June 10, 2011

Farmer Hippie, How Does Your Garden Grow?

Two posts in two days, wow, kid's on a roll!

It's only early June but the garden beds at the Woods Hippie homestead are covered in lush vegetation and we've already enjoyed some of the spring crop.  I feel as if I have been working the garden for months, because, as it turns out, I have!  The early season bed was seeded in late March and early April with peas, carrots, radishes, chard, and lettuce...the usual cool season contenders.  The peas were content to stay snug in the soil until well into April when they all apparently got the memo and sprouted with vigor.  Now, the "bush" peas stand nearly three feet tall and I'm constantly pinching the growing tips to inhibit further upward growth and to promote flowering.  We've enjoyed several weeks of SPICY radish slices in our fresh romaine salads.  I will never voluntarily purchase a store radish again after tasting these little red delights, the flavor is incomparable.

The garden, circa May 16.
Starting to fill in!
The summer bed was seeded with bush snap beans and basil just after Mother's Day.  Around the same time, I prepared my very first Three Sisters garden, which is a Native American companion planting technique with corn, beans, and squash.  The theory has it that the corn provides a trellis for the pole beans (I chose runner beans), the beans provide nitrogen for the heavy-feeding corn, the corn provides shade for the delicate squash, and the squash, with their broad leaves and prickly vines, serve as a living mulch and critter deterrent for the garden.  For the squash, I planted a variety including butternut, pumpkin, zucchini, cucumber, and melon.  I started some seeds indoors under a grow light and planted some seeds directly in the ground.  The plants started indoors met with mixed results once hardened off and planted outdoors; I'd say 60% survived the transplant.  The direct-seeded plants were nearly universally successful, though the surviving transplants have a bit of a edge, size-wise.  The corn, as evidenced in the photos, have almost 18" of height at this point.

I am blessed in that I have two neighbors with green thumbs, both of whom cultivate heirloom and odd-duck varieties of tomato and gift me their extra seedlings.  I can't keep track of the varieties growing in my beds, but I think I have some Cherokee Purple, Sweet 100, Yellow Pear, Big Boy, and Better Boy.  The bigger plants are already flowering!

Perhaps a weedwack is in order, but those weeds are tasty Lamb's Quarters!
As you might expect from a guy who's blog moniker is "Woods Hippie", the garden is cultivated organically.  I apply quite a bit of compost every year, though this year I did add some bonemeal-based fertilizer to add some other nutrients, and I recently applied a hydrolized fish fertilizer.  The plants have responded well to the light fertilization, and I have yet to see any significant insect problems (knock on wood).

So, for now, things are looking good as the spring crop wraps up and the majority of the garden is settling in for the long haul.  The seedlings are now established, which takes off some of the initial worry, now just as long as everything withstands the powerful thunderstorms that have been rolling through and I remember to water every now and then, hopefully we'll be looking at a nice harvest in a few months!  
Grandma keeps an eye on the house in the form of a rose bush...

Have a great weekend!


  1. Two thumbs up Hippie! Meaghan and I are having the last of our spinach with striped bass tonight!. You got to love this time of year.

  2. Savage, looks like you've been hitting the bass pretty good this season!