Going Home

Are you familiar with this piece of music?  It is probably the most recognized theme in classical music.  The theme is called “Largo” and it is a movement in The Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From the New World” by Anton Dvorak.  Most musicians know that it was composed during his visit to the United States back in 1893.  It is often used to evoke the splendor of farmlands throughout our country and is one that I think of when I gaze out my office window to look at my garden almost every morning.

As they say, nothing could be finer than to look out my window and see what is happening in the garden.  It’s not quite the middle of summer and round about now there are plenty of people, home-gardeners, community gardeners and farmers that are taking stock as to where they are and what they have to do to have a successful gardening effort.  2011 has brought forth a few challenges and as gardeners or as farmers we have just had to deal with it…deal with whatever good old Mother Nature has thrown our way.  The strong do survive!  And to throw another cliché your way…”that what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger” or in this case “smarter” will be a fact of life for us “sodbusters” committed to a productive harvest from our gardens.

With the wet spring we had, farmers/gardeners across the Midwest, experienced considerable delays in getting their seeds in and their crops started.   As noted on this site, in a previous blog, I was able to get my peas in the ground in mid-April and plants (courtesy of the Greening of Detroit) like lettuces, cabbages, greens and broccoli in by the second week of May.  I wasn’t able to get everything else in the ground until after the Memorial Day weekend.  With the timing off for everybody, there was considerable doubt here and everywhere that “corn would be knee-high by the fourth of July”.

  Pac Choi/Collared Greens/Cabbage

I then had to establish an effective regimen that would at the very least position me to have a decent yield.  So I weeded (easy work), I composted (heavy work) and I planted, re-planted and planted again (3 succession plantings of bush and pole beans) until everything was in.

 Contender Beans

Provider Beans and Romaine Lettuce

Pole Beans

All I needed at the point of getting the garden completely in was a little cooperation in the weather department.  Now that we were definitely in the warm to hot cycle of the calendar, I needed rain and plenty of it.  If only it would continue to rain somewhat like it had throughout the spring I would be all right, but alack and alas it did not.  Now I am sure that if you were to look it up, our rain days were not too far off from last year or as I recall one of the TV weathercasters state, “we are down just a few inches from the near record amounts of the previous months”.  But the reality is that, although we may have gotten rain, it didn’t happen when and as often as it was projected, wanted or needed.

All along, my plan was to water the garden by hand as often as possible and with my rain projections (fueled by daily weather reports) I didn’t think I would have to do too much of that.  What I was saving by growing my own produce, I didn’t want to “water” away.  Plus, hand watering is no walk in the park.  Especially with a garden as big as mine and with the number of plants that have been planted.  In addition to what is in the ground I have a variety of plants in pots.

Peppers and Basil in pots

Potted Roma Tomatoes

Beyond what you see in the pictures above, I have a total of 21 plants in pots.  Ranging from Ancho/Poblano Peppers, Wisconsin Hot Peppers, Cayenne Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, two types of Basil, Chives, Sage, Tarragon and several varieties of Tomatoes (including Brandywine, German and Italian Heirlooms).

I still hand water but it takes a little more than 1 hour to directly water these many plants (in-ground/pots) by hand.  So far this year, I have turned the hose on only three times to water the full garden.

 Peas and Onions

 Tomatillos and Peppers

 Row of Tomato Plants

As it stands now, this is what I have in my garden:

(p = pots)


(26)  Tomato Plants

  • Giant Delicious
  • Italian Beefsteak
  • Big Beef
  • Moskvich
  • Green Zebra
  • June Flame (Jaune Slamme)
  • Brandywine (p)
  • German Heirloom (p)
  • Italian Heirloom (p)
  • Round Roma (p)
  • Black Cherry


(4)  Toma Verde Tomatillos


(27)  Pepper Plants

  • Bonnie Green Bell Peppers
  • Bonnie Sweet Red Bell Peppers
  • Bonnie Sweet Yellow Bell Peppers
  • Generic Large Yellow Bell Peppers
  • Yankee Bell Peppers
  • Black Hungarian Peppers (p)
  • Early Jalapeno Peppers (p)
  • Marconi Sweet Red Peppers
  • Long Red Narrow Cayenne Peppers (p)
  • Wisconsin Peppers (p)
  • Ancho/Poblano Peppers (p)


(242) Bean Plants

  • Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans
  • Contender Bush Beans
  • Provider Bush Beans
  • Cherokee Yellow Wax Beans


(66)  Pea Plants

  • “Spring” Sugar Snap Peas
  • “Cascadia” Snap Peas


(150) Onion Sets

  • Bonnie Dry Yellow Onions
  • Bonnie Sweet Yellow Onions
  • Bonnie Red Onions


(48)  Carrots

  • 2 x 4 Giant (p)
  • Danvers Half Long (p)
  • Solar Yellow (p)


(16)  Squash/Zucchini Plants

  • Cocozelle Zucchini
  • Round Zucchini
  • “Saffron” Yellow Squash


(14)  Marketmore Cucumber Plants


(15)  Heads of Lettuce

  • Romaine
  • Black Seeded Simpson
  • Mesclun Lettuce Mix (p)


(13)  Heads of Cabbage

  • Red Express Cabbage
  • “Shuko” Pac Choi
  • “Lascinato OG” Kale


(3)  Heads of Champion Collard Greens


(5)  Broccoli Plants

  • Arcadia


(6)  Herb Plants

  • Genovese Basil (p)
  • Chives (p)
  • Tarragon (p)
  • Thyme (p)
  • Sage (p)
  • Gigante d’Italia Parsley (p)

 “Provider” Bush Beans (front), Peppers and Tomatoes


 Full Garden South View

Lookin’ Good…don’t you think!  

I would love to know how your gardens are doing.  If you would like to tell your story or post some pictures, feel free to contact me here or by email at littsey.arthur@sbcglobal.net.