From Winter to Summer Veggies

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Been way too long since I’ve written about gardening. And that – not local politics – is what this blog is supposed to be about. Since it is spring, I am not doing much with the native plants, except enjoying their outrageous blooms. The dirt beneath my fingernails is from changing over from winter veggies to summer. It is from digging out the greens that have gone to seed and adding compost to the garden in preparation for the tomatoes. All the while, I am still harvesting sugar snap peas which have been plentiful and delicious.

I was not going to do tomatoes this year since I will be away from the garden – and this blog – for most of the month of May. Hearing the disappointed sighs of my husband I capitulated, but only after I got a promise that he will keep an eye on them and water as needed. Actually, I plan to set up an automatic, spaghetti-tubed, low-volume, highly-magical system. I will photograph and post as I set it up.

But now, I’d like to do a retrospective on what I learned from my winter vegetable garden. It was a mixed bag. Slugs were crazy destructive, and none of my feeble attempts were very successful. Still we ate salad made from romaine, leaf lettuce, mizuna (a bit like arugula but in the mustard family), and arugula. And as I mentioned above the sugar snap peas were tasty. There were just about the right amount of them to keep us fed but wanting more.

Pictures are worth a thousand-million words, so here’s the season in pictures.

November 17, 2010: Milo is exhausted from watching me move the rock border to extend the vegetable garden. Compost from the pile in the far back is added and mixed.

The sloped surface is “terraced” with logs. Turns out to be a very bad idea as you will see later.

November 19, 2010: Lettuce and sugar snap peas are planted. So much promise!

December 13, 2010: What is eating my veggies??? Argh!


December 13, 2010: Diatomaceous earth sprinkled around the plants keeps the slugs at bay until it rains. It is a wet winter, so this is not a good solution.

January 23, 2011: Little collars made from plastic containers work for a while until the beasties manage to slither beneath them to dine indoors. Not effective! Furthermore, analysis of the logs shows that they are a slug nursery. Slugs lay their eggs in the wood and adorable, tiny sluggettes crawl out to bulk up on my lettuce.

February 25, 2011: They may look silly, but picking out the slugs with chopsticks turned out to be quite effective, though labor intensive. Furthermore it must be done under cover of darkness when the slugs are out-and-about, dining and socializing. I know that when my neighbors caught sight of me – and I’m sure they did – in my pajamas, armed with a flashlight and a pair of chopsticks, their suspicions about me were confirmed. But what was I to do? I tried valiantly to protect some wildflower seedlings growing along the sidewalk. Alas, it was not a great wildflower year in the So. Pas. wild parkway garden.

February 22, 2011: Artistically-strung wooden stakes provide support for the sugar snaps. Well, not as beautiful as my daughter would make it, but it worked and we are still enjoying the sugar peas.

March 28, 2011: Mizuna and arugula are a bit more resistant to slugs than tender lettuce. Starting seeds in pots and transplanting them when they are bigger, or just buying 4″ pots is another partial solution to the slug problem. As you can see we did have lots of greens to eat.

April 24, 2011: Greens, except some larger lettuces, are dug out, the garden is replenished with compost from the compost pile. I added about 4 small wheelbarrows (wheelbarrow is behind peas) of decomposed, or ripe, compost to the garden.

April 26, 2011: Planted 2 Tomato Sun Gold (yellow cherry tomatoes), one Glacier (mid-sized, early), and one Sweet Olive. Today I picked up another red cherry and planted it as well. It didn’t have a cultivar name.

Got plants at Bellefontaine Nursery in Pasadena. Thank you, Alan!

Not bad. Irrigation pictures to come. And wait until you see my artsy tomato cages!

6 thoughts on “From Winter to Summer Veggies

  1. Efficient use of space for your veggie garden!

  2. @luvarugula – efficient because I hardly have any sunny garden space. Just checked out your blog – sounds like you have been enjoying your sugar snap peas as well. Cracked me up to see that you too share your garden with slugs (and I don't mean lazy family members who won't help in the garden). 🙂

  3. you are amazing!!! i loved this post!! made me laugh, and then very envious because the veg garden looks sosososososo incredible! my spinach is still growing but not standing up–help! but my parsley is looking good. i want to grow something else….

  4. Love your garden, inspires me to get back out in mine. Good luck with the slug war!

  5. thanks for your comment and the link! i am in warrior mode every morning when it comes to the slugs: kill, kill, kill. i am an inelegant killer; i use my garden spade. has been a bad year, hasn't it. hope this warm spell may help.

  6. Anonymous

    i love your doggie – such an excellent garden work watcher!<br />cynthia

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