2021 Veggie gardens

Re strawberries, I don’t think mine ever propagate by seeds, but by growing runners in mid summer.


Finally, after a dry April-May, we’re getting rain. A dry spring is unusual in Virginia. At least the long cool period was great. The favas are happy!

Good thing, as there’s a 35 foot (10.6 Meters) long row of them.

Oscar Mulberries are coming in, one of the better tasting cultivars,

The blueberries, also in a 35 foot row, are loaded with green, soon to ripen berries. Nothing would get harvested without bird netting, lots of it.

The Cardinals were already staking out territory, hoping to raid the crops when they ripen. The cultivar Reka is very close to ripening.

All the alliums are inside an insect-proof hoop structure, which will hopefully protect all the alliums from onion fly/maggot.

If the bugs get in, it’ll be quite a banquet: White Egyptian Walking onion, Yellow Potato onion, Grey Griselle shallot, Rosa di Milano red storage onion, Red Beard and Evergreen Chinese scallions (Allium fistulosum) and two types of leeks.

The potatoes, in a bunch of colors, will be making new potatoes soon, I hope!

You can see how dry the soil was a couple days ago. I’ve been watering like mad until today. Some of the potatoes are experimental for this region:
Skagit Valley Gold, which is an attempt to get the famously-flavored Peruvian “Papa Amarilla” bred to produce in the US. The hot summer may be an issue here.
Likewise, an odd-looking red fingerling, Rosette, will have to pass the heat test. Cultivariable, the source for these, is in a cooler climate. Have fun exploring their varieties! Bill Whitson is one of the top food plant horticulturists of our day. There’s a bunch of these folks hiding out in many, different places. We’re living in a “Golden Age” for gardening!


These guys are doing quite well their second year in. I think they’d be doing better but the placement at the moment (base of a citrus tree In a big pot) makes it very inconvenient to do any kind of pruning or care.

The ones in smaller pots that don’t have steady water aren’t as productive - I think regular watering might fix that, though.

What an amazing garden and update @bogman

The OG aji amarillo has lots of flowers,

…and so do the ones grown this year from seed. These pictures were from last week, and I don’t think I captured the flowers. This week’s high was about 106, so we’ll see how that goes.

These are recent pictures of some of the Dwarf Tomato Project Tomatoes in Earthboxes. I’ll try to add names where not visable.


Too hot. Not looking at labels today.
Here are some shallots. They are closercto the house and the AC.
The first one is French Red. They bolted, I used the “fower” heads I cut off, but I read somewhere I might have saved the seeds.

The others should be Dutch Yellow

This planter has self sowed dwarf tomatoes I’ve let grow.

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Wow, I envy your blueberries. My first attempt is a total busy because something keeps eating all the leaves that come out, or at least on two occasions, also biting off the whole tip of the branch that is budding. :rage:

I have another plant on it’s way that was supposed to be my second plant to help fertilization, but at this rate, I’ll be back down to one plant. I guess it’s must to keep it netted all the time…


Do you grow to sell? Because your quantities of plants are mind-boggling.


Sasha, The produce is never sold. Depending on the crop, it gets freeze dried, frozen, dried, canned, made into jelly, canned puree (tomato) or pickled. The basement is cool and good for potato, onion, pickle and fermentation storage. The goal is to grow most of the vegetables consumed.

This can mean a lot. If, for example, you use one quart of canned tomatoes/puree per week, that’s 52 quarts per year. Some plants, like Aji Amarillo, need a lot of special growing and work, so I’ll grow enough to process and preserve for, say, three-four years, and grow something else. Some things, like Floriani polenta corn, keep for several years, if properly stored; the seed stays alive, so doesn’t spoil. I’ve studied and practiced food preservation techniques for many years.
Some methods, like freeze drying, are recent developments. Others, like dehydrating and pickling have ancient roots. It’s fun experimenting with new recipes for these vegetables. This year, I pickled bamboo shoots with olive oil, wine vinegar and Italian herbs, a cross-cultural test which came out great, much like a crunchy version of marinated artichoke hearts.

I’ll give excess vegetables to family and friends; we all share what we produce, when we’re lucky with plantings. A LOT of peppers get processed into a hot sauce which everyone (who likes hot sauce) raves about.

I’ll make 2 1/2 gallons (9.5 L) at a time. Super hot and mild peppers are combined to get a medium hot blend. Then, it’s aged in half gallon mason jars with toasted white oak (local and often delivered as green firewood) . This gets given to family and friends, but they’re supposed to return the empty bottles! I like it better than any commercial hot sauce I’ve tried. I make a lot of different blends, but the “Fugu”, named after the famous, risky sushi dish, is the most popular.

