Scotty's Kitchen Garden19/07/2012 14:21
Today I would like to share with you a few shots of my Kitchen garden.
A kitchen garden can have several different definitions but as far as I'm concerned it's usually a garden in close proximity to ones kitchen and contains plants most often used in daily cooking such as tomatoes,herbs,onions,peppers etc.However there are no hard and fast rules here.My kitchen garden is indeed right outside my backdoor but It contains a large squash plant which is not exactly used in daily cooking.
Here's the squash in question.It's a nice heirloom acorn squash called 'Table King bush'.Don't let the term 'bush' fool you though,it can sprawl if you let it.
The photo was taken in August and normally by than my squash plants are showing signs of powdery mildew but as my region went through one of the driest July's on record,I have little in the way of airborne fungal problems on any plants in the garden.Spores have a better chance of taken hold if they land on wet leaves than dry.
Here's a cherry type tomato called Cupid.It's a very prolific producer.
Down in front is a planting of bush beans.Those are 'Tendergreen' and they are tender indeed.They only require cooking for about three minutes and they are ready.Bush beans only produce for 2-3 weeks so I do succession plantings to have bush beans all season.
Beside the beans are some herbs that I grow throughout the garden.I believe that's oregano and sage.One of the problems with growing herbs and vegetables together is there different requirents.Most herbs do best with a lean soil and they prefer the soil get quite dry between watering.That's how you produce the best flavour.Contrast that with tomatoes and peppers which need lots of nutrients and regular watering.You can see the problem if herbs and vegetables like that are planted too close together.Very difficult to meet their different needs.It's one of the reason some folks prefer a seperate herb garden.However,I'm also mixing certain herbs and vegetables together as I'm experimenting with companion planting.
Here's a couple more containers.Peppers and tomatoes.That's a nice sweet pepper called 'Cubanelle'.It starts out yellow and will turn red if you let it.It's a great frying type pepper.I've had a very good season with peppers.All the plants are loaded and I've had no insect problems.
As you see below,it hasn't been all good in Scotty's kitchen garden.This tomato is suffering from that dreaded verticillium wilt.I lose a few every year as the fungus can survive in the soil for several years but this season I lost a staggering 15 tomato plants.
Yes,yes,I know.I should rotate my crops but it's a small kitchen garden so I take my chances.
Unlike the powdery mildew I mentioned,verticillium is a soil borne fungus rather than air so trying to plant tomatoes in a different location every year can certainly help.Oh well.I still have ten plants that are fungus free.
Cucumbers can be a challenging vegetable to grow.They need lots of water and even when provided the darn things can still be bitter.It happens.Mossy gave me a tip about that.Sprinkle salt on them and let them sit for a bit and it removes the bitterness.Another factor that can lead to bitter cukes is a lean soil which that location has due to my cat loving neighbours Manitoba maples pulling all the nutrients out of the soil.Darn him and his weed trees!
In front of my humongous cuke is an old cinder block with some dill and chard.I use those cinder blocks throughout the garden.They serve as both retaining walls and planters.My garden is a raised bed.Only about 5 inches but it still needs retaining.In front of the block are Walla Walla onions.Perhaps the best tasting onion in the world.
I love onions.My favourite vegetable.I have a large planting of nothing but onions behind my kitchen garden.
As you see,I have gravel paths intersecting the garden.I can reach all parts of the garden from them and it keeps me from compacting the soil as I walk around.
Here's some chives and Spanish onions I nearly forgot about.Their tops are completely brown and will soon be withered away altogether.Once they do that I may forget about them completely so I better harvest them.
Some more peppers below.Than ones in the background are a wonderful heirloom,'Hungarian Wax'.They are considered sweet but only when young and yellow.As they age they will turn red and become very hot.Wow.Not many peppers do that.They are either sweet or hot.Hungarian Wax can be both.
Also below you can also see many more peppers including true hot varieties.I love hot peppers in the garden as they are both great to eat but they also provide ornamental appeal.
Against the wall are some nice 'Sugar Sweet' and 'Honey Bunch' cherry type tomatoes in containers.I like to use a combination of containers and in ground planting.
I think I'll finish for now by showing you some of my 'Kentucky Wonder' pole beans.
They simply went crazy this year and are now 12' tall in the middle and 15' tall where they are growing right up the tree on the right.
Normally when pole beans get that much vine and leaves they usually will not produce many blossoms and thus few beans.That has not been the case with this planting.Beans galore.I have to use a ladder to harvest them and they wont stop coming.It's now the middle of September and a whole new flush of blossoms has appeared.Pole beans can indeed continue to produce right up to a hard frost.
~I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my Vintage garden.~
You can find more information about some of the vegetables I mentioned and see other heirloom suggestions in heirloom favourites.
Here's some of Mossy's wonderful recipes featuring a few of the vegetables in my kitchen garden:
Cucumbers(Try them baked)
Green beans(with almond and orange butter among others)
Swiss chard(Use the leaves as wraps)