Garden Plot Three 2016

Field Tile Protecting Celery Plants

Field Tile Protecting Celery Plants

What is a kitchen garden? Garden plot three.

More than others, vegetables grown here made it to our kitchen and were used. Herbs, onions, celery, broccoli and green beans are always expected from a Midwestern garden. This year plot three delivered.

The story was of technique.

The plot is shaded by the locust tree each morning with full sun after noon. Almost everything planted here thrived. This year’s production included perennial chives and oregano, spring onions, basil, celery, broccoli and green beans.

I used drainage tile to protect young celery seedlings and it worked. Celery plants grew tall inside the 12-inch by 4-inch tile segments, producing enough for the kitchen with extra to give to library workers. There is nothing like home-grown celery.

The success of this year’s broccoli is attributable to protecting the seedlings as they grew. I put one old tomato cage around each seedling and wrapped chicken wire around the cage. As the plants grew, I removed the cages and put a 4-foot fence around the broccoli — tall enough to prevent top-nibbling by deer and close enough together to prevent them from jumping inside the fence. It all worked, producing the best broccoli crop I’ve had.

More than 100 onion sets produced spring onions well into summer. I tried seeding basil, but it didn’t take. Basil seedlings started indoors produced better results with plenty to make pesto.

What made this plot a kitchen garden was the production of aromatics — herbs, onions and celery particularly. In season I used them in everything.

Plans for next year: Split the chive and oregano plants; more basil; cherry tomatoes where the beans were; eggplant and hot peppers; and peas.

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