Mitch's Blog 7.0

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Friday, June 24, 2005

This Year's Garden

So I realized today I hadn’t yet written anything about growing a garden this year. Since I usually include at least one entry devoted to gardening during the summer months, I thought now would be the perfect time to write this year’s.
Like usual, I have a fairly large plot of land dug up in my backyard to grow vegetables in. I don’t have the exact dimensions of my garden at all – mainly because I’ve gotten to where I am now by adding on a little bit every year for the last 4 years. What I do know, however, is that my plot is somewhere in the greater than 100 square feet category.

Most of the vegetables I have should have already produced their first batch of edible goodies by the time I leave for Grand Forks around August 20th. This year will be unique, however, in that I will not be at home for the final part of the growing season, from the last week of August to the entire month of September.

Anyway, here’s a list of what I’m growing this year. I’m even going to list everything in alphabetical order, as well as give the German equivalent. Why? I don’t really know, but I suppose it’s always good to be exposed to another language every once and awhile.
  • Beans (Bohnen) – Fresh green beans from the garden always taste the best, plus they’re pretty easy to grow, as long as any potentially damaging diseases or insects are controlled before they get to be a large problem. I’m growing the Green Bush Snap Tenderpod beans from seeds I ordered from Burpee earlier this spring.
  • Carrots (Karotten) – Although I rarely eat store-bought carrots (I’ve never really liked their taste), I do enjoy carrots straight from the garden. Carrots that have just been pulled out of the ground tend to have a much higher sugar content and, all in all, taste better than anything that can be bought in the store. Last year I was able to grow more carrots than I knew what to do with, despite having a minor problem with a gopher infestation. I hope I have a good amount of carrots again this year, and that the rabbits that seem to have sprung up around my neighborhood these last few weeks do not have a chance to feast on my carrots before I do. I’m growing the Sweet Treat Hybrid carrots from seeds I ordered from Burpee earlier this spring.
  • Cauliflower (Blumenkohl) – I’ve grown cauliflower successfully before, so I thought I may as well try again this year. I really wanted to grow cauliflower’s close cousin, broccoli, but I couldn’t find any stores in the area this year carrying broccoli plants. I probably could have grown some plants from seed, but I didn’t really feel like doing so after I saw one of the area flower/vegetable retailers selling 4-packs of cauliflower. I hope I get some edible cauliflower, but right now, the chances of that aren’t looking too good. Those aforementioned rabbits really find the leaves of the cauliflower plant tasty, and they’ve managed to injure my 4 plants. I’ve since put up fencing and netting to keep rabbits and other animals out of my garden, but I don’t know if the damage they caused to the cauliflower is going to be repairable.
  • Corn (Mais) – Sweet corn is a new vegetable for me. I’ve sort of wanted to grow it for the last few years, but I never had much room in my garden to do so due to a couple of reasons. The first was that I just didn’t have that large of a garden to start with, and the other being that I was busy growing pumpkin – another vegetable that requires a lot of space to grow. This year, however, I decided that I would grow some sweet corn in lieu of pumpkin. I’m hoping I’ll get some delicious corn from my 4 by 4 row block of about 10 plants per row that I planted. Right now my corn plants are about 6 to 10 inches tall, so it’s going to be interesting to watch them sprout up to a height of 4-5 feet in the next couple of months. I’m growing the Yellow Sugary Enhancer Hybrid Early Choice sweet corn from seeds I ordered from Burpee earlier this spring.
  • Cucumber (Gurke) – I just have one cucumber plant this year, which has been my norm for awhile now, since I am not the biggest fan of cucumbers. They are useful in some foods, though, and if I get a few nicely-sized cucumbers out of my plant, I’ll be happy.
  • Lettuce (Kopfsalat) – I’ve never grown lettuce before either, but I decided to give it a try this year to see what I come up with. I’ve got my two lettuce plants surrounded by a fence and net, as rabbits – and other creatures – are obviously going to be very attracted to the fresh lettuce once the plants begin growing heads of it.
  • Peppers (Pfeffer) – I have seven pepper plants total, down from the total amount I’ve had in previous years. I’ve discovered over the years, however, that I generally end up with far too many of the hot, jalapeño-like peppers than I know what to do with. So, going with that knowledge, I only bought two hot pepper plants this year: one growing some sort of chili pepper and another growing jalapeños. The other five plants are growing your typical bell pepper. I think I have three that will produce “red” bell peppers and two that will produce the oft-seen “green” bell pepper.
  • Peppermint (Pfefferminz) – I haven’t grown herbs in awhile, and wouldn’t have had any this year either if I hadn’t been at Menards a few days ago and noticed a table full of vegetables and herbs for 50% off. Everything on the table was marked $1.17 or so to begin with, so getting them at 50% off was an even better deal. Anyway, I saw a nice-looking peppermint plant and decided to pick it up while I had the opportunity. Peppermint was among the varieties of herbs I grew last time I had them, so I know how tasty the flowers and leaves of a peppermint plant can be.
  • 9. Zucchini (Zucchini) – This is my primary squash this year, since I’m not growing any pumpkins. Like just about any squash, zucchini is pretty easy to grow because of its resistance to many types of insects and diseases. I’m growing the Sure Thing Hybrid zucchini from seeds I ordered from Burpee earlier this spring.
So, that’s it. I was thinking of taking some pictures of all the plants last evening, but, in the end, I didn’t get around to doing so. I did, however, get around to doing some necessary weeding around the corn plants.


