiness to them.  So I ran up to my local organic seed store and grabbed a packet of Black Krim seeds.  They were the tomatoes I was most looking forward to.  I sold and gave a bunch of my Black Krim seedlings away, but kept one for myself.  I waited all summer for it to start producing tomatoes.  And it did.  That plant has produced more tomatoes than I could ever possibly eat.  It’s about 8 feet high and COVERED in … not Black Krim tomatoes.  Apparently there was some kind of mixup on the seed store floor which resulted in me growing some boring, round, flavourless tomato.

If I gave/sold you a Black Krim I’m sorry if it turned out to be a boring, round, flavourless tomato.  If you DID end up with a Black Krim … drop a few off on my porch.

Tomatoes

 

Dinosaur Kale.  Still doin’ well after 3 months in the garden plus because of it’s blue tinge it looks great too. Kale is especially good when it’s grown in cold weather so I’m going to plant a couple of more plants and try my luck at some winter kale.

Kale

 

The last of the carrots.  These will be carrot soup by tomorrow.

Garden Carrots

 

And these will hopefully be full grown carrots by the end of October or so.  I tried to plant succession crops with anything that does well in cool weather.  Things like carrots.

Carrots

And beets.

Beet

I still have a fair amount of beets in the ground, but I want to make sure I have beets to store for the winter so a couple of weeks ago I planted a bunch of beet seeds where my lettuce used to be.

 

Beets

 

And since my lettuce is all gone, of course I had to plant more lettuce.

 

Lettuce

 

Another succession crop I’m trying is peas.  Not a single pea from my first batch made it into the house.  I sat in the dirt and ate the peas.  All of the peas.

Peas

 

One of the plants I was ridiculously excited about growing was potatoes.  SO excited.  I experimented with a few ways of planting them to see which one worked best.  Some of the vines have already died back completely …

Potatoes

 
While others are still HUGE and green.

Full Potatoes

 

I couldn’t help myself.  I had to scrape away the straw and dirt to see if there actually were potatoes under there.

Be still my heart.  There were.

 French Fingerlings

French Fingerling

 Kennebecs

Potato In Dirt

 

So the front yard vegetable garden I was worried the neighbours would shun me for has done the exact opposite.  I visit my neighbours more, dropping off extra produce, I talk with them more as they walk by and ask questions, I hear about how at first they were sceptical but have decided next year they’re going to have a front yard vegetable garden too.

If I could get a Nickelback for all the people I turned into Beliebers I’d be rich.

 

98 Comments

  1. cameo says:

    Those wasps are wonderful and badass. They dig a hole and then go find a big, fat caterpillar, who is probably in the middle of eating some plant you’ve been babying all season. They paralyze it with a sting, stick it in the hole they’ve dug, lay an egg on it and seal up the hole and leave. The egg hatches and the baby wasp proceeds to eat that fat jerky caterpillar alive. A suitable punishment, I feel. Plus, the wasps don’t have nests so they’re not all territorial aka aggressive. Tiny wasps are great for a garden too. They also eat caterpillars, tiny ones. They get them before they’re too big to do any real damage. You attract tiny wasps with tiny white flowers, like alyssum or letting some of your basil flower. Finally! Someone I can spout off about my love of garden wasps to! Thanks Karen, your blog is wonderful. I’ve put down the book I was reading because I’m apparently just going to read your entire blog instead.

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