The Garden Is In

  • 5/29—Temp: 52–78F, Precip: 0.00″

Finished putting in the vegetable garden. Added soil amendments and inoculated the beans this morning, then planted this afternoon/evening.

  • Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris (Midnight Black Turtle Soup), Johnny’s) (26 sq ft)
  • Garlic (California Softneck, Garden State Bulb Co.) (7 sq ft)
  • Okra (Clemson Spineless, Livingston) (10 sq ft)
  • Onions (Stuttgarter Riesen, Netherland Bulb Company) (7 sq ft)
  • Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus (Black Diamond), Livingston) (12 sq ft)
  • Wildflowers (Beneficial Insect Attractant Mix, Johnny’s) (8 sq ft)
  • Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo (Dark Green Zucchini), High Mowing) (10 sq ft)

Watered front bed. Kale growing like mad. Chard, lettuce, some carrot, and herb (cilantro?) sprouts have appeared.

Geraniums looking even worse, but seem to have green new-growth leaves. Rhododendrons have started to bloom.


  • 5/28—Temp: 60–82F, Precip: 0.37″

Rained last night briefly and a little harder (but just as brief) today.

Received dual tumbler composter ordered on 15 April.

Cleared forsythia near garden to make a space for it. Also dug out a nasty thorny vine growing in there. Going to fight forsythia back on all fronts and try to take down some vertical height to keep it out of utility lines.

Last Double-Digging

  • 5/27—Temp: 62–86F, Precip: 0.18″

Finished the last 40 sq ft of the last bed. Done double-digging for this season.

Did all 40 today, but split first 20 before work, and second 20 after. Follow up each with a dose of ibuprofen and a shower, and I don’t feel it at all.

The last sections yielded lots of fruit tree roots and softball-sized rocks. A couple of doozies (100+ lb) thrown in there for good measure.

Thunderstorm coming tonight (now). So far not much rain, but a couple of hours left of the big stuff. Should shower through tomorrow. Planning on finishing planting Friday.

Geraniums not looking so hot.

Second Bed GO

  • 5/26—Temp: 63–82F, Precip: 0.00″

No rain today. Maybe tomorrow?

Double-dug 40 sq ft of the second planting bed, which will hold beans, okra, onions, garlic, zucchini and watermelons. Each 20 sq ft section seems to have its own characteristics. Front bed had:

  1. Tons of fruit tree roots
  2. Soil clumped with spidery roots
  3. Really easy
  4. Giant damn rock

Today’s digging uncovered:

  1. Tons of basketball-sized rocks
  2. More spidery roots clumping soil together

I’ve been generally double-digging in 20 sq ft per-day increments. Today’s 40 was too much, especially with temps in the 80s.

More Sprouts

Watering the Blackberries
Watering the Blackberries
  • 5/25—Temp: 55–79F, Precip: 0.00″

Watered this morning. Noticed beets and spinach had sprouted.

Planted remainder of blackberry bushes started yesterday.

Expecting thunderstorms tomorrow through Thursday.

Geraniums, Blackberries, and Invasives (Oh My)

  • 5/24—Temp: 45–79F, Precip: 0.00″

Planted 5 pink and red geraniums received from D. Wood.

Planted 2 of 5 Prime-Jim blackberry bushes purchased at Achille Agway. Double-dug 18″ holes, used about 1″ compost, and mixed blood meal, rock phosphate, and muriate of potash with removed soil before replacing, per Cooperative Extension recommendations.

Removed great deal of invasive Autumn Olive from shrubbery, including one fully tree-sized. Also removed dead branches from various other plantings, particularly lilacs. Brush currently filling one quarter of our driveway to between 5 and 6 feet high.

Germination and Harvest Dates (Updated)

  • 5/23—Temp: 34–61F, Precip: 0.00″

The following table summarizes estimated germination and harvest dates for the vegetables planted in the garden:

Crop Sow Germination Harvest
Basil May 17 May 23–29 July 21
Beans May 29 September 10
Beets May 17 May 31–June 7 July 15
Carrots May 17 *slow* July 31
Chard May 17 May 22–27 July 16
Cilantro May 17 May 24–27 July 11
Dill May 17 May 27–31 July 16
Garlic May 29 ???
Kale May 17 May 24–27 July 6
Lettuce May 17 May 24–27 July 1
Okra May 29 July 24
Onions May 29 summer
Spinach May 17 May 24–31 June 26
Watermelon May 29 August 27
Zucchini May 29 June 5–12 July 18

Kale Germination

  • 5/22—Temp: 48–66F, Precip: 0.00″
  • 5/21—Temp: 36–64F, Precip: 0.00″

Kale has germinated and presented dicotyledonous leaves. Way early (3–4 days after planting). Saw sprouts through floating row cover yesterday while watering. Uncovered and verified today. Have not seen signs of other germination yet (but did not remove cover to check 100%).

Pruning and Clearing

  • 5/20—Temp: 41–60F, Precip: 0.00″
  • 5/19—Temp: 53–73F, Precip: 0.30″
  • 5/18—Temp: 50–70F, Precip: 0.00″

Rained yesterday. Garden soil still damp through today.

Started clearing barberry from corner crabapple area. Ended up clearing everything from that area except crabapple, including another semi-invasive that is also used as a shrubbery elsewhere in the yard and another few cherry-like saplings. Also pruned several branches from crabapple to allow it to grown more sustainably.

Nice ground cover in vicinity. We’ll see if it survives after we stole its shade.

Front Bed Remainder

  • 5/17—Temp: 59–82F, Precip: 0.00″

Planted remainder of front bed, all seeds:

  • Rainbow Chard (Beta vulgaris var. vulgaris, High Mowing) (12 sq ft)
  • Beets (Detroit Dark Red, Medium Top, Burpee) (4 sq ft)
  • Corvair Spinach (Spinacia oleracea, High Mowing) (4 sq ft)
  • Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum, High Mowing) (8 sq ft)
  • Santo Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum, High Mowing) (2 sq ft)
  • Mammoth Dill (Anethum graveolens, Livingston) (2 sq ft)
  • Carrots (Danvers Half Long, Livingston) (4 sq ft)
  • Lettuce (Black Seeded Simpson, Burpee) (4 sq ft)

Received 3 lacinato kale plants from D. Wood. Placed in north side of area sown yesterday, 8″ spacing.

Had help planting from L. Holt. Covered bed with floating row cover, dug in at edges. Malcolm helped set rock border around bed using rocks uncovered while digging beds.

Found more potential Japanese Barberry encroaching on shrub in SW corner of property (also in vicinity of crabapple).