Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Growing a Bigger Garden

Summer is finally here and things are really starting to grow after a very wet and stormy Chicago spring. Little Green Girl and I are most excited because we've increased the size of our garden, gone vertical, and added more SIPs.

Here's our original two 4" X 8" beds with a new strawberry bed in the middle. This year we've added a trellis to the back of each bed to grow small Asian melons and pole beans. We're maximizing the amount of food we can grow in the smallest amount of space. Love the challenge of growing vertical!

Little Green Girl is growing a pizza garden again but with beautiful Scarlett Runner beans trellised in the middle. There's also Cannellini beans, purple, yellow and green bush beans, assorted carrots including Parmex, Kaleidoscope, and some Jaune Du Doubs... a fancy name for yellow heirloom carrots from France!

Each year we try to grow something new and unusual, this year we discovered Tigger melons, a 1 lb. Asian melon that's bright yellow with brilliant red zig-zag stripes from Bakers Creek. Hope this one tastes as interesting as it looks.

Our middle bed has strawberries and Borage (good companion plants) with a double row of pole beans in the back, they'll provide a backdrop of fresh green color dotted with quaint white flowers as they fill up the trellis.

Finally, the family bed has herbs, 5 special heirloom tomatoes and sweet Korean Ginkaku melons from Kitazawaseeds.com, they're 1.5 lb melons that are supposed to be highly productive. We'll see how many our trellis will hold!

Carrots, kale, onions and beans are doing well.

In the back of the beds we've placed two 5 gallon yellow SIPs where the Asian melons will be grown.

Garlic planted last November have matured and scapes have been snipped. Further back are a few more SIPs. We've planted lemon cucumbers and more sweet melons that will trellis off the cyclone fence.

I'm experimenting with the idea of a portable trellis on top of a 5 gallon SIP.

Last year's tomato patch is now a little farmette, that's 4 long rows of heirloom tomatoes and peppers. Over 80+ heirloom seeds were carefully selected last winter, warm tea and seeds catalogs are what get gardeners through the winter!

Note the small garden to the right on the other side of the fence, I'm working on an edible landscape with artichokes, purple and white okra, tomatillios, some green and hopefully some purple, Borage with beautiful purple flowers, and some Green Zebra tomatoes.

Spending quality time with my tomatoes.

Here's Amish Deer Tongue lettuce. Thanks H2 for letting me know about this one, a wonderful cut and come again variety.

Heirloom potatoes from a GRG friend I've yet to meet. Thanks Brad and local urban garden blogger Cassandra West of Seeding Chicago for sharing your potato seeds.

Garlic scapes ready for a stir-fry in the wok.

Wild Arugula for Margaret, a dear friend without a garden.

Gardening is a lot of work and a lot of joy... here's homegrown kale (mushrooms store bought but considering growing them next year) sauteed in homemade garlic oil topped with fresh cut chives.

... then there are gifts from the garden that we never expect, like the 2 little creatures that Little Green Girl found at Peterson Gardens. She's adopted a couple of beautiful caterpillars found on a dill plant and has been feeding them fresh dill and parsley everyday, sometimes two times a day. She hopes that she can nurture and care for them till they grow in to butterflies. Will they grow into blackswallow tail butterflies? We hope to find out.


H2 said...

What a beautiful post, Debbie and Little Green Girl. Your expansive gardens say to me: the promise of discovery and countless fresh meals.

Keep us updated!

Small Garden Design said...

Nice design of a big garden. Its very good because you cover your garden all around.
Check small garden design

longcycle said...

Wow! What a great visual gardening story! Plenty of food for the mind...

Robj98168 said...

Great Pics! Love your garden.

Debbie said...

Thanks. We've really enjoyed building it and have come to learn it is a work in progress... gardening teaches me a great deal of patience.

Small Garden Enthusiast said...

Really enjoyed the post. This was my first year growing heirloom tomatoes in my small garden design.

Dr. Salman said...

Great Post. I love gardening your blog is amazing.....

bill ackman

LoganDylan said...

awesome post........

Great Post! This blog is ever amazing. Thanks

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