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My Garden 2016: Jolly Green Chaos

01. July 2016

CanningCrafts Garden 2016

This is typically what my garden looks like. Is it unruly because it's a jam packed raised bed or because I'm a lazy gardener? Perhaps it's a little of both.

I have a penchant for not pulling volunteer plants. Sometimes that's been the downfall of my garden, like the year the pumpkins took over. But sometimes volunteer plants make it more interesting. It's not unusual for hundreds of tomato plants to shoot up in my garden. Usually they all turn out to be cherry tomatoes. And while my father-in-law contends that tomatoes are the greatest thing in the world, I'd prefer to have Black Krim or Beefstake plants instead of 1,000 cherry tomato plants.

This year I let the volunteer dill get out of hand. It's called dill WEED for a reason. I wish my zucchini was as prolific as the dill. I believe I planted dill about 7 YEARS AGO, and it comes up every year stronger than ever before. We add it to tuna salad religiously. I've used my fresh dill when making pickles too. But a little bit of dill goes a long way. It's mixed in with my carrots, so one side of my garden is an ocean of green foliage. Believe it or not, I've probably pulled 50 dill plants.

CanningCrafts Garden 2016

I also have a few volunteer potatoes in my garden. YEA, very exciting! This is the second year I've had FREE potatoes pop up. I'm a little surprised that I managed to miss a few spuds during last year's harvest. Unfortunately they are coming up in the middle of my Swiss Chard and tomatoes. I initially dug up the plant growing in the chard, but it made a comeback. So I decided to leave it since it had the will to survive.

 

This year I have 6 varieties of tomatoes in my garden: Amish Paste, Brandywine, Gold Medal, Berkley Tie Dye, Beefstake, and Yellow Pear (cherry). I purchased the Beefstake plants at the flea market. The rest of the tomatoes were organic or heirloom plants from Raisin Rack. This is a great little health food store in Columbus! Berkley Tie Dye is the only variety I haven't planted before. I've grown Yellow Pear from seed in the past, but I've had issues with them being scrawny and prematurely dying. I'm hopeful they'll last longer this year. The interesting vertical structure with burlap is a Japanese Tomato Ring. I created this short tutorial for how and why I make one of these every year.

CanningCrafts Garden 2016

 

One NEW addition to this year's garden is broccoli. I can't believe I've never grown this before. I've read that you shouldn't expect the heads to look like the grocery store variety. And it's important to pick them before they get older. I have tiny florets started on all plants. There are a few holes in the leaves, so I'll keep a close eye on them. I picked a few tiny worms off this morning.

CanningCrafts Garden 2016

 

My husband and I are fans of BIG salads. So I usually do succession plantings for lettuce and mixed greens. Typically I plant a lettuce blend, Romaine or Bibb varieties, swiss chard, kale, and endive. I planted mustard greens for the first time this year. I was a bit surprised at how quickly the mustard bolted and grew bitter. It won't be long for the rest of the lettuce to follow suit. I joke that I like swiss chard more than my husband. I eat it raw or saute it in bacon drippings with glazed onions. I have a blog tutorial on how to make Garden Markers with Canning Lids like the swiss chard marker below.

CanningCrafts Garden 2016

I'm always amazed at how fast green beans grow. They definitely thrive after summer rains. One day they're just poking out of the soil, and the next day they're 3 inches tall. I wish I had as much luck with zucchini. The empty spot in the center of my garden is because my zucchini never germinated. Perhaps next year I'll try buying a plant.

CanningCrafts Garden 2016

 

So how is your garden doing so far this year? Do you get excited or angry at volunteer plants that take over? I'd love to hear what you planted!

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