Thursday, July 12, 2012

City Gardens Contest..... Crunch Time

By Lois Fischer

The judges' orientation session for the City Gardens' Contest was last Thursday. The various categories were reviewed, judging criteria were discussed and judging teams assigned. Anticipating an immediate phone call from the team captain responsible for small vegetable garden entries, I rushed home to begin attending to my raised beds and containers in earnest.

Cucumber 'Boston Pickling'
The cucumbers, 'Boston Pickling', that were just tiny seedlings several weeks ago are now large, flowering vines and in need of trellising. There are three five-gallon pots of them and should produce enough fruit for plenty of 'bread and butter' pickles to keep my family of three happy during the winter months. The English peas were harvested several weeks ago and have been replaced by string beans ('Soleil' and 'Masai' -- both cultivars are French fillet types) that are just begining to flower. The earlier planting of these two winning cultivars are cropping generously right now, enough to make ten pints of Dilly Beans for the pantry. The Swiss Chard seedlings have been thinned, some of which were also transplanted. This past week's hot weather meant emergency triage for those young darlings. Large golf umbrellas provided the needed shade to allow them to reestablish themselves.
Yummy Dilly Beans

In spite of my family and friends' best efforts to eat mixed green salads at every meal, the lettuces are almost out of control. It only takes a day or two of not picking for this to happen. I expect to rip out some of the plants by week's end to make room for kale, additional carrots and more string beans.
July is also a good time to plant more beets and Swiss Chard. At month's end, I also plan to replant Chinese mustard greens, arugula and curly endive. So many wonderful vegetables..... so little space!

For those of you who know me well, you might be wondering why there is no mention of tomatoes. Sadly for my contest entry, I am not growing any in my home garden due to space and light restrictions. Happily for my family, I have a raised bed several blocks away where I am growing the healthiest, most robust plants ever. Where there is a will......

The judging period for the contest is July 5 through August 8. I am still waiting for the phone call to let me know when the team will arrive. Nervous?? You bet! I'll keep you posted....

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