Here’s what you’re growing

As promised, here are several of our favorite responses to last month’s query, “What are YOU Growing?” …

I am a 66 year old disabled woman. I have loved gardening all my life. Every place I lived I was able to find a way to garden. I am now unable to work and I am still determined to garden. I live in an apartment in a large Federal style house. The owners have generously allowed me to do my gardening in their yard. I have been here three years and each year I have extended my gardens. I have a huge vegetable garden and two herb beds and three flowerbeds. I do all of the work from a lawn chair. I am not able to stand or walk for any length of time because of severe arthritic condition. My son comes and tills up the vegetable garden each spring and I move up and down the rows in my lawn chair smoothing the ground, pulling weeds, planting seedlings and seeds. I start my most of my seeds indoors under grow lights and transfer them to the garden when the danger of frost is gone. To put the vegetable garden in, it takes me about 2 to 3 weeks with the hardest part digging the trenches I plant the potatoes in. I have attached plant lists. As you can see it is quite extensive.

I have completed my garden planting and planted all my seeds. Now I wait for rain and germination. Don’t you just love radishes they are already up. They are so encouraging. This year I had help from my 2 year old granddaughter Serenity. The beans are coming up in unusual places and some of the markers are not right but maybe she will become a little gardner in the future.

-Kathy, New York

Hi, my name is Jessica and I live in San Antonio, Tx.I live in the city and have a typical backyard in which I garden and raise chickens and rabbits. We’ve split the yard in half, half is for the garden and the other half for the animals.

This year we are growing tomatoes, watermelons, onions (already harvested), okra, green beans, asparagus beans (also called yard long beans as well as many other names), cucumbers, corn, turnips (already harvested), bell peppers, strawberries, grapes and blackberries.

You can see lots of pictures on my blog if you’d like.

If you would like any more info or pictures, please let me know.I also want to say how much I love your customer service.Outstanding!


Jessica in San Antonio

I’m growing, and in what passes for winter down under, tuscan kale, leeks, two types of cabbage, snap peas, several types of lettuce, broccoli, chinese bok choi, harukei (a Japanese turnip), wombok, and still have habanero chillies on the plant and oodles of herbs like parsley, thyme, coriander, oregano, sage to spark up our winter stews, hotpots and soups.

Love reading the newsletters,
Paul in Victoria, Australia

Big Boy tomatoes and Burpless Cucumbers. Mighty-mighty good. Especially good in a fresh salad.

-Shelby and Jewel, Kentucky

This year I have over 50 tomato plants, several bell peppers, onions, green beans, peas, cucumbers, cilantro, beets, okra, radishes, lettuces, zucchini, and some melons. I usually plant potatoes, but they’re too much work to dig this year since I’m 7 months pregnant.

The tomatoes and bell peppers I started from seed at home, along with 5 different kinds of perennial flowers. Landscape plants are just too expensive to buy at the store!

I also raise my own chickens, have a young orchard, and we’re building an outdoor canning kitchen.

-Christine in Illinois

Hi, I read your newsletter and it is very interesting. We have a big garden and I can and lacto-ferment my vegetables. We love butternut squash and we seed them on our compost
piles. We have two compost bins that we don’t touch for 3 years. We have the two other ones that we used to put all our composting material in. We have a 1 acre plot and lots of flowerbeds. It is the most wonderful place to seed the butternut for it heats under. We have galore of them in the fall. At the price they sell them in the store it’s a blessing. Here in Canada they sell them now for almost 6.00 each (grrrrrr). In the fall we make soup, squash pie, or fry then cut one half strips with an onion in the pan. It is delicious.

– Odette, Ontario, Canada

In a small city lot (the whole property, house and all, is 50’x100′), I have peas climbing the side fence, doing well. Tomatoes and green beans are looking strong, despite the cool spells we have had. This year I am trying Jacob’s Cattle beans to dry for winter baked beans and soups. Those too are climbing a fence. I have already eaten lettuce, chives, and cut the first herbs to dry. And my pride and joy, RASPBERRIES! They look great. Each year I get three batches of jam, plus whatever anyone picks for breakfast. Aren’t gardens great? And I am seeing more gardens started among my neighbors this year. City gardening is catching on.

