Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Potager

Gardening for me began when I was a kid. My parents always planted huge vegetable gardens. Some of them were insane, the gardens, and maybe my parents. I remember one year, we had rows and rows of beans that were at least 1/4 mile long. You could barely make out the ends of the rows. We would spend days hoeing the weeds from between the plants. In the hot SC sun, the soil would burn your feet if you tried to work barefoot. What kid wants to wear shoes in the summer?

That was +/- 30 years ago. Today, my gardens are a lot smaller. Good soil and lots of rain have combined to work some magic this year. My favorite vegetable is the tomato. I planted 30 something plants for myself. I've got 7 varieties of "large" tomatoes - Burstzyn, Beefsteak, Green Zebra, Rutgers, San Marzano, Celebrity, and Hawaiian Pineapple. I've also got cherry varieties like black stripe cherry, Large red Italian, Sweet 100s, and others. I'm not sure what's growing back there. Some were lost to cutworms, others just failed to grow. I'll eat whatever ripens. Seeds will be collected this fall for next year's garden. I hope to add other varieties too. This is where it all began. Let's Talk Tomatoes.

I'm also growing squash - yellow and butternut. There's okra, cucumbers, butterbeans, corn, and Fordhook limas. The watermelons and cantaloupes are slow to get going. The pumpkin is doing well too.

Enough talk, on with the show.

Looking South.



I've garden in the potager the same way I do in the perennial bed. Things grow over and on top of each other. Some plants have grown a lot larger than I expected. Others have made a sad showing so far. Thankfully, we have a lot more hot weather to come. There's more rain in the forecast.


Green Zebra

San Marzano



Cherry bed. Several kinds.

Sweet 100s.

Pumpkin plant.

Cucumbers and corn.

Yellow squash.

Butternut squash.

Huge leaves - butternut.

I didn't know the butternuts would make a run for the SC border.

Okra - Clemson Spineless.

Cucumbers on a makeshift trellis.

The pollinator bed. Bees have been swarming to this bed since the first zinnia bloom appeared. Lots more flowers to come.

The harvest has already begun. Three days ago, I pulled the last of the carrots from the beds.

In May, I took the cabbage that wasn't doing well to my mom for Mother's Day. She cooked the greens with a head she had bought at the grocery store.

As things stand, I've had little insect damage. The birds are well fed from the feeders and have left things alone. Even the dreaded squash bugs are staying away. I believe the nasturtiums are helping. Planting close and mingling things together confuses predators. And there are lots of beneficial insects too since I don't spray anything.

Next year, I'm hoping to build proper raised beds and lay the potager out a little differently. Some areas get less sun than they should, others get too dry. It's all just one big experiment.


Engineeredgarden said...

Tom - your veggies are kickin'! I've been wondering what san marzano looked like, and almost grew them, myself. Opalka this year, though....If granny sees your squash, she'll be whining like there's no tomorrow...ha! Thanks for the post!

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Thanks EG. I wish you could get a feel for how big everything is. In the photos, those sunflowers look small. They're 7' tall now. The butternut covers a space of about 12' across. The trellis is made of 3 four foot panels.

I should haul out a ruler and measure some things.

Tell Granny to bring it. ;)

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...

Your garden is just fantastic! You're going to have a big harvest.


Heather said...

Looking lush and happy there Tom. I love that you have all those tomatoes. Do you plan to can them or just eat the kind you want each day?

Kalena Michele said...

Your summer squash is looking amazing! Mine are small plants right now, but I keep seeing lots of flowers. Keep it up!