The garden is really doing incredible this year. After 10 years of trying, i think i've finally figured it out...lol. In all honesty, the years of building up our (super crappy) soil is finally paying off. We've been adding huge loads of composted horse manure, and our own super rich chicken/goat poo laden compost to the beds for the last couple of year, and we are really seeing a difference.
This year we moved our potato bed off the front hill, and put it in the goat field. It's fenced in to keep the goats out of it, although they have both already gone under the fence just to show me that they could. Potatoes are potentially poisonous to goats (nightshade family) and they must not be very palatable, because neither goat nibbled them when they were in there. Instead they just made a mess of the mounds, and rolled around in the dirt for a nice dust bath. Nothing was actually damaged, and we hilled the potatoes back up. i'd been planning to plant some cucumbers, pumpkins and sunflowers along the fence...but now that i know the goats can get in there if they want too...i probably won't bother. If we ever get it secured enough that they can't get in i'm going to take advantage of the fencing, and plant all kinds of climbers in there.
Anyhow, we planted almost 50lbs of potatoes in the patch. We have the rest in the front garden. They are all doing fantastic. They are a lovely green this year, they look full and thriving and they are beginning to flower. In the past we've had problems with the plants looking tall and spindly and not really bushing out much. We've always harvested a good amount of potatoes, but always felt that the yield should be better. i'm hoping this year we'll have the best yield yet. i've removed just a few Colorado potato beetles, their larva and eggs. Not too bad though. i've actually been surprised how few i have found, last year they decimated one bed of potatoes before i even realized i had them.
The front garden, or technically garden #2. Is on the other side of our driveaway, along a nice empty stretch of land that is bordered by the woods. The garden is 12' x 45' and partially shaded. It's up a hill so it's hard to get a good picture of it. This garden contains 6 rows of potatoes, Bachelor buttons, Red Romaine Lettuce, Carrots, Dwarf blue kale, Rainbow Swiss Chard, Lucullus Swiss Chard, green leaf lettuce, spinach, Red Russian Kale, yellow onions, Lacinato kale and 3 double rows of bush snap peas. i still have a couple rows to plant. :)
Here's the spinach, leaf lettuce (random potato), white Chard, Rainbow Chard and Dwarf blue kale.
This is red Russian Kale, it's doubled in size since i took this picture. It's a really pretty kale, i can't wait to start harvesting it.
This is a glimpse of the purple garden (Garden #3). This year we fenced it in entirely, and it has really helped the garden. i knew the chickens were pretty destructive, but i didn't really realize the extent of it. Without the chickens getting in to strip the kale, pull up the bean shoots and peas, scratch up my strawberry bed etc the garden is really looking amazing!! Unfortunately the fence which is a thick green plastic, makes it really tough to get a full picture of the garden.
i have three rows of purple flowering peas. One row is the Blue podded Shell peas, and then i have two double rows (both sides of fencing) of the Dwarf grey. Which produces purple flowers, but green peas. i also have two rows of the purple bush beans, a row of purple tomatoes (Cherokee purple, Black Krim and Purple Kalabash).
i've got two rows of the Redbor kale, which is supposed to be purple...but is more green than purple. The stems are at least purple. i read that the colder the weather the more purple it will be, so i'm going to try saving seeds on this and planting again in the fall. i really want purple kale!!
i also planted purple cabbage in here, and a couple Sicilian violet cauliflower. On the other end of this garden is two raised strawberry beds, my Asparagus bed, which is also full of butter crunch lettuce, dill and Cosmic purple carrots. My broccoli is also planted in the garden along with my salad garden ( spinach, a variety of lettuce, onions and garlic).
My main garden (garden #1) is just starting to come up, so i don't have any good pictures yet. i'm still in the process of planting this garden, although it is mostly done. i have most of my tomatoes and peppers planted in the garden. i'm also trying corn again this year, and i have a few rows of bush beans and soy beans. i have tee-pees along the back for purple pole beans, cucumbers and scarlet runners. Along the front i have a few hills of squash.
On the tiered garden on the front hill, is my sweet potatoes, more tomatoes and squash. The kids garden is also planted and doing well, but that will get's own post.
This time of year is so incredibly busy for me, but i love every minute of it (except maybe removing the potato bugs..yuck!).
How is you garden growing this year? Did you plant anything unusual?