I've been wanting to post about the bounty I have been gathering from my tiny community garden plot, but was put off by 1. forgetting my camera every time I went, and 2. not being able to get good photos due to a. the backdrop of weeds in the plots that border mine (argh! they should just let me use their space!), and b. the awkward shape of my plot (sort of trapezoidal).
But I'm posting about it anyway.
For the second year in a row I planted one of my favorite flowers of all time: the sweet pea. And for the second year, my plants failed. I got a wall full of leaves and one flower. I grew these all the time as a kid, I don't know what I am doing wrong!Here are the delicious cherry tomatoes that are going crazy. This plant is huge! I had no idea tomatoes could get so tall. This is a sungold cherry tomato. I found out later it, as well as my eggplants, is a hybrid. I am going to try and find heirlooms next year, but as I only grow one or two plants, I prefer seedlings to seeds for these crops.
Roma tomatoes. Daddy-O bought this seedling for me for 49 cents!Mmmm, I am loving the ruby red swiss chard this year. I planted two rows, and just put down seeds for a third, hoping I will get more in the fall.In the above photo you can see, left to right, sweet peas, peppers and eggplant, chard, arugula, kale. I had great success with my lacinato kale, too. I just put down two more rows. At the end of the chard row is a lavender plant which never took off (so sad) and a rosemary. Also Kiddo's mini sunflower.
Fairytale Eggplants.I planted bush beans, but they never got higher than a few inches, and produced about 10 beans. I think they had too much shade.
I also grew a lot of mesclun greens, arugula, basil, dill, lemon thyme, rosemary, cilantro and parsley.
One last view, from different angle, the tomatoes are far to the right. You might be able to see some of my cosmos and coreopsis. I am especially proud of my cosmos. Last year I mostly grew flowers for cutting, I saved the seeds from the orange cosmos, since I liked them the best.
Unfortunately, some creature has been eating the blossoms off the mini pumpkin plant we planted from the seeds we saved.
Things I learned about gardening this year:
Don't plant tomatoes so that one plant shades the other. Duh, duh, and duh again.
Cool rainy weather is not good for eggplants and peppers.
Cool rainy weather is great for swiss chard, kale and salad greens.
I should grow salad greens only on my
balcony fire escape for ease of eating and to free up space.
I'm really not that into lilies. If they don't perform well next year. I'm giving them away.
If my tulips survive the wet soggy summer (they like to stay dry in summer), I will transplant my lemon thyme over them, since that needs little water in the summer. This will also free up valuable space.
Plants will do well much closer together than the spacing guidelines on seed packets.
Cilantro bolts very quickly.
No need to pull out an entire chard or kale plant at a time, just cut the leaves needed... the plant will keep producing!
Arugula will grow in the shade of the tomato plant.
Yay! for garden pictures! Thanks for sharing. I bought some fairytale eggplant today at the farmers' market for a curry dish, yum. Next year, I hope to plant my own - when we'll be home more.
My mom's sweet peas fail every year--we can't figure it out. 🙁
Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog says
Oh, I love your garden photos! And thanks for sharing what you learned this year. I'll try growing the arugula in the shade of the tomatoes next year... that's a great idea!
Fantastic! So impressed! By the way, I'm not a gardener myself and always wonder what it means when people say something "bolted." ????
Alycia in Va. says
your garden looks a HECK better than mine. Sorry no ideas on for how to get your sweet peas to take off, I can't even get my tomatoes to bloom 🙂
Mom and Kiddo says
Shan: when something has bolted it means that it has flowered and is on its way to seed. This generally means the plant is about to run it's course and will stop producing (no more cilantro leaves!), but it often changes the flavor of the plant. For example, arugula which has started to flower is very spicy.
Ah, I see! Thank you for that gardening mini-lesson. 🙂
Brenda from Flatbush says
Even my "slow-bolting" cilantro bolts too quickly; it never gets bushy like the supermarket kind. And I have never, ever gotten sweet peas to grow beyond hopeful sprouts. Nice gardening, though!