Blogger P "N" K said...

Wow...10 x 10 plus feet? I'm impressed...that's more earth moving than I'd be able to do :-)

Fri Jun 24, 06:12:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Houley said...

I especially like the part where you translate everything into German :D

Maybe reading my blog is influencing you or something ;)

Sat Jun 25, 12:11:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Kaila said...

Corn is easy to grow. Have you thought about adding fruits? Raspberries are fairly easy once you get them set up, and keep in mind that you have to trim them and what not every year. I don't know much about blueberries, however strawberries are a favourite amongst grown critters...

I also like the german translation...

Mon Jun 27, 07:29:00 AM CDT  
Blogger Mitch said...

I do have a couple strawberry plants that have grown some decent-sized straberries in the past. Nothing as big as the ones in the store, but big enough to make a good (tasty) snack. I guess I forgot to mention them, since they're perennials and I didn't plant any this year.

I have thought about adding blueberries, though I don't know how well, if at all, they'd grow in this area. According to some gardening books I've looked at, they'll grow fine as far north as the Twin Cities, but any farther north than that is a "grow-at-your-risk" zone.

Tue Jun 28, 09:44:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Kaila said...

Blue Berries grow really well up north (Grand Marais and that area) I used to go blue berry picking with my Grandpa when I was little and we'd come home with boxes full. I think it depends on the soil... The soil in Grand Marais is rather acidic(I would assume as there are many more pines there than here). Not to mention the top soil is very thin due to all the rock... So maybe you could grow blue berries. You'd just have to do some research, and you may have to purchase the plants and soil. I think it would work... Perennials are good, better than the store. Personally I prefer June bearring (sp? sorry), as they come back for quite a few years. If you get these you'd need to mow them down at the end of the season and then put straw over them to protect them from the frost and snow... These Strawberries turn out larger, and most definatly better than those at the store... Have you put any thought into Tree bearing fruits... Apples are fairly easy, ok not fairly easy they do require some work, but I think they're worth it... Crab apples are really good, and they make wonderful jelly. The only problem is the tree takes a few years to grow. Tja.

Wed Jun 29, 03:11:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Mitch said...

It's funny that you should mention apple trees, since we used to have 2 in our backyard. Somebody who previously owned the house planted them, so, by the time we moved in, they were quite old. They still grew delicious apples every year, though. One had pretty sour (like Granny Smith) apples and the other had much less sour apples great for cooking.

Anyway, one of the trees got more or less destroyed in a storm about, I want to say, 8 years ago. The other one died not too long after, most likely just because it of how old it was.

I've wanted to try going another apple tree for awhile now, but I just haven't gotten around to it. The long time it takes before the tree starts producing apples has also turned me away.

However, last time I was at Home Depot, I saw that there was a pear tree for sale. I thought that was kind of interesting, so I later did some research and found out that pear trees (that produce edible pears) can indeed be grown in Minnesota - even in the far northern parts, like by Roseau. Since they're not very common here, they also aren't likley to get diseases or bugs, either, so that's another bonus for trying to grow one. My mom is also interested in planting one in our backyard, so, perhaps we'll go out and buy that tree sometime soon. If I remember correctly, it was about 4 or 5 feet tall and priced pretty reasonably (less than some of the maple and oak trees that were also there).

Thu Jun 30, 01:45:00 AM CDT  
Blogger Houley said...

I hate to be a downer, but a mistake is better corrected than left wrong.

English is at fault here. A bell pepper such as you refer to is "die Paprikaschote." "Pfeffer" refers to the spice ground from peppercorn.

Fri Jul 15, 09:34:00 AM CDT  
Blogger Mitch said...

:) I knew I shouldn't have trusted Google's translate feature for the word pepper.

Sun Jul 17, 02:25:00 PM CDT  

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Mitch's Blog began on December 23, 2001