Kobuta, for blueberries, make sure the soil is very acidic. I dig out the native soil and replace it with sphagnum peat moss. Then, every couple years, about a cup of powdered sulphur gets sprinkled around the plants. Use acid-loving plant fertilizers. Rabbits love young blueberry plants. Maybe a tube, made of aluminum window screen would keep out bugs and beasts until the plants are larger. Rabbits chew through plastics, and seem to be overly fond of vinyl!


Thank you @Sasha for asking! Great question and great answer.

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Continuing apace. I lost my first lettuce and basil crop to a windstorm, so here’s lettuce 2.0.


The bloody butchers are doing what they do best, making more bloody butchers.


Chard! Leeks! I realize I’m doing a pretty fair amount of work for what will likely be one or two servings of chard.


And an infant cuke, still veiled. Gonna free the plant in a few days, since I think the danger of cucumber beetles has passed (or the plants are already infected from last year, and then, oh, well).



Well done @small_h !

A casualty.

Better hopes for these.

I’m thinking of getting a balcony fig. Other than fruit thieves (which shouldn’t be an issue), any obstacles?

Color me impressed. If I quit my job and all my commitments, and devoted myself full time to gardening, I don’t think I would be half as productive or successful. I commend you. What you’ve done with the growing and the preserving is nothing short of astonishing.


I hear lots of people grow them in containers, so I don’t think that’s an obstacle, but I’ve never tried it. I think there’s a thread on the NJ sub-forum.

Here it is


Thank you! Gardening is mostly an early morning activity, a little each day. By 10-11, it’s too hot and humid. It’s surprising what one can do if TV isn’t … in the picture. You’d be surprised how much you can do little by little. I bet if Shrinkrap had 5 acres, she would fill it up in no time!

Being “retired” helps. The more one does something, the quicker it gets done. When working the first year at Monticello’s Center for Historic Plants, I was in charge of (sales) plant production (amongst other things). The question “How many plants do you want me to grow?” was asked. No one knew what the sales would be like; lots of tourists daily, all year. I suggested “250,000 plants?” That guess was accepted and with help, we produced that number, in 250 varieties, at different times of the year. It was WAY too much! The second year, we all had numbers to work with.

Birds, squirrels, raccoons and opossums are all fig thieves out here. That netting on the blueberries was originally used to keep birds off figs. Since its purchase, the figs keep freezing back to the ground and don’t produce. They’re “landscape” plants most of the time. Unlike the thin, black nylon netting AviGard bird netting lasts longer and doesn’t trap snakes. I stopped using the thin stuff after having to remove a couple snakes which were so stuck, the netting had to be cut.

Lovely Apricots Shrinkrap! While most Apricots have toxic seeds/pits, there are some bred for edible, almond-like seeds. Have you ever tried one of those? (Better mark the trees carefully!)

After multiple attempts, it became obvious they do not like our humid climate. Odd, since peaches do so well.


I just received a box of a dozen, new, empty hot sauce bottles and have no idea where they came from! A very pleasant surprise, but there’s no clue whom to thank.

Fresh, young fava beans can be eaten without removing the skin, which gets tough as they age. I wish they’d keep the lovely cool, green color after cooking.

The first picking of blueberries was about a quart and a half, which indicated a lot are on the way! Last year, the flowers froze off and the plants got a rest from producing. Now, many branches are bent to the ground with berries.

Still no real rain, but the humidity is staggering 91-100%. Everything is wet from the foggy air. At least things can’t dry out quickly. It’s lowland jungle climate. When temperatures were in the 90s F (32+C), one gets tired just being outdoors. Fortunately, it has cooled down a little, to a “mid altitude jungle”.


My corn is making progress!!! (so excited!!) lol

Some peppers coming in


You go @NotJrvedivici!

@bogman Have you tried freezing them (favas) fresh? When I am overwhelmed with the volume, and discouraged about what will end up on the plate, I go there. I don’t know where I read this, but you can peel them like the parboiled.

I had two pepper plants with dozens of flowers snap off at the soil line in some fierce wind yesterday. I think it’s related to the soil line in the polymer medium.

I also ate some almost ready apricots today, and have some tomatoes and peppers fruiting.

Shrinkrap, this is the first year a good quantity of favas is coming in. In prior years, they were consumed as harvested. Last night, I blanched a gallon bag of shelled beans. These are young and tender enough to leave the skins on. I’ll pack them in quart bags today, destined for the freezer.

They won’t be coming in for long, since they stopped setting pods after it got hot. Blueberries, on the other hand, will be coming in for weeks. A gallon got picked yesterday. Time to get the jam jars out and ready! I may blanch (to pop the skins) and freeze dry a bunch; I haven’t done that yet.

Bummer about the peppers! I guess staking would be the only preventative measure, but it’s too late for the broken ones.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold