23 November 2011

A Walk Through my Vegetable Garden

Summer is here and my Vegetable garden is well under way!  
Last summer I harvested some lettuce, a few peas, beans, corn and squash (not nearly enough to feed us once a week for a month) and NO butternut pumpkins and NO watermelons.  
But I got buckets and buckets full of tomatoes!  The tomatoes just didn’t stop, and I was able to harvest tomatoes well into the middle of winter!  
My herb garden thrived over the past year yielding thyme, rosemary, marjoram, celery, parsley, basil, spring onions and yarrow.
For the winter season I had plenty of peas in the beginning of the season and one bed of carrots.
I knew one bed would not even be enough carrots to sustain our family for one week (carrot salad is a standard side dish for supper), but the idea was to see how it goes, if my soil was right this time. We have terrible clay soil and in the past had NO carrot harvest.  I also wanted the children to experience pulling their own carrots!  

And they did!
We could start harvest carrots in October, and it become a ritual for the little ones to pull their own carrots, while I watered the garden, every morning.  Sadly, I had to clean up the bed two weeks ago.
I believe I had such a marvelous tomato harvest, because I’ve put all my time and efforts into the tomatoes.  

I studied tomatoes and looked after my little tomato plants with great care. So, I decided from now on to focus on one specific vegetable in a season, study it and try to make a success out of it.  This way I will not waste my time and money on a variety of vegetables with little or no success.  
With tomatoes I know now more or less what work, and decided to focus on pumpkins for this season!  Yes, I desperately want to harvest pumpkins!
I only plant heirloom seeds in my vegetable garden and get my seeds mainly from Livingseeds.  
Over the past two years, I got quite a number of different seeds, from various heirloom seed suppliers.  The seed packages were all just thrown in a box, so in the beginning of this season, I organized my seeds in a filing box.  

I attached the seed envelope to cardboard.  On the cardboard I can make notes whether the specific seed fit into our climate, what kind of soil worked and success or failure.
Since I started my vegetable garden two years ago, I yearned for a permanent hot box. 

Every summer we had to repair our cardboard hot boxes. 

This September, Christo and the boys, built me a permanent hot box. 

This hot box can take 24 seedling trays at a time.
The men did a great job on the hot box and it works perfectly.  

It has air holes, which I can cover with masking tape when it is cold outside, or open when it is too hot outside. 

It also have growing bulbs inside.  

The box fit on a piece of wood, so I can carry the seedling trays outside on warm days. 

It is painted with a waterproof paint, so I can water the seedling trays without damaging the wood.
I sowed my first seeds the third weekend of September and by the end of September the first plants were ready to be transplanted in the ground.  
Another huge improvement in our vegetable garden was cutting down the last trees in the current designated patch for the vegetable garden.
First were the one small tree in the right corner of the vegetable garden.  

We took it out during the winter months to open up more son for the existing raised beds.

In October it was time to take out the last and biggest tree.  This tree had split in two, three winters ago and though we tried to save it, it had a very strange look and this past winter split again. There was no way we could save it anymore.  

CJ and Josua was a great help for Christo, and the little ones enjoyed playing between the branches! 

Now the vegetable garden looks much bigger and with a little imagination, it could actually give the impression of a vegetable garden!
This summer I sowed 5 varieties of pumpkin, peas, 3 varieties of bush beans, lettuce, watermelon and cucumber.  

Cucumber is a first for me, and I thought I would just give it a try, alongside the pumpkin.  

I also sowed our rainbow corn, harvested during the previous summer season, directly into the ground. 

I didn’t need to sow one tomato seed. We took out the previous season’s tomato plants in July, and since I knew they liked these particular beds, I just let it rest until it was time to plant my tomatoes. 

Great was my surprise when early spring came and tomato plants sprouted in clusters all over the two beds! 
A few weeks ago I thinned them out, and replanted some of them.  I sure have more tomato plants than the previous summer season.

In the past two weeks I’ve start finger prune the small side shoots, also called suckers, growing between the main stem and the leaf stems, and gently pinch these off with my fingers.  
I have no idea how many plants I have on the three different varieties I grew the previous season, but sure do look forward to a plentiful harvest, again! 
The tomatoes we grew last year were stacked against wood trellises and by the end of the season it couldn’t hold the tomatoes any more. 

So, Christo and the boys are busy making me iron trellises.  

In the process the boys learn working with metal which includes welding skills.  Josua paints it with metal paint to keep it from rusting. 

It seems like I’m into a vertical garden this Summer!
So far my pumpkins are doing great. 

I’ve planted honey suckle in the same beds as the pumpkins to attract bees, and also do hand pollination every morning.  

I already have two big pumpkins, 

but there were also a few pumpkins who slipped through during the hand pollination process :-(
We already harvested some peas;

plenty of beans;

and Lettuce!

Yarrow are growing everywhere!

And the Fig tree is full of promise too!

I also only wet the garden by hand, which do take a lot of time, but I see it as part of my summer program! 
Who of my blog friends has a vegetable garden and how are your gardens going? Please share in the comments below.
Much love

"Moreover I will appoint a place ... 
and will plant them, 
that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more;"
2 Sam 7:10

PS. This was God's promise to me 7 years ago, after we rented different houses for several years. 
I pleaded with God for a place where I could grow a garden of my own!
Thank you, Lord!


