Growing Challenge Update

Is it just my imagination, or is the garden coming along slowly this year? I’m literally armpit-deep in green leaves, but there doesn’t seem to be that much to eat out of the garden just yet. Maybe it’s all the rain, and the relatively cool temps. Or maybe I am just imagining it. Every February, I dust off the spreadsheets to record my crop harvests, but come summer, I often forget to record how much is coming in when. I just wander out into the garden for a handful of snap peas, wander back in, and throw them directly into the pan.

For the Growing Challenge, I decided to grow quinoa and wheat, which I’ve never grown before, and to do a second generation of my “frost-resistant” Contender beans. The beans are working splendidly – they survived the hard frost we had (I did cover them, but that didn’t save everything in the garden) and are now starting to produce wonderful, tasty beans. I only did nine plants, though, so I don’t have a lot of genetic diversity there for saving seeds for next year. I’ll have to remember that. I have some left from last year, though, and I’ll save some of these, too. So I count that as a success.

The quinoa is not happening. This is the second year I’ve tried to grow it, and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten it to sprout. There’s a ton of goosefoot (lamb’s quarters) in the garden, and I know they’re similar…but they’re not identical, right? So I think I just have goosefoot and no quinoa. This isn’t really its habitat, though; it’s a mountain plant and used to more temperature variations and probably less water. I think this is a strong hint that I should just learn to love my goosefoot. 🙂

The wheat is still in progress, though the winter wheat should be ready soon. It’s certainly looking better than my volunteer rye, which is covered in ergot. I never, ever thought one of the things I’d grow at home would be LSD! Guess I’ll be burning that cover crop before it gets me burned at the stake…

So what am I harvesting these days? See after the cut…

  • Onions (we’re at the “knob onion” stage now) -lots and lots
  • Sugar snap peas – a couple pounds so far, and going strong
  • Kale – enough that there’s always a big bunch ready to harvest
  • Chard – 3 bunches so far
  • Green beans (just starting)
  • Broccoli (just starting)
  • I also had about a quart of strawberries in June.

The tomato and potato plants are large and robust and flowering. The earliest green beans are just starting to come in (Contender bush beans) and the winter wheat should be ready in a week or two. I’ve just seen the first squash blossoms.



  1. Ken said,

    July 8, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    my garden seems slow this year too, except the bit that went fast.

    the greens and strawberries pretty much did their thing while i was in Missouri and Arkansas in June, though I did get a bit of each before I left. Peas are pretty much finished here.

    I’m eagerly awaiting tomatoes, but for all their big leafiness, no flowers yet. Potatoes seem similarly dawdlesome. I feel like the squash should be blossoming soon, but I’ve no sign of that yet either. And even the greens seemed slow to come up. I’ve been blaming the lack of sun for the slow growth.

    Your harvest sounds lovely; I wish I was still getting greens and peas!

    Is there a plant-cohort that comes between greens and tomatoes/squash? Beans maybe? I didn’t plant any…


  2. Ken said,

    July 9, 2008 at 7:28 am

    oh hey… this morning? squash flowers (well, one) and some tomato buds!

  3. Emily said,

    July 9, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Ken – this seems to be the report from everybody: slow year in gardendom. And yes, beans can fit nicely between greens and squash, especially early bush beans. Pole beans tend to come on a little later and last a lot longer. One or two flushes of beans and bush-types are done. Pole beans will put out until frost. But happiness about finding blossoms this morning! Perhaps the moon is full of Mercury or some such…

  4. Derrick said,

    July 11, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Our first tomato will be ready this weekend. Since our last harvest, we’ve got some caulflower, cabbage, gooseberries, one raspberry, and I found some new poison ivy. What fun.

  5. July 28, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    […] Emily wonders why the garden is growing so slowly this year. Her beans survived the late frosts, and her w…. […]

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