First Harvest

On April 11th, we planted mesclun mix and pea pods from seed. On April 29th I shared photos of our first sprouts pushing up from the soil. Yesterday, we harvested our first mesclun mix and enjoyed a lovely salad with dinner. My son, who isn't a big salad eater most of the year, devoured his. Smart boy... eating in season is the healthiest, most earth friendly way to go!

Here it is before we harvested:

We also have our first flowers on the pea pod plants, so pea pods will be here soon!

Here's a lovely head of romaine developing. I bought a "6 pack" of romaine from our local garden center and planted them about 2 1/2 weeks ago. This one will be ready in about a week.

While I was photographing the pea pod flowers, these mating dragonflies happened by. They stayed locked together like this until we went in for dinner at least 30 minutes later.

Here's a photo of our whole garden.  The raised beds measure approximately 200 square feet.

You can see, I haven't mulched with the straw, yet. Maybe tomorrow! In addition to the mesclun mix and pea pods, we also planted bush beans and pole beans from seed. Then we purchased 4-packs and 6-packs of small plants for the rest. We have 6 kale, many varieties of lettuce (roughly 24 plants), many red onions,  4 tomatoes, 6 cabbages, 6 broccoli, 4 red bell peppers, 4 green bell peppers, one zucchini, 6 parsley, 4 celery, 4 eggplant, and 9 basil inside the fence. There will be 4 jalapeno peppers, 3 basil, and 4 butternut squash outside the fence. This is risky because we have hungry bunnies and woodchucks in the area, but the garden is at maximum capacity. I've found the basil usually isn't disturbed and I expect the same will be true of the hot peppers. The squash is another story. It may become lunch for the wildlife, but I have to give it a try.

The volume of plants may seem too much to you for this relatively small space, but we've planted roughly this much each year. (The only exception is the zucchini- by the end of the summer it will take over an entire corner of the garden and overflow the walkway. I train it to grow away from the other plants and just accept that my walkway will be cut off eventually). The key to such productivity is the raised beds and excellent soil quality, thanks to awesome compost from my parents' sheep maure and our own compost bin. For more information, please read The Vegetable Gardener's Bible by Edward C. Smith. Everything you need to know is in there. Trust me!

How are your vegetables coming? Did you plant in pots, in the school yard, on a rooftop, or in a backyard garden? Please share your successes and failures.