Kimmie said...

What a beautiful garden. I love that you are studying pumpkins.

Enjoy the season you are in (and it is not to late to add to your family through adoption...just saying ;-)

mama to 8
one homemade and 7 adopted

Shaz said...

Linnie, your vege garden is looking wonderful, and it is such a blessing to be able to feed your family from your own back yard. My vege garden gets bigger every year, but still very small compared to yours. Thank you for the inspiring blog that you have.

Is that gutters that you have veges growing in along the green wall?

Linnie said...

Hi Kimmie, welcome on my blog, and thank you for taking the time to comment! Wow, 7 adopted, what a blessing!
I'm going to pop over to your blog!

Linnie said...

Hi Shaz,
Thank you for stopping by. The gutters were for the strawberries, but it wasn't a success. Not enough soil for the strawberry plants, it dried out to quickly and the heat reflection from the concrete wall is to much, although we painted it green! Currently working on a new plan, hope to finish it this coming weekend. I can't wait to share it.
Much love

Wilma Gray said...

Sjoe, you really have green fingers...You remain an inspiration to me. My garden is very small, and mostly in the shade, so it is hard for me to start my own garden. Patiently waiting for my own house with a big garden one day! Thanks for sharing!

Linnie said...

Hi Wilma
Currently I have literally green fingers, from pinching tomato shoots!
The Lord's timing will be perfect for your garden! He waited until I had older sons to help me.
Thank you for taking the time to comment!

Tangerine-Tane said...

Wow! Your veggie garden looks great. :) We used to have a big veggie garden in Clarens (we've moved from there now, though), I can remember my siblings and I walking through the garden picking beans and spinach, then we would eat them plain... ;) I love your blog! And I enjoyed your blog post, it was educational and fun to see how your veggie garden is going!
Lots of love
Tane ♥

Taryn @ Hayes Happenings said...

Loved this Linnie! It must be lots of hard work. Well done!!!

Linnie said...

Hi Tane
So nice of you to visit my blog. You are so right, the best part of a veggie garden is walking around and enjoy plain, freshness!
Much love!

Linnie said...

Hi Taryn
Thank you. It's hard work for sure, but in a sense it is "Me" time I don't need to feel guilty about :-)
Thank you for taking the time to comment.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful Linnie - so exciting and rewarding. Its looks great. Wonderful that you are slowly and steadily working at it. This year for the first time our butternut is doing well and our tomato plants also all sprang up on their own :) The corn not happening this year and we are struggling with our seedlings. Guess we need a light box! lots of love, Karyn

Linnie said...

Hi Karyn
It's a challenge isn't it? One year, one vegetable works great, next year not so good. In the autumn months my peas did excellent, now during spring, just enough for the children to pick while we water the garden. But I love the challenge!
Thank you for stopping by! Blessings on your veggie garden!

Wendy said...

Looking good Linnie!

Linnie said...

Thank you Wendy! You were my inspiration from the start and still is!
Much love!

Huisvrou said...

O genade!! My groentetuin bestaan nog net uit pale - moet eintlik 'n foto neem en vir jou wys!

Daarna moet een deel hoenderhok word en die ander deel groentetuin - TYD!!!

Intussen is Henry besig om vir my tussen die twee geboue draad te span (my honde dink mos kruie is vir hul plesier geplant) waarna ek (uiteindelik!) my kruie-plantjies kan uitplant.

Op hierdie stadium het ek knoffel-sprietuie, basilie, sweet rocket en echinecea plantjies wat soebat om groter en sonniger ruimte as die kombuis.... :)

Linnie said...

Ja, Vriendin, tuinmaak vat baie tyd en ons manne is besig. Sal graag daai foto wil sien, met die honde... :-)

Sonja said...

My groentetuin het so n week terug verspoel toe ons 100ml reen in n uur gekry het. My moed is nou redelik min om hierdie jaar aan te gaan daar! Julle groente lyk pragtig,Linnie!

Linnie said...

Ai, Sonja, dit is baie sleg! Moet sê, ek lê maar self soms nagte wakker wanneer ek 'n onverwagse bui reën hoor val - die Kaap is mos nie 'n somer reënval streek nie en ons kry tans gereeld 'n bui of twee. Die groter gevaar is egter dat ek dink die reën het die groente genoeg water gegee, en dan was dit maar 'n paar druppels. Vir my is die grootste uitdaging tans om te weet wanneer is hoeveel water genoeg vir watter tipe groente!
Hoop jou groentetuin produseer nog hierdie seisoen!

Sean said...

Hey Linnie, stunning garden and it's great to see that your carrots are doing well. It's also good to see your boys doing 'stuff' in the garden.

Blessongs Sean and herd.

Linnie said...

Hi Sean, thank you for taking the time to hop over to my blog! I'm pretty impressed with my garden, but it is still very early days, and I'm really praying my expectation and hard work will be met.
Have a blessed week!

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