The Veggie Garden

Growing one's own food satisfies a very essential part of the spirit. It's all done with love and hope, trust that the seed you sowed will indeed actually become an 8' towering pole of beans. And that it works at all blows my mind - that this tiny seed has enough material and information to grow into a thousand beans. When we are able to share our bounty with loved ones it makes the experience even richer. Between eggs from our hens and lettuce from the raised beds, we are blessed beyond measure to have this land. Here's a look at the veggie garden this week at Chickadee Gardens/Blue Jay Lane Farms.

A view of the lower eastern end of the garden in the middle of broccoli and cabbages. Behind me are several gooseberries and to the left are many blueberry shrubs as well as a raspberry patch, just visible on the far left with the large supports made of filbert branches.

While the artichokes have come and gone, I let many go to seed. These flowers are so electric, plus the bumble bees love them. I often find them taking naps in these. You can just make out one in the middle of the upper flower.

In front of me from left to right are beets, onions and leeks, celery root, cabbage, cauliflower. The second row in the raised beds are lettuces and greens and carrots, chives, flowers for cutting and herbs, kale, chickpeas, carrots again, rhubarb (in the ground) and asparagus backed by artichokes.

 Our little zocalo or terrace got a bit of an upgrade this year. FM added these metal panels left over from the construction of our house to this area instead of logs. Much less soil gets through these things.

The asparagus was left this year, we didn't harvest any. This is to allow the plants to build up resources so they will live many years. We'll be harvesting next year, mark my words. It was hard to not snap off fresh asparagus at every turn. 

I'm not too terribly sad I let them be, for these are really pretty plants, after all. 

 Swiss chard

 Grapes on the fence. The birds usually get these before we do. The chickens LOVE them, too.

 Another wide shot of the lower east side of the garden.

 The tepee thing had snap peas on it earlier in the season. The frothy plant next to it is chickpeas.

 I have dill in the garden, but this is a look-alike stray fennel flower.

 Standing in the orchard looking south.

 We have some fine looking apples this year. We are growing gala, honeycrisp, Fuji and Spitzenburg. Also in the orchard but not producing yet are cherries, a plum tree, a nectaplum, a fig tree, a persimmon, an Asian pear and a few European pears.

This is the gate we decided to leave in place for fun. On the other side of it are a few kinds of pumpkin and squash, including bird house gourds and loofah sponge gourds. Behind the squash are cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, beans and, of course, FM's heirloom corn which will be dried and ground into corn meal later in the year. 

The squash fields are taking over. 

One of many 'Winter Luxury' pie pumpkins. These are the BEST for pie making, so sweet and tasty.

This is a Kuri squash which will get really deep red-orange skin and has sweet, firm flesh.

The variegated corn, a Japanese variety, is grown primarily for its beautiful foliage. 

The whole shebang including many nasturtium volunteers. I have ripped out piles of them already this year, but I don't mind. They are pretty cheerful and a favorite of pollinators.

I thought the flowers for the birdhouse gourds were especially lovely. I've never noticed white squash blossoms before.

 Layers of color. The vegetable garden can be pretty, too, in my mind.

 A monster of a sunflower, probably planted by a bird last fall.

Standing in the blueberries looking northwest. You can just make out our home in the background.

The bean tepees! I love these, they look pretty cool. To the right is the support FM built for the cucumbers. Behind the beans are FM's rows of corn.

And what do we do with all this food? We eat as much as we can fresh and are getting pretty good at preserving. Pictured is our first batch of dilly beans this year. We'll also put up another round of sauerkraut, we've frozen some veggies too like broccoli. I've pickled beets for the first time and I think I might try the same with carrots. The herbs get used fresh, although I do dry some, too, and save it for the winter. Some corn we can freeze, although as mentioned we will likely dry and grind the lot of it. Cucumbers are eaten fresh, they are a very delicious small, thin-skinned and sweet variety known as Beit Alpha from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and they are delicious. Some rhubarb was frozen, the chickpeas will be dried and stored. Cauliflower usually doesn't last long in our house but we could freeze some, too.

Whew! I know I'm missing a few veggies, but you get the idea. It's no small thing to have a veggie garden, it takes a lot of looking after, watering, improving the soil, and weeding. Constant weeding. Did I mention the moles? OK, I won't. But they are Tamara's bane. Not that they are eating the veggies, just undermining the root systems. Their tunnels must constantly be squished down.

I've said it before but it is worth repeating. We are very blessed indeed. We would love to share some with you, so if you are in the neighborhood, send me a note and stop by. I may be filthy dirty, but the food will be fresh.

That's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. Thank you so much for reading and commenting and happy gardening, everyone!


  1. Wonderful! And thank you for answering what I kept wondering about through the whole read: what do they do with all of that? Such non-stop worker bees, both of you. : )

    1. Non-stop...oy! Well, at least this time of year, absolutely. We're kind of slackers in winter, though!

  2. You are a gardening goddess--along with the uber talented FM. I want to be like you when I grow up. Cheers

    1. You humble me, unknown commenter! You are too kind :)

  3. I gave up my small vegetable garden for a small cutting garden but, if I had your space, I'd be growing vegetables too - and hoping I could create a kitchen garden as beautiful as yours.

    1. It comes down to space, for sure - in our last garden we had virtually no veggie garden. I'm making up for lost time. Thanks for your kind comments, Kris :)

  4. Your garden is lovely and I'm sure your hens like the "left overs".

    1. Oh, they LOVE the leftovers. I forgot to mention that, much of this goes to the hens. I just fed them kale tonight and they devoured it. Yay!

  5. What a large and lovely veg garden! Looks like it takes lots of work, but reaps bountifully in return.

    1. It is lots of work, a labor of love, and yes you are spot-on, we reap bountiful amounts of lovely food for all. :)

  6. Birdhouse gourd flowers (!), nasturtiums, layers of color – oh my! What a bounty of nature love. So cool. (I feel lucky that you share it on the blog!)
    The dried corn that’s then ground…I might have missed that from an earlier post…but I don’t know what that’s about, and I am very curious!
    As to the offer of sharing some of these beautiful foods… um…let me think… YES please!! Can come by any time. :D

    1. Alyse! Come over! Send me a note on FB when you are available. I'll tell you all about the dried corn (not that there's much to tell).

  7. I have such wonderful memories of visiting last year and getting to share in the goodness you're producing. And beautiful to boot, very very beautiful...

  8. Your veggie garden is one to aspire to. It is as beautiful and bountiful as any garden I have ever seen. Plus it makes me hungry to read about it.


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