Urban Gardening goes Country…Part 2

Time for another thrilling episode of the Berger’s down on the farm!  In case you missed our last post, click HERE to read all about the beginning of our gardening adventure on our friend’s property the past several months!

The last few weeks our plants have really taken off! We continue to struggle with low nitrogen in the soil, evident through the struggling leafy greens, beets, and pale squashes.  The motto of this year is “When in doubt, add more nitrogen!”  We have one bed that was added later which used rich dirt from another part of the property, and the zucchini planted there are thriving.  It just shows how important it is to have rich, balanced soil. The fish emulsion is definitely helping and our latest trial with feather meal (apparently rich in nitrogen?) seems to be going well. We have other friends giving us composted Rabbit manure as well so we’ll see if that helps!

Soil quality has always been the bane of our existence, both at our house and now at our big garden. Andy said yesterday that when he finally gets to have a garden with balanced soil, he will probably cry [with joy, that is].

Thus far for harvest we have sugar snap peas, radishes, lettuces and garlic scapes (a part of the garlic plant that looks like green onion but tastes like garlic!). The turnips are taking off and we have our first little head of broccoli starting to form.

One of our biggest endeavors thus far was the construction of 45 tomato stakes and 55 pepper stakes.  If you haven’t noticed, the metal tomato stakes from the store do not actually work, yet we all continue to purchase them. We decided to give THESE stakes a try from Old World Garden Farm and I think they’re going to work out really well! All our tomatoes and peppers are transplanted and thriving so we are excited for our yield.  Everyone that sees our excessive tomato and pepper crop thinks we are nuts. To answer all the skeptical questions, “yes”, we realize this is a ton of tomatoes, and “yes” we have a plan for their use.  We also want to be generous with our crop and share with those who want to eat fresh food!

I wanted to highlight this excellent pea and cucumber trellis that Andy made.  The peas grab on so well and it is extremely easy to weave them and help them climb with this device. Not to mention it is very inexpensive! We just drove a metal post into the ground (3 total, 2 were already there from our fence) and then wound twine in a horizontal line for the plants to grab on to.  Here are pictures from our peas but our cucumbers have the same contraption right next to them. We are hoping this system will work as well for the cucumbers, which are a heavier plant, but we will see soon and keep you posted!

Our garlic plants are HUGE and we have garlic scapes (note: the long curly piece that grows from the garlic must be cut after it curls to send energy for the bulb to grow. Garlic scapes are more mild than garlic and can be chopped and eaten raw in salads or added to cooked vegetable dishes)


The whole garden
Tomato and Pepper Stakes


Tomato stakes after we first transplanted


Oops I spelled Radish wrong…oh well
No spell check in the garden!


Yesterday Andy mounded dirt over the potatoes (You have to do this otherwise the sun turns them green from the chlorophyll.  No one wants fried green potatoes!)


Stay tuned for more garden adventure!  Hopefully good news and lots of crop yield!

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