Tuesday, May 25, 2010

First Harvest

With the first of the garden veggies coming good this week (radishes, of course), it seems a good time to take a break from the critters and talk about what's in the garden this year. Since we were too busy last year with simply creating the raised beds made from rotting chestnut logs salvaged from an old pig barn, we didn't manage to get in any of my favorite perennials. So, this year I tried to make up for that omission by putting in rhubarb, asparagus, and jerusalem artichokes. We built one additional raised bed (three done last year--all roughly 12 feet by 4.5 feet) for the asparagus and tucked the rhubarb into one corner of an existing bed.

The jerusalem artichokes are the only plants that we put directly into the existing soil here. Not that we don't have lovely rich soil, mind you. We just happen to have crazy amounts of black walnut trees and the juglone they produce is toxic to many plants (especially fruits like tomatoes and blueberries). Fortunately, the ineptly named jerusalem artichoke is immune to juglone's effects. Although the name sunchoke better reflects this lovely plant's true nature as a member of the sunflower family, I grew up with the more exotic name and I can't shake it. We're anticipating a good show of its flowers later in the summer and a good harvest of its tasty tubers in the winter.

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