Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Vegetable Gardening

Ed's new veg garden
My neighbor roto-tilled up part of his back lawn and put in a vegetable garden. It was an ambitious project that took most of two weekends to finish and now I see rows of something green beginning to sprout.

The vegetable garden at Countryside has been in for several weeks now. This year Richard and Lori have planted potatoes, broccoli, chard, tomatoes, radishes and peppers.

The Countryside Garden

You might think that June is too late to put in a veg. garden but it really isn’t, especially since our spring was so cold and wet. Most of the traditional veg crops do best in warm weather anyway. So, really, now is the perfect time.

Even if you think my neighbor was a little ambitious, many vegetables are easily grown in containers. I grow my herbs and tomatoes in half whiskey barrels where I can position them to take best advantage of the sun in my otherwise shady garden.

Netting over the spinach to keep
our little friends out.

Some vegetables, in particular the leafy chards, beets and lettuce can be interspersed amongst your ornamentals. One year at Ball Seed field days we saw beets used in ornamental annual containers and I just love the look of Bright Lights Swiss Chard in containers. My friend, Jean, does the containers at the Brink Street Market and uses them. Chard is a great alternative to spinach, which has a tendency to “bolt,” or go to seed in the hot weather.

Planting vegetables, even in containers, is a great way to get your kids interested in gardening and interested in eating what they grow. When we lived in Denver I planted pole peas up the one side of our deck. We never had enough for a whole meal but we would use them raw in salads and my girls enjoyed harvesting and shelling them.

If you need some ideas about what to plant, the Cornell University vegetable variety project has vegetables rated by actual gardeners.  It is not just specific to New York, but has garden profiles from all over.  The University of Illinois extension web site also has information about growing, harvesting and storing vegetables.  And, not to brag, but we here at Countryside are a vertible font of knowledge on vegetable growing.

We still have plenty of starter vegetables at Countryside and of course seeds. So come on in and let us help you get started. It’s not too late!

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