The Potager

The Potager

Thursday, April 28, 2011

First harvest - Radishes

The first harvest from the Potager on Wednesday - fresh radishes! These were French Breakfast radishes planted on March 12.

Tossed in vinegar and water with a bit of salt and pepper.

A fresh, yummy addition to our dinner!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Over wintering seeds in the garden

I am so excited by the cilantro I put in last fall (Read about that here). It looks healthy and is growing so fast now that the weather is warming up.
I will definitely plant it this way next year. I wonder if there's any other plants that can sown in the fall for a spring harvest?

Of course there is garlic. Our garlic patch looks nice - we'll see how it is when we harvest it.
And I do have a few carrots that were sown last fall that are growing now. (They are much bigger now than in this photo) And a volunteer lettuce plant that has not been photographed yet.
I'll have to research this before the fall. Anything to get a head start on the garden in the spring is a help!

Linking up to Tuesday Garden Party at

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Perennial/Herb garden is shaping up

With all the rainy Saturdays, we still haven't gotten the fence yet, but hubby did make the two raised beds for the addition to the Potager:
He brought home load of dirt from the dump. Sadly, it looks better than my garden soil inside the Potager. The boxes are 2 feet deep and 3 feet deep. This bed is going to hold perennial herbs and flowers that, hopefully, the deer won't eat, with some vegetables tucked in that, hopefully, the deer won't find. The fence we are getting is going to be ornamental, not deer proof.
Saturday was cold and rainy, then Easter Sunday was hot - high 80's. We had a good time with family, but no gardening was done. So right after work on Monday, I changed my clothes and went out into the Potager.

I took the Greek oregano out of the Potager and planted a bit of it here, along with some sage and rosemary.
I still need to get some chives and thyme, and whatever else interests me that I can squeeze in this box.
The bigger box will hold squash or something similar.

Smokey joined me in the garden, finding a cool spot to nap on the slate under the planter box.

I planted Nasturtiums in the box and weeded the beds.

Finally hubby said I needed to stop working so we could eat.  I think on beautiful days like this I could skip dinner and just stay working in the garden until dark. But I stopped and went inside to work on dinner.

Dinner, did somebody mention dinner?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Seriously? Another rainy Saturday?  I guess the upside is that there's a whole lot less watering for me to do.
The radishes planted in March are popping up. They are very small.
But it is exciting to see color in the Potager.
The ones planted on the other side of this box are not popping out. Either this variety just grew small or the floods last week washed off some of the soil exposing them.
Either way, they won't do much more once they've exposed themselves like this, so we may have tiny radishes with our Easter dinner.
The peas are sending out their little tendrils looking for something to wrap around. Once they find it they will begin to climb and cover the tee-pees.
 Yesterday morning I managed to get some pine straw mulch around the strawberries in the garden. I have seen a lot of southern gardening blogs talking about pine straw mulch and researched it. It's just pine needles. I live in the pine barrens. Hello! Why haven't I heard of this before? I used needles from the white pine tree, because they are softer and prettier than our scrub pine needles. They will add acidity to the soil, but I hear strawberries like that.
The extra strawberry plants I put in the pot are doing really well. They are growing in pure compost!

The asparagus is also doing great. Very thin stalks, but they look healthy and vigorous. Hopefully they will thicken up a bit next year and I can steal a few. Fresh from the garden asparagus is such a treat!

Outside the garden in the future perennial/herb bed, hubby and I are trying a potato box.

Hubs made a box out of cedar with tall stakes and 6 inch sides.

I then put compost in and put in some organic potatoes that had sprouted. I know everyone says you should always buy seed potatoes, but I'm really cheap. If this works, we probably will in the future.

I then covered the potatoes with more compost and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Soon the ground began to heave up and crack in several places and we knew the potatoes were growing.
And here they are! The potatoes are growing!

What will happen is they will grow to about 8 inches tall and hubby will add another 6 inch box around them, which I will again fill with a dirt, compost, peat moss mixture, leaving only 2 inches of potato leaves showing.

And that will be repeated until we reach the top of the stakes.

Inside the box, potatoes will grow all along the covered stems.
When the potato leaves die back, we will unscrew one side and scoop out the potatoes!

I have never had a fresh dug potato, but I've heard that they are sweet and very different from the storage potatoes we are all used to eating.

Since these are outside the Potager, we have covered them with wire fencing to protect them from the deer.

"There is little chance that meteorologists can solve the mysteries of weather until they gain an understanding of the mutual attraction of rain and weekends."  ~Arnot Sheppard

Friday, April 22, 2011

2 weeks before last frost

Happy Earth Day! It's about two weeks before last frost. Some sources say it's a week past last frost. But I know my area. We can have light frosts up until the second week of May.
This week I planted items that said "plant two weeks before your last frost". I've always found that funny. You never really know it was your last until weeks later.

