How Does Our Garden Grow 2012? Part II: Going Vertical
July 10, 2012Posted by andrew |
When we last wrote about our adventures in vegetable gardening this season, we were just seeing some tomato and pepper seedlings emerge. Now that we're firmly in the midst of summer, the garden is taking off. It seems that it was just yesterday when all the plants were little seedlings, but now they're well on their way to producing some veggies. We transplanted the tomatoes and peppers, all of which are doing pretty well, and direct-sowed two varieties of heirloom summer squash, Ronde de Nice and Zucchino Rampicante, and purple podded pole beans.
In order to save some space, this year, we're going vertical! At first I contemplated creating a sturdy trellis structure to support everything, but after examing the garden, I realized things didn't have to be so complicated. I ended up lining the back of the fence with some nylon trellis netting and the beans and vining Zucchino Rampicante squash started doing their thing and climbed away. This way, we were able to plant a lot more in the garden space that we have, and we definitely have a lot more growing in our garden than we did last year.
The beans, which are supposed to get to around six feet tall, have actually grown past that over the top of the fence. The kids are totally fascinated with the growth of the beans, and I am, too. Shades of Jack and the Beanstalk, I guess. Some of the bean plants have wrapped themselves around our neighbors' tree; I've assured them they can have any beans that hang down on their side of the fence.
The children had fun digging in the dirt and helping plant the squash and green beans. Both of our kids actually like green beans—or, in this case, purple beans—so we made sure that we planted plenty of them. The tomatoes, peppers, and squash are still a hard sell, but we keep trying. Nonetheless, they're still impatient to see some produce appear. When is it going to be harvest time? My six-year-old daughter was even quizzing me on what the different kinds of tomatoes were going to look like. A fair course of inquiry, given that they're all little and green right now.
At this point we've got bean flowers and immature beans and small green tomatoes, but we've gotten a few nice Ronde de Nice zucchini which we've had with a few meals—they're really tasty and will probably make room for them in the garden again this year. The squash are doing much better than they were last year, which was kind of a squash disaster. This time, I've named the section of the garden where the squash is planted "Zucchini City", and It looks like we'll have a bumper crop this year. Friends and neighbors beware: you may just find yourselves the recipients of zucchini gifts this summer!
We're still trying to keep the garden as organic as possible, using only compost, organic fertlizer, manure, and no pesticides. We've used Sluggo. an organic snail bait made primarly from iron phosphate, to keep slugs and snails at bay. I've also heard it works against whiteflies, which showed up in great number last year. I don't necessarily believe it, but there don't seem to be as many this year so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
Now, we just have to be patient and wait for the rest of the vegetables to come in. We're all looking forward to fresh heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and purple green beans this summer.