Following slower start, vegetables showing good growth

I finally have everything planted in the vegetable garden. Although the area is small, I do cram a lot into the 11 plots there. They are divided by paving stone paths, and each contains at least one vegetable (or fruit).

The largest space is overflowing with several kinds of green beans. My favorites are runner beans, and I bring seeds of Wisley Magic back from England on my visits. They have cheerful red flowers and provide a bountiful harvest.

I also like the purple-podded pole beans that grow tall and are easy to pick. Then, any leftover space is filled with bush beans, which produce a crop just one time, but then can be replanted. Pole beans keep on growing as long as they are picked every few days.

I have quite a variety of tomato plants. Celebrity are the old reliables – round, bright red and comparatively free from diseases and pests.Their flavor is acceptable, but Brandywine heirloom varieties have them beaten on that score any time, although their appearance is not so picture perfect..

Then, I have just one Juliet grape type, one purple cherry variety, a Black Krim, a German Johnson and two lemon, all gifts from friends.

I bought some young strawberry plants at the recent Master Gardener sale, and they are doing well. The small green fruits that already were visible are reddening, and I hope to have enough for a pie in another week.

Then, I will have to do some research to find out how to care for the plants I have never grown before.

My potato patch is the winner at this time. The plants are at least a foot high and looking healthy. I planted Kennebec this year, a good all-purpose potato that can be mashed, baked, scalloped or used in any casserole. The small bag of seed potatoes I bought is going to produce a very large crop, even if I snitch a few small ones to cook with the early peas.

Another section has bell peppers that will be yellow, orange, purple and green as they ripen, and a few eggplant. Now that the summer heat has started, those plants finally are growing.

In the onion patch, I am trying leeks for the first time, in a compost-rich trench, but they do not look happy yet. The trench needs to be filled gradually as the stems grow, to blanch them. There are onions, shallots and garlic in the same area that are doing well.

The pea seeds went into the ground while the weather still was cold and were up in the first days of May. The flowers have appeared finally, and the potential harvest looks good.

My corn is not doing well yet, and I will have to replant some. I think the crows and blackbirds have taken more than their share.

I have enjoyed daily pickings of asparagus, just enough for one person, but it has not been as prolific as in past years.

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage have settled in well, and I filled the last plot with Swiss chard.

A lot of vegetables in a small space, they almost are as satisfying to look at as to eat.

Janet Del Turco is a local gardener and a graduate of the Ohio State University Master Gardener program.

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