Savannah Garden Diary

May 4, 2008

Spring Veggies

Filed under: Compost, Veggies — Tags: , , , , , , — karen @ 8:18 am

We had our first feed of beans last night. Haricots verts, I suppose if you want to be fancy, but they tasted like green beans to me.

The sweet peas on the fence behind the beans are finally beginning to flower as they should. After a month of boring pink and white, other varieties are finally in flower. I never realized what a gap there could be between flowering times. They were all planted together in January.

The bean tepee is constructed, for the first time, of home grown bamboo. We once lived in a house with invasive bamboo along the back fence, which worried me because it was starting to stray into the neighbor’s garden. Round-Up merely made it fork. Then I read about a Maryland man who was suing his neighbor over invasive bamboo. Shortly after that, we moved.

This bamboo comes from Connie’s house, and I have known it for 20 years. In that time, it has spread hardly at all, so I thought it was safe to take a clump. So far, so good.

The veg garden hasn’t changed much since I moved it to the east side of the garden about 3 years ago. (I’ve moved the lilies out of it.) I now realize I need more space. This summer, I have beans, potatoes, various tomatoes, and the pimientos. There isn’t nearly enough space between things. It makes picking the beans very awkward. I’m not sure where to expand to. I suppose for the moment, I’ll just gain a foot or two on the south and east sides.
Here are the pimientos de Padron. I was afraid I’d lost them since I didn’t plant them last year, and they are always balky about germinating, but here they are.

For 2 years, I have been using newspaper and pine straw mulch, but I’m now switching to composted wood chips from the county dump. It’s a wonderful mulch and it’s free, but I still haven’t figured out the ideal way of getting it from mulch pile into pickup. I’m sure a hay fork would be better than the shovel I’ve been using, but I feel there should be something better. I keep hoping I’ll be at the dump when the guy with the frontloader is turning the pile, so that he can just give me a scoop, but so far that hasn’t happened.

On a completely different topic, I am strongly tempted to remove from my blogroll all those blogs that have horrid little comment boxes and catchcas, or whatever they’re called. They are so irritating to use and so completely unnecessary. I’ve never had a spam comment sneak through in 6 years of blogging.


  1. Your beans and sweet peas are quite impressive. Here in zone 5 I have not planted beans yet, but will sometime around the 15th. And my sweet peas are maybe six inches tall. I am also impressed that you have home-grown bampoo poles for the beans.

    Comment by — May 4, 2008 @ 9:23 am

  2. We are a couple months behind you on eating fresh beans and peas. It is in the 70’s today, headed for the garden now.

    Comment by — May 4, 2008 @ 10:38 am

  3. Hi Karen, your veggie garden looks so neat and orderly, but I agree, you need more space. Don’t we always need more space in the garden? Our first sweet pea opened purple today, we planted ours in November here in TN, maybe too early if yours went in in January. Did you start them inside, or right into the earth? My bean poles, (store bought) are set up, and will plant the seeds this week. The sugar snap peas are flowering, so maybe we will have the peas soon. I agree with you about those horrid letters, but some people really have a big problem with spam. It may be the set up on their computers about cookies, junk mail, etc. Since I dropped the letter verification on my blog, I have gotten two spam comments, easily deleted since I have comment approval on all incomings. It is frustrating to see the letters sometimes. Looking forward to seeing your sweet peas. Since we figured out that the rabbits were eating ours to the ground, not a frost problem, and put chickenwire around them, all is well. We will plant more this fall, any suggestions of good fragrant types?

    Frances at Faire Garden

    Comment by — May 4, 2008 @ 6:57 pm

  4. Frances: I try to keep veg garden and all beds as small as possible to minimize the weeding. But that’s hopeless, really. We end up enlarging all of them.

    I usually plant sweet peas in October. (Always outdoors; I never start them inside.) In a really mild winter they survive and flower in March. But more often they are cut down by frost. Then I think I’ve lost them all and replant them in January. Then some of the ones I thought were dead come back. This year, I did both, and the take-home message, I think, is plant seeds in January because the ones I planted in the fall, died back in the frost, recovered and are only now blooming. The ones planted in January were in flower a month earlier.

