The 2008 Vegetable Garden!!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

If you're looking for tomatoes -- scroll down. I've given the tomato garden its own posting, since it's the largest tomato garden I've ever planted. Venus and I were normally limited, due to space concerns, to five or six plants at most. But now? With the new home and the quarter-acre sized backyard? Try 24 tomato plants, and still growing!

But there are other things in the garden, and here's a rundown on what's growing in the North Natomas home of Bill and Venus Bird:

Located to your right, is the bed devoted to peppers, a variety of pea called Mr. Big Pea and at least one rogue strawberry plant. The strawberry is my fault. It was one of those "impulse" purchases that I later regretted. Although I fully intend to build a bed dedicated solely to strawberries, it's not done yet and that plant had to go somewhere.

Most of the peppers are heirloom varieties, and include Flamingo, Lilac, Tequila, Ariane, Mariachi and Early Sensation. The hot varieties include, but are not limited too, Purple Cayenne and Habanero.

Next up -- the bed devoted to lettuce (a wide variety), green onions, radishes, spinach, cauliflower, basil, cilantro...and a bunch of other stuff I'm forgetting.

Everything you see in this bed was planted by Venus, direct seed into the ground. Needless to say, we've been eating lots of salad this spring. Radishes just love the raised beds, and grow to be the size of baseballs, or in some cases, resemble carrots in terms of length and width.

Seeds for these beds came from a wide variety of places, including Pine Tree Seeds, Home Depot, and even seeds from the nearby Dollar Store (ten packs for a buck!)

Finally, what garden would be complete without corn and sunflowers? Venus absolutely had to have sunflowers in the garden this year. She's wanted them for years, but we just never had the room! We've got that room now -- in spades, so who was I to argue when she started sprinking sunflower seeds among the corn?

There are two different types of corn planted in the bed so far, and we continue to plant new varieties every other week. The first type is a standard Burpee hybrid, but the second type from Pine Tree Seeds is an heirloom variety that's been around for at least 100 years. Guess which one will be better? My guess is the heirloom variety. But, time will tell.

Not pictured here? Black zucchini. I can hardly wait.

And, finally, if you're going to garden extensively, you've got to have some of the sweet stuff. This is Sweet Diane Watermelon, just getting started. This is my first attempt at growing Sweet Diane, which is, once again, another heirloom variety. I believe it's been around for 100 years or longer, and I'm guessing it's VERY good.

Varieties just don't stand the test of time unless they are THAT GOOD. So, this will be an interesting experiment to say the least. Sweet Diane is supposed to grow watermelons in the 10 to 15 lb. range. They ripen in late August, and love heat, which means it's the perfect fruit vine for Sacramento weather conditions.


Anonymous said...

I read the article in the newspaper about disappearing honey bees. It's interesting that the plant eaten by monarch butterfly larva is diminishing because genetically altered seeds, for food crops, prevent the plant from growing. Perhaps genetically altered crops are affecting the bees, and just like frogs being affected by pesticides in water, the bees are the "canary in the cage" for genetically altered crops.

Bill Bird said...

I suppose one would want to look at that -- although I really hate to demonize GMO's. They get enough grief already. I do know that GMO seed isn't REAL big in California -- although some of it is probably in use somewhere. Who knows? It could be our fault that the bees ran off to find another home! That could always be the cause. My personal opinion is that it's due to the rapid disappearance of clover in lawns. There was a time when every neighborhoo lawn had a little or a lot of clover in it. But then it was labled a nuisance weed -- and the newer fertilizers kill off clover growth. Who knows? I hope they find an answer someday.

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