An early season report on the edible plants in my garden:
As I’ve mentioned previously, I felt I had to plant most of the warm-season crop seedlings early, due to extended family issues in another state. So they went in soon after I picked them up on 28 May from the farm that grew them. Unfortunately, the next week or more was cold and rainy and the plants for the most part suffered. I’ve replaced about half the cucumbers I initially planted and will probably be replacing more (photo is of replacement).
The basil plants, which had been healthy looking when I brought them home, look sad and skinny. But I think they’ll make it now that the weather is warming up.
The squash plants look uniformly fine. Squash seems difficult to kill.
And given how cold it’s been, colour me surprised that the tomatoes are progressing, even blooming.
The bell peppers (Ace) have peppers on them already!
The green beans (Provider) are blooming, though the leaves are a bit yellow (photo below). So are the leaves on the tomatoes, and I gather this could be a lack of nitrogen. But the beans are meant to provide nitrogen to the soil, so what are they complaining about?
Of course, the green and red romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, and arugula are all happy as wet, cold clams. And I’m happy for them.
Have I mentioned the peaches yet? It’s a banner year. I’ve had the peach trees since 2010 and have had a total of about 6 peaches between the two trees, and none at all last year. This year, there are (or were) about 1,000 peach nubs on them. I say “were” because in the last week I’ve spent about four hours removing 3/4 of the nubs (with spouse’s help and two ladders during two hours of this killing spree), in the hope that culling them in this way will make the ones that remain larger and sweeter. When there are tiny nubs next to big nubs, it’s easy to cull the tiny ones; but when there are two gorgeous, fuzzy, blushing peaches within two inches of each other, it’s very difficult to sacrifice one, even though the ends justify the means.
Fortunately, I don’t feel the need to do this culling to the strawberries, though some of the plants are overloaded with green berries now — I know the chipmunks will be the primary beneficiaries of the just-ripened red berries, eating one portion of each just hours before I plan to pick them for human consumption. I planted 27 plants a few years ago and now have about 375,640 of them, in all corners of the yard.
I thought these were barren strawberries, spreading all over the garden beds and front yard, but apparently they are fertile. The berries are small, and the other side of this one is still greenish.
Blueberries have pale blue-green (with pink) nubs on them. First photo is of a high-bush in the side yard bed, either ‘Chippewa’ or ‘Northcountry;’ second is of a hybrid ‘Jelly Bean’ blueberry, in the Bushel & Berry ™ Monrovia series) in the front yard.
Raspberries — none planted by me — have flower and little nubs of fruits beginning.
I think my native American hazelnuts (Corylus americana) may have their first nut! I planted two of them in 2014 and they are supposed to be able to produce in just a few years. Naturally, all manner of animals love the nuts, including squirrels, fox, deer, and basically every other animal that frequents my yard.
Besides harvesting from the arugula (I got a 2nd harvest on Thursday) and lettuce (ready to harvest sparingly now), in a week or so I should be able to eat the first shelling peas from my garden. Oh happy day! I can never decide if fresh peas or fresh cucumbers are the best product from the vegetable garden. (The best reward, for me, is knowing how to do this, having the skills to grow my own food. If I could master seed-saving, or lived in a spot where enough edibles are perennial, I’d be a self-reliant veggie grower.)
I’ll have to wait another month or two to harvest the garlic, but the two crops are looking robust.
Fennel planted in 2011 or 2012 has come back and spread every year. Below are some of the dozen or more fennel plants, including a couple of bronze fennels. I planted them and dill for swallowtails but I also love their scents; maybe one day I will harvest the bulb (I do occasionally use the fresh dill.)
This is a dill (Bouquet) that I bought this year, whose lovely flower stem has broken.
Lots of parsley also reseeded or resprouted from last year or year’s past. I’ve been using it and the copious chives (more than a dozen plants) in recipes. There’s also some mint, oregano, and lots of kinds and clumps of thyme.
There are many edible flowers (and also lots of edible wild plants that we don’t commonly eat but could), nasturtiums being one of the best. This is my first bloom of the season. I’ve also got chives in flower. Later in the year I’ll have calendula, borage. and other edible blooms.
What annual and perennial food crops are you growing?