    Varieties: Old fashioned Spencer ones are pretty good. I used to get them from Thomson and Morgan, but this year I got them from Territorial Seeds and I think they are better. I ordered several varieties. I never buy ones that aren’t labeled ‘fragrant.’ I am also fairly religious about adding legume inoculant (can’t spell it) when I plant them. I was raised with the adage that you can never plant peas too densely, but I think this year I have managed to do it. That hedge of sweet peas is so dense that the fence sways madly in a blast of wind and I’m afraid it’s going to come crashing down!

    Yes, you’re right that comment approval solves the spam problem. With WordPress, I find Akismet does a very good job.

    Comment by karen — May 4, 2008 @ 7:32 pm

  5. I don’t have captcha on my comment form, but I can certainly see why people use it. I employ comment-approval to keep spam comments from going through, but I currently delete about 70 of them a day, most of them pornographic in content, by hand, one by one as they trickle in through the course of the day. Not fun. I may eventually cede the battle and resort to captcha to stem the time-wasting and offensive flood.

    Comment by — May 5, 2008 @ 12:36 am

  6. Yes, 70 a day is altogether too much to deal with. Do you use Akismet?

    Comment by karen — May 5, 2008 @ 6:19 am

  7. Not yet. I haven’t been willing to relinquish control to a program. But that day may not be far off.

    Comment by — May 5, 2008 @ 9:57 am

  8. My sweet peas are in full bloom this week. They would have bloomed two weeks ago but some caterpillar attacked just as the flower buds were making shoots. It was like pre-deadheading the flowers. So it took a bit of time for the next set of buds to form.

    On a previous topic…I meant to respond to your meme but the I had several other posts in the queue and never got back to it. I couldn’t think of anything clever to say anyway. I’m not good with those kid of off-the-cuff lists.

    I don’t use Akismet so I do get spam. However, since I hold all new comments in moderation, I don’t find it difficult to mark and delete them. WordPress has “mark all” option that lets me deal with a bunch of spam with one swipe. And if someone is really persistent WordPress makes it easy to ban a commenter either by IP address or URL or even phrase (although the last option can have unintended consequences). These spamguard features are one of the reasons I moved to WordPress. When the blog was on Movable Type I had to use a validation box.

    Comment by — May 5, 2008 @ 12:22 pm

  9. Those memes are silly. I shall ignore them in future.

    I’ve obviously been lucky with spam. Akismet does a super job. It even works on my other blog, where I get about 250 visitors a day.

    Comment by karen — May 6, 2008 @ 9:55 am

  10. Hi,
    I live in West Wales in the UK. I have grown pimientos de padron for the first time. We get warm, wet summers here and I plan to grow them in tubs. Do you have any advice for me? I had trouble getting hold of the seeds - but they all came up fine and are now 3 to 4 inches tall and growing on top of my icebox in a very light utility room. I tried two plants out side and they seem OK.
    Your beans and sweet peas look amazing!

    Kind Regards,

    Jan Hartzell

    Comment by Jan Hartzell — May 12, 2008 @ 10:36 am

  11. Jan: I’m guessing pimientos will do better for you than for us. (I smuggled the seeds from Spain!) Padron has summers very similar to Wales–wet and not particularly hot (by our standards).

    They get about 2 m tall and I find they need some staking because they grow so fast in our very warm springs that they tend to fall over. (I seem to remember seeing them staked in Padron as well.) I give them a bit of fertilizer only if the leaves start getting a bit yellow. They really are very big plants. You might want to try some of them in the ground unless you have very large tubs!

    The most important thing is to pick them every day once fruiting starts. And they are outrageously hot unless you pick them when they are very small. 5 cm is too long–at least here. In your cooler climate they may not get so hot so fast. Let me know how you do with them.

    The beans are becoming a pain. We’ve had them for dinner every day for 2 weeks. I shall have to freeze some!

    Comment by karen — May 13, 2008 @ 10:01 am

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