The spring planting scramble is a thing of the past and we are starting to enjoy the first fruits of our labour. It occurred to me that a look at what’s been keeping me busy (and tired) might be of interest, especially to all my urban gardening friends. 

We live in a gated community so our food farming takes place in community garden plots. This post is about what’s growing in the two 10′ x 20′ plots we rent at a public community garden where we’ve been members since 2010.

Plot One

This garlic bed might look sad and decrepit, but it’s actually a thing of beauty. When the top leaves die back, the bulbs are ready to dig. I planted the garlic cloves in mid-September, and our new garlic will be ready by mid-July. A secondary harvest, the scapes, we took off a few weeks ago. Our varieties are sixty Red Russians, ten Chesnok Reds, two Elephants and two of Some Like It Hot.

Jim’s beloved peppers are off to a great start. We have Thunderbolt Sweet Red and Hot Hungarians from the local greenhouse, and Thai Dragon and Sugar Rush Peach that Jim raised from seed. A portable hoop tunnel that he designed should help maximize the harvest at the other end of the season. 

Six cauliflowers, six red cabbages and six savoys are all growing well. They went into the ground as transplants in early April and I guess it’s been a cabbage spring because they look great. I don’t usually grow cabbage family plants because they take a lot of room and the cabbage worms can cause such damage, but this harvest has changed my mind. Maybe the secret is to get them in early.
As a rule we don’t eat potatoes, but the new potato season is the exception. These eight potato plants have far exceeded our expectations for the space alloted to them, and I imagine the fresh potatoes, a special but unnamed variety from a well-respected gardening friend, will be delicious.

Finally, completing the first plot is a bed of basil, because you can never have too much. 

Plot Two

The delectable Cascadia sugar snap peas are at their peak. In front of them, Walla Walla sweet onions are sizing up. The last two days of rain helped immensely. My next section is a hodgepodge of two savoy cabbages, one red cabbage, kale, purslane, claytonia, plantain and New Zealand spinach. The mulch in the foreground is eelgrass, a seaweed we harvest by the bagful a couple of times a year out at the coast. 

Here is the rhubarb patch. It measures 3’ x 4’ and produces abundant rhubarb to eat, freeze and shower blessings on a few other people as well. The beet box sits between the rhubarb and the hodgepodge garden. This raised 4’x4’ box is perfect for starting seedlings to transplant. So far it has given us beets, parsley, bok choy and lettuce mix, all of which have new homes now. Three strawberry plants in the corner gave us a small but sweet crop of berries.

A trellis is standing in wait for the Fortex pole beans. I froze some whole last year and when I used them during the winter, they cooked up like the well-loved French beans of my childhood. Needless to say, I planted many more beans this year. Beside the beans is my one volunteer potato plant. Year after year, it never gives up. The potatoes are good, not amazing, but how can I say no to such an old and faithful friend? 

Next are the Cylindra beets from transplants. Who knew you could transplant beets? I love this variety because the beetroots are tall and the tops are delicious. More bang for your buck in the same amount of space. To the side is one of three parsley plants forming seeds for the next year’s supply. The biennial cycle is well in place now so there’ll always be parsley. 

The Laurentian rutabagas, grown from seed and taking hold nicely, are past the risk stage and I’m looking forward to quite a few nice roots come fall. I loosely follow the square foot method of gardening so I tuck in a few seeds whenever a space becomes available. By the way, the leaf mulch is dried comfrey, an outstanding source of nitrogen.

Back at the north end is a 4’ row of carrots. Behind that is a 4’ row of cheerful California poppies, a new crop for me, which will be dried for tea to capture their medicinal properties of helping relieve pain and promote a good night’s sleep. These seed like crazy, so I will have to remove them soon, even though they are so pretty. 

Thank you for joining me in this walk around our community garden plots halfway through 2019. I hope I have conveyed some part of my awe and gratitude for the abundant, health-filled harvest to come. It really is an ongoing, unfolding miracle.