We were overzealous when we planted our raised vegetable beds. Or, really, I was. I wanted to get seeds in the ground. I waned to see our garden growing. So we planted with loam instead of waiting for the nutrient-rich compost to arrive at the community garden.
That’s not to say that it’s been a bad growing year — just a complicated one so far. There’s been a curious array of weeds and rogue growth. There’s been a lot of maintenance needed to keep our seedlings happy and growing.
The peas — that’s what you see above — have been stretching up to the sky rapidly. This week, blossoms finally appeared. Hopefully the sweet peas will soon follow.
This photo is from a few days before the first one. The peas weren’t as tall then. On the right of the box, you can see our bush beans. We planted purple, wax and green beans. They’ll become dilly beans, get frozen and more.
Meanwhile, the radishes have already matured. We’ve been harvesting them steadily.
I like to slice them and layer on grainy toast with butter and a sprinkle of salt. In the photo above, I used smoked salt.
We’re growing in four raised vegetable beds this year. In addition to peas, beans and radishes, we also have carrots, beets, tomatoes, herbs, peppers, cabbage, lettuce, cucumbers, onions and broccoli.
The tomatoes and herbs were the only box to be thoroughly mixed with compost. This photo shows them shortly after planting. So far, they remain on the small side, although I have some rough tomatoes growing in another box (they grew from the seeds of our tomatoes last season) that are doing well. We’ll see.
Four boxes is a lot different than one box. It’s more work, more weeding, more checking in. I expected that. What I didn’t expect though was how gratifying it would be to see peas, for instance, climbing the strange string trellis I made for them. It’s like a web of string and it’s been pretty god for the support and growth of the peas.
Next time, I need more support at the bottom though.
I also wasn’t expecting how challenging it would be at times to distinguish between seedlings and weeds. It’s taken a little patience to allow them to grow enough to decide what needed to be pulled and what should stay.
Overall though, I love having four beds. I love sharing this experience with my kids. And I love seeing what our hardwork results in.
More soon. How’s your garden growing?
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.