Monday, June 18, 2012

How does my (work) garden grow?

I have two garden plots--one at a community garden in my town and a large one at a community garden at work.  I'm very lucky because I don't have to pay a rental or a fee for the plot and, in the case of the community garden in my town, there are volunteers who will help repair the containers, put up trellises, water them during the day, etc. (though we all take turns watering in the evenings).

My work plot is huge.  I am sharing it with a colleague which has been a big help--we get mulch for the plot, have planted together, and can take turns watering or maintaining.  As you can see from the picture above, the weeds are still taking hold, but trust me when I say it isn't nearly as bad as it was last year.  My colleague set out string between each row so we will know where to walk; one of those walkways is fast being filled in by grass and so I need to add some more seaweed mulch.

The plants were looking a little waterlogged--it was a very cool and rainy week, and while it was supposed to be warm this weekend, it was cool.  I hope it warms up soon as I would like fresh tomatoes!

So, here are some pictures from the work garden:

Beans!  Last year I planted bush beans but critters got in and ate them before they got this big.  So far, we've been lucky this year.  These are pole beans; my colleage had her heart set on these, peas, carrots, zucchini and beets (and of course, tomatoes).

The thing with beans is that I can resolve all I want to blanch them and freeze them for use later in the winter, but like cherry tomatoes and peas, I end up snacking on them.  They don't last past the borders of the garden.

We also have peas, and they are doing well.  They are such delicate, pretty plants.  Here's hoping the critters stay away from the peas.

A tomato plant which will need to be staked on Monday, I think.  We planted romas and early girls; I'm getting a cherry tomato plant (from a plant that reseeded itself) from my father--as our old neighbor from Italy said, "There's always room for another tomato plant!"

Cayenne pepper.  We put a variety of peppers in the garden--red, yellow, and orange bell, jalapenos, cayenne, chili, etc. . . .basically, I wanted sweet and hot varieties.  Also, I figured that critters would be less likely to eat the spicy peppers.  Watch, we'll have the only rodents in the world that love spicy food.

My colleague also wanted to plant carrots; they haven't come up yet.  I'm looking forward to seeing how they do.

Beets.  There are two different kinds here--regular beets and a golden striped variety.

We also planted cucumbers but I forgot to take a picture of the plants--there's one left as the second one disappeared, so I'll get another one to plant.  They did very well in this plot last year.

One of two zucchini plants.  Zucchini is so prolific--I had it coming out of my ears last year between the CSA and my parents' garden--and so I think we'll be doing just fine this year as well.  However, I can do some nice dinners with zucchini (ratatouille, casseroles, baked goods, soups, etc.) and might try my hand at pickling it as well.

It's also tasty raw, dipped in hummus.

Butternut squash.  It was going to either be this or acorn squash.  I love this stuff--it's great in soups, lasagna, or cooked with brown sugar and walnuts, or just baked with a little butter and fried sage on top.

Rhubarb plants and bee balm.  The rhubarb has gotten BIG.  They were decent sized plants when I got them but they were still much smaller than they are now.

And herbs, of course! Lots of herbs, my gateway gardening drug:

Basil--I've got a row next to the tomatoes.  They've been unhappy with the cool weather but hopefully it will brighten up soon.

This is mainly for pesto.  I also cut the leaves and freeze them in plastic bags when I want the taste of fresh basil in my cooking (as opposed to dried, which is very different).  If you do this, keep in mind that frozen basil does not make for a pretty garnish.

Lemon balm.  I think it smells like lemon pledge, but I thought it would be nice to grow.  We'll see how it works when I cook with it.

Thyme! This was a tiny, wimpy cutting and it's already doubled in size.

Cilantro.  It already needs to be trimmed/pinched.  I'm actually quite surprised that a) it grew so quickly and b) nothing has tried to eat it yet.

Parsley.  It's coming along--I'm also surprised nothing's tried to eat this!

Mint--the stuff grows wild there, but it's not as tasty as the cultivated mint that I got.  I transplanted several cuttings of the cultivated mint, and I don't mind at all if it starts to take over.  I use fresh mint a lot.

I also planted rosemary and spicy oregano, but forgot to take pictures!

I have two different kinds of sage plants--common sage (below) and pineapple sage (to the right).  The pineapple sage will have red blossoms later this summer.  It does actually smell like pineapple and will probably impart a nice aroma to baked chicken when I stuff the cavity with an onion and herbs.

I also freeze sage in freezer bags and use it the way I would fresh.

Well, those are my plants in my work plot.  Fingers crossed, they'll do well.  In my plot in my town, I also planted chocolate mint, chard (which is getting eaten), tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and a variety of herbs.


  1. WOW! You'll have a feast all year long with that lot!! Great that your work provides you with a vegetable patch too! Never heard of anyone doing that before.

    I hope there's always room for one more tomato plant, because they're pretty muh taking over my room! They've outgrown their stakes now and nearly the entire height of the window too! I still need them to bulk up a bit before I trust them in the wind though!

  2. Your garden looks wonderful! And you basil, if you think it hasn't done much, you should see my pathetic basil. I'm going to start some more basil inside, and see if I can't get something this summer. Fresh basil beats dried hands down. You are going to be able to harvest quite a lot, by the looks of things. I like pineapple sage added to black tea, when iced, same with lemon balm. Thanks for sharing photos. Gardeners are an odd lot -- we live vicariously through pictures of other people's gardens.

  3. Oh, yeah, the basil in my town plot isn't doing well at all, and my parents' basil is a buffet for some sort of bug. Hopefully though it will be a productive garden and I'll be able to eat a lot from it.

    I got a few more cucumber plants which I'll plant tomorrow. :)

  4. Looks terrific! A lot of hard work has gone into it. I can tell. :) :) :)