I absolutely LOVE my vegetable garden. To be honest, vegetable gardening is a rather new undertaking for me. As a horticulturist, I have instructed people in how to grow vegetables. In college, I had to grow them in the school gardens for one of my horticulture classes and I have planted them for service groups.
But, I never really had my own vegetable garden until a couple of years ago. I only wish that I hadn’t waited so long to grow my own, because it is so fun and rewarding.
Living in the Southwest, I am fortunate that I can grow vegetables all year long. There is always something going on in my vegetable garden. Of course, some months are busier then others. May is one of those months.
Below is a photo collage of my spring vegetable garden along with some helpful hints:
Garlic has a long growing season (I planted it back in September). I used two heads of garlic, from my local grocery store, and separated out the individual cloves and planted them. You can tell when it is ready to be harvested when the leaves start to turn brown and fall over.
Garlic isn’t ready to use once you harvest it – it must be put in a dark, cool place for 4 – 6 weeks so it can ‘cure’. I use a dark corner of my laundry room for this.
Now it was time to harvest the green onions that we planted back in September.
In our warmer climate, we are able to grow lettuce and spinach throughout the entire winter. I enjoyed going out in to the garden and snipping off lettuce and spinach leaves for salad whenever I needed it.
Sadly, it is now time for my spinach to be pulled out. Both lettuce and spinach plants begin to ‘bolt’ which means that the leaves become smaller and the stems thicker and they grow upwards. This happens just before they are ready to produce flowers, which will then produce seed. ‘Bolting’ occurs in response to the length of days. As the days become longer, it triggers the spinach plants to begin ‘bolt’.
*Now I have to resign myself to having to buy my leafy greens at the supermarket.
Other current events occurring in my garden include:
My tomatoes are planted next to Alyssum, which is a beneficial plant to have in the vegetable garden as it attracts beneficial insects.
Each of my stalks of corn have two ears of ripening corn. We can grow two separate crops of corn in my zone 9a garden – one in the spring and another in the fall.
To help pollinate your corn, just give a little shake to each corn stalk once you can see the silky husks appear. You can tell if they have been pollinated when the silks turn a darker color on top.
Okay, I realize that Sunflowers aren’t vegetables, but I do like planting them in my vegetable garden. I will remove the flowers and set them out, once they have dried, in order to provide food for birds. Sunflowers are so easy to grow from seed and birds just love them!
So, how about you? Do you have a vegetable garden? You can grow vegetables almost anywhere. It is so much fun and rewarding and the best part is when you harvest what you have grown…
Now, I just have to make some salsa with my new green onions. Once my garlic have cured for 4 – 6 weeks, I will be ready to use them in my spaghetti sauce
Birds & Blooms has some great information about growing vegetables that you can access here. Soon, you can be enjoying the fun of growing AND eating your own vegetables!