-Gail in Massachusetts

I recently finished a 13′ x 6′ 6″ hotbed in Arizona’s Sonoran desert and immediately planted melons; cantaloupe and watermelons. It has been approximately 3 weeks since they have sprouted and are doing fantastic. They have been handled with kit gloves, watered twice a day sometimes three! Especially when temperatures hit the triple digits. They have also been watered with enriched water. That is, water that may have small amounts of beef blood or kelp. One day I mixed in a multi vitamin! They seem to love it. The leaves are lush and the plants strong!

Now the tricky part, how to bring out the sweetness by not over-watering! Thanks for the chance to express myself!

-Beth, Arizona

Here in Alaska spring is just starting.I have the whole garden planted as well as the greenhouses. I have put in potatoes, carrots, beets, peas, green beans, squash, and parsnips in the main 40×60 garden. Green beans are iffy but we have had a good start with warm weather so far.

In the greenhouses are carrots, beans, radishes, peas, tomatoes, and various flowers.I put the broccoli and more peas and beans in the deck planters where they are safe from the moose.The deck is 10 ft off the ground.Along the way are a variety of flowers, we crave color and you will see flowers everywhere in AlaskaEverything is growing with a vengeance along with the weeds. Whole garden will have to be harvested by early to mid Sept.

– Linda, Alaska

We live outside the Capitol city in Michigan on an acre and a half. We love gardening and canning and my husband and I have enjoyed building this garden each year for the last 4 years. We have tested so many vegetables and techniques.

This year, however, with increased responsibility at a ministry at our church my hubby just couldn’t commit to working on this together. Since I am a stay at home mom of three young children I decided that I would need some help. So we asked our friends, many of whom live in the city if they would like to co-garden with us. They would help with the planting and harvest and they would be able to take what they needed for their families.

This idea changed what we would garden quite a bit. I needed to be sure to have enough items like tomatoes for me to put up as well as my friends. Some of us will even group can together.

Before we could plant I needed to prep the garden. It is about 30’x50′ and since our garden tractor broke I knew I couldn’t till it all by hand so we swapped services with a friend who is a landscaper. On Mother’s Day I woke up to a most beautiful site. The freshly tilled dirt in my favorite place.

We decided to try landscape fabric to cut down on the number of weeds. So different friends would show up on different days and we got the fabric down and began to plant.

We have Carrots, Peas, Tomatoes (61 plants), Green Bush beans, Green Pepper, Sweet Yellow Banana Pepper, Zucchini, Yellow Summer Squash, and Butternut squash. It is a most wonderful sight every morning when I look out the kitchen window and see all the green in neat rows. We love it and we love the help we got getting it in. My hubby is very proud even though he misses working out there with us. Soon all he will have to do is grab a handful of beans or a tomato for me to make dinner.

Enjoy growing together,

The Sopers, Michigan

Mike, Kellie, Abby(5), Andy(4), Annabelle(2)

We are attempting to grow:
Corn, sugar snap peas, carrots and 2 different lettuces from seed
Planted tomatoes, hot peppers, zucchini, eggplant, watermelon, cantaloupe, acorn squash, and butternut squash plants as well.
Our first garden!

– Jackie, Pennsylvania

Here in Western Washington, at least where we are, spring is cool and wet. Then summer drifts in as a short affair that makes it difficult to grow long season veggies unless you have a cold frame or greenhouse to start or grow out the plants.We have 20- 5 gal. pots in an 8 x 10 green house. This year I have taken on a couple of new varieties plus the old standard for us (Early Girl Tomatoes).We do have potatoes growing in a muck bucket, strawberries in rectangular pots, and Orange pippin apples on a 9 yr. old tree next to the greenhouse.In the green house are mild jalapeños, yellow gypsy peppers, tomatillos, ground cherries, and of course tomatoes.All have nearly the same growing requirements except habits differ some.Now, in early June we have golf ball size tomatoes and flower buds and blooms on all the rest.This is an experiment to grow them out side by side in the greenhouse but I am happy to report all are doing very well so far. On a small table in the greenhouse is a 32 gal. garbage can with a spigot, and a programmed auto watering device (battery powered). 1/4″ tubing and drip emitters for each bucket.I only have to fill the barrel once a week and the plants are watered twice a day.This method has served us well for many years and we highly recommend it.