The bed in the front of this picture is the bed with the English peas and turnips. There was also supposed to be oak leaf lettuce growing inside the pea tee-pee, but it never came up. I planted a Mesclun mix in front of the turnips.
In the bed behind it the snow peas, swiss chard and Freckles lettuce are all doing well.

Under the floating row cover I planted cabbage and broccoli. Neither will need pollination, so they will spend their life under the row cover in an attempt to thwart the cabbage moths and their caterpillars. The seedlings seemed a bit small compared to what I'm seeing in the garden centers. I'm sure they will catch up.
I tried to give some marigolds a head start and planted them early with a water jug cloche to keep them a little warmer.

The garlic is continuing to look healthy. The spinach, onions, carrots and radishes in this bed all are looking good.
But once again the beets have failed. I have a hard time with beets. Swiss chard does fine and it's in the same family.  It's a mystery to me.
I will have to think of something else to plant in that 2 square foot  beet bed.

In the front bed, by the gate, I planted scallions and lettuces. The ones you see growing are the ones I started indoors.

Excuse the messy back yard!

Speaking of the front gate, it was getting a bit wobbly, so hubby reinforced it. It's very sturdy now - and apparently cat proof.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Raspberry Bed is in

Sunday afternoon I finally planted the raspberries I got bought last month. Why the wait?

Soil - or our lack thereof.

Hubby built the box when he built the asparagus box.
I amended the asparagus box with compost, and so had a bit of extra soil to throw in this box.
I had some left over potting soil after re-potting the peppers and I found half a bag of garden soil in the shed... they went in the box.
Half a bag of manure and some compost went in the bed. It still wasn't deep enough. And then hubby, bless his soul, bought home three buckets of top soil from a job he was on that finally filled the box.
So the raspberries are now tucked behind the potager.
Hubby will add poles on either end to create supports for the vines.
Fresh raspberries!  My mouth is watering already.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The rain came down and the flood came up

While not of Biblical proportions, it poured on Saturday night.
With our sandy Pine Barren soil, it was all drained by the time we got up Sunday morning, but the evidence of the depth of the flood was all over the potager.

It was 2 -3 " deep in all the paths and a lot of soil was washed out of the boxes.

The flood ran in from the back and out the front gate.

The winter sown flowers took a boat trip! They ended up in different places from where they had been living for the past few months.
It's a good thing they are growing now and I can identify them, because the permanent marker I used on the jugs disappeared early on and I only knew what was in the jugs because of the order they were in. Not one was in the order it was originally in. Even the two left next to the box had reversed!

But everything seems to have survived.  The seeds that had not yet sprouted have started popping up - not washed away as I had feared. The garden got a good watering!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Repotting Project

From 40 peppers to 16. Still too many. But I'm not counting on them all surviving.

The Tomatoes (all 23 of them) were thinned down to one plant per pot.
Also too many.

The jalapenos and eggplants never did well in the little dollar store peat pots, so they were moved into bigger pots. I kept 4 jalapenos and 5 eggplants. and the little sweet potato slips were moved into a bigger pot too. I'm not sure if I'm going to plant them or not. I'll have to research how much room  they need.

And though it was hard, the unchosen plants ended up in the compost pile. Sigh.

It had to be done.

In the garden today

In the garden today, it is raining. I plan to re-pot some of my seedlings. I'm just taking time to steel myself up for sacrificing the weaker seedlings.
So I'll show you some photos from earlier this week when it was sunny -

Both the English peas and the Snow Peas are up. These are the English Peas. In front of them, the turnips are up. I planted three square foot boxes a couple of weeks apart, so some are very small, but all are up.
In the background you can see I added some pansies to the garden, next to the rose bush.
On the other side of the rose bush, the Greek oregano has greened up. It will be moved when we get the perennial bed finished. And next to that is the fall seeded Cilantro which is growing in leaps and bounds.
As far as the winter-sown flowers in those jugs...
 There have all sprouted. In a few weeks I'll take off the tops and get them used to being in full sun. It's nice to have that little bit of a head start.

 The transplanted asparagus has survived and is putting out skinny little stalks.
No eating them this year.
I do need to add more soil on top - it seems to have compressed in the last two weeks.

The onions are looking healthier, the spinach is now visible to the naked eye, as are the radishes.
The carrots and the beets are up, but you still have to look close to see them.

Also up, in other beds, are the swiss chard and lettuce.

Hopefully, it will be sunny tomorrow and I can get outside to plant.

Now it's time for me to go choose the best of the indoor seedlings to continue on. It's hard getting rid of the seedlings I don't want, but at this moment I have over 40 pepper plants. There's no way I have room for that many! I will take some to others, but I don't have 40 pots, so some are going into the compost pile.

The mere fact that you get a lot of seeds in a packet 
doesn't mean you have to plant all of them.-   Henry Mitchell