Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

If you follow me on Twitter, you've noticed that I've been talking a lot about my garden in the past few months. Since I live in the suburbs, I have a little more room to play than my neighbors in the city. After living in a basement in Brookline for two years, where we couldn't even get herbs to grow on the windowsill, my small garden in Lexington seems like acres. Last summer, I didn't really know what I was doing, but I still ended up with a bounty of tomatoes, eggplants, and herbs. It taught me a lot, so I'm back this year, bigger and better.

The most important thing I learned last summer? Rabbits can (and will) chew through a plastic fence. Putting a big rock in front of the hole they chewed means that they will just chew another one right next to the first. So far, with my new metal fence, I have yet to see a rabbit in the garden, although they live under our deck and run through the rest of the yard all the time.

Second, even if you have the room to plant things in the ground, it may not be the best thing to do. Some perennial herbs, especially mint, will completely take over an area if you let it. Keeping it in a pot means it doesn't get the chance. My mint is CRAZY right now - it's probably the thing that's growing the best.

I've had a hard time growing things like lettuce in the ground, and yet it has completely flourished in its pot this year. This is some of the best lettuce I've ever eaten (planted from a seed packet that included seeds for three types of lettuce, which they called the "salad bowl mix") - it's so tender and soft that I don't know if I'll be able to eat lettuce during the winter anymore. Did you know that lettuce regrows from the root after you cut it? The lettuce pictured above was cut on Sunday night and it's already grown more than an inch!

Overall, I think I have a good variety of things that will grown throughout the season. I've already picked my first round of radishes and planted the second batch, which should be ready by July. Garden radishes are fantastic, so easy, and amazingly quick! I have a few peas, above, ready to pick, which I'll do for dinner tonight (with more salad) to encourage the plant to grow.

Cucumbers, eggplants, red peppers, 5 kinds of tomatoes (not counting the ones I started from seed, way too late), zucchini (more than I need, which means I'll get to eat the flowers too!), pumpkins (both jack o'lantern and mini pumpkins), butternut squash (which doesn't look too promising), parsley, basil, cilantro, dill, lavender, rosemary, chives, scallions, red onions, carrots, kale, arugula, rhubarb, and potatoes round out the garden. Am I missing anything?

So tell me, how does your garden grow? (This post inspired by similar posts by Erin Cooks and Hungry Bruno.)


Erin said...

I really wanted to grow lettuce too. I meant to do a lot of things...oops! We should have a little garden girl potluck! We could have it at my place :)

Adrienne said...

PAM! Your garden is BEAUTIFUL! I am so jealous of your space, seriously. The lettuce thing is amazing, isn't it - I've got a few Salad Bowl heads growing and one head of Simpson that survived our first squirrel onslaught. It's delicious, I can hardly stand it. I'd be down for potluck, too :)

Kelly P said...

I'm a city girl. Been planting my "garden" in pots on the back deck...but these pics make me want to move to the 'burbs. Gorgeous garden!!

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

Pam your garden looks awesome, I'm totally jealous! I have basil plants and cilantro growing out of tomato cans in my city windowsill..nothing in comparison to your green thumb endeavors!

Pam said...

Erin, it's not too late! I saw this cute tutorial for lettuce grown in a reusable shopping bag last year. And yes to a garden girl potluck!

Thanks, Adrienne! If I had known my own lettuce would be this good, I would have been growing it for years!

Thanks, Kelly! Having a city garden with pots is just as fulfilling - I couldn't even get that going when I lived in town!

SBK, I love the idea of recycled cans for growing herbs - very green ;)