– Larry, Washington State

I live in Santa Barbara, CA.It’s a gardener’s paradise all year round!

Kimberly’s raised beds in California

I have a 1/2 acre and about 1/4 of it is all an organic garden!We have raised beds, and also in ground. I just dug out the seasons first garlic, shallots, and onions. Everything looks so beautiful this year! The tomatoes are getting very strong and are about 1 foot high.I started everyone of those from seed in the greenhouse. This year we’ll have Green Zebras, Homestead 24F’s, and Cherokee Purple’s from those beds. There’s about 35 plants located there. We’ve been know to grow over a 100 tomato plants in the summer, and last year that’s exactly what we did for canning and eating. I prefer San Marzano Paste Tomatoes for year round use. They are super delicious for sauces and salsas! I must be going, as today I have work to do!I’ve got a ton of Dutch Flat and Early Wakefield Cabbages to pull! And hopefully I’ll get to the rest of the garlic too!!

-Kimberly, California

Hello Friends in Ohio from Topeka, Ks. I use a raised bed system and grow by the sq. ft., I have been using this system now for 12 years and am still learning. This year I have a great potato crop coming on they are just now blooming so will some new potatoes very soon. I have several tomato plants that have tomatoes the size of a tennis ball so we may have those wonderful tasting tomatoes by July 4th. I have picked broccoli already and have Kohlrabi almost ready of course we have enjoyed several rounds of wilted lettuce. The Kohlrabi is new to me this year and also have Salsify for the first time. The sweet potato and sweet corn are now responding to the warm weather. The onions, garlic and shallots are ready to start their bulbs. The pepper plants also are enjoying warmer weather and stating to grow. Will be drying dill and oregano today as they are both happy. The green beans both pole and bush are doing good with some dusting needed, and the cukes are just starting to vine. The red raspberries have bloomed and cherries are growing in the trees. That is about all for now but will continue to plant as crops come off.

Thank you for the great newsletter and wish all a great and fruitful summer,

Don, Kansas

Spring is here! My little garden is stirring. Teams of daffodils poke their heads up, proving that there is safety in numbers (Beware of the Vole!). Irises are warming themselves in the morning sun. The privet hedge is developing a cocky attitude, since it is the first to unfold its leaves. Lilacs along the fence are bursting at the seam, and the old Linden tree peeks over the fence to convince himself that the grass is really greener on the other side. He is a cautious one; always waiting for the last frost date before it shows any sign of life. Recent rains saturated the parched soil and now that the sun made a return appearance, the perennials pushing each other out of the ground.

The cooing of doves echoes off the neighboring rooftops, and swallows look frantically for safe places to build their nests. An outstretched Blue Heron flies overhead from one nearby pond to the other looking for his next breakfast.

Spring has finally arrived in all its glory. It is time to shake off the winter blues. The best things nature offers us are free for the taking, so let’s not waste another minute.

The lawn needs mowing!

-Marika, Colorado

One thought on “Here’s what you’re growing

  1. I was thinking about Kathy from New York and her lawn chair gardening. I can weed for hours on my hands and knees but getting up off the ground is the clumsy and painful price I pay for this joy. So I stole some under-utilized bunk feeders (2’x2’x10’long) from our livestock and made really raised beds.
    They gently warm seedlings in the spring and keep my radishes, lettuce, carrots, and other bunny food up out of reach. Plus, I can sit in a chair and weed all day.
    Hint: once filled with soil, the plastic liners can be kind of heavy for the metal stands and tend to sag. Stick a couple of boards on the metal frame under the liner before filling with soil and it will remain in position perfectly.
    Oh, and my garden includes the ducklings I raise. They can rest in the shade under the bunk feeders and can’t mess up the plantings above. Their kiddie pool water gets recycled into the berry bushes around the edge of the fenced garden and it is all quite picturesque.
    When the ducklings are grown enough, they go out into the bigger farm world equipped with outdoor skills such as foraging, seeking shelter, and water navigation. I just love growing things.