Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cooking With A Green Thumb

This is the first yellow squash of the season. It was raised from seed started in February, and already it's fruiting, here at the very beginning of May.

The garden is varied, with raised beds combined with containers and hanging planters. The main idea is to maximize the amount of food coming out of a small space, including herbs, fruits and vegetables. The raised beds are either 4 foot by 4 foot or 3 by 3, to make it easy to reach inside the beds and take care of the plants. The cedar planks separating the beds are walkways, and keep the weeds down. Plus, they look nice next to the cedar raised beds.

The lettuce is doing really well. We eat a fresh garden salad almost every night. I planted more mixed lettuce seeds yesterday, hoping to get more started before the really hot weather starts.

I've never raised strawberries before, and last October I found two of these strawberry jars on sale and bought them. This spring I filled them with strawberry plants. And look! They are making fruit already, and turning red! These strawberries are nothing like what you find in the store - they are sweet and red all the way to the center of the berry. Strawberries are perennials, so I hope to get even more plants going soon, now that I've seen what I need to do to raise them.

This is the pole bean tee-pee. They have reached the six foot high top already, and are trying for the sky now. I need to cut the growing tips off the tops, so they will bush out more from the bottom. They are blooming like crazy, and baby beans are starting on them. I planted them in February and covered them with a mini-greenhouse until they sprouted and got several inches high. They are Fortex and Kentucky Wonder pole beans. I hope to be harvesting some fresh green beans soon.

And the zucchini is starting to bloom. It always amazes me how huge their leaves get. They are inside a frame with a bug netting over them, to keep the squash bugs off of them.

Tonight the low is going to be in the lower 40 degrees. Chilly for the first week of May. But the garden seems to like the cooler temperatures. With raised beds to grow in, and containers, it's easier to cover them if the temperatures dip down too low overnight.

Eventually the squash, strawberries and beans will be harvested like the lettuce and end up on the menu!

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