Monthly Archives: June 2011

White House Vegetable Garden – USDA Style

I thought this was prelly cool so thought I would share. Last week Mark Bittman, a hero of mine, posted this entry in his blog “What if the U.S.D.A Subsidized Gardens?”. It included a graphic of the White House kitchen garden layout and what it would look like if it was planted with the crops that the USDA subsidizes. I know which garden I would eat from. Oh and the info comes from our friends at the Environmental Working Group – they’ve developed a Farm Subsidy Database, another reason to love and support them.

Backend/Frontend Report

OK kiddies, get your minds out of the gutter, what I really meant was back yard garden and front yard garden. Yay this is an actual garden post!

But first! I have one GMO update for you:  “Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada”, by Aris A, and Leblanc S.1 is a Canadian study that found traces of BT toxin in the blood of Pregnant Women, their Fetuses and Non- Pregnant Women… Here is the article info from PubMed: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21338670 – unfortunately, I don’t have access to the full article, however, the conclusion is mentioned in the abstract.

AND we have a new additions to our family…

LUKE!

OK back to the backend… I mean backyard. The veggies are coming along nicely. I’m thrilled with how the squash bed is looking, there’s echinacea for bees and butterflies, corn, beans, cucumbers, zucchinis, spaghetti squash and an edible pumpkin I like to call calabaza. We even have our first calabaza flower!

I’m especially happy with this one since the seeds are from an actual pumpkin I bought at the Union Square Farmer’s Market in NYC last fall. I don’t know the variety but it’s great hardy one. That sucker was planted in 30 degree weather with only the remains of a plastic vinegar jug to protect it from the cold.
Remember this…
March
Now looks like this…

Memorial Day Weekend
As usual the sunflowers are doing great too, these guys were also planted in March. They were in the portable greenhouse along with tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other various flowers (calendula, zinnias, cosmos, wildflowers, sweet william, celosia). Some of the tomatoes came up, unfortunately none of the peppers or eggplants germinated. We had to buy a red pepper plant and a couple of hot peppers, we also bought some marigold and lobelia. Not bad though, the rest of the garden is grown from seed.

The greens bed isn’t doing to shabby either considering it’s been 80+ degrees here for a couple of weeks. Whatever happened to spring people?? We have collards and a few varieties of lettuces that I can’t really identify or recall, sorry I suck as a farmer… 

But what really warms my hears are the rogues! Yes we have squashes and tomatoes growing like weeds in the greens bed. I attribute a diet high in fresh vegetables for that. Since we compost all of our food scraps the seeds were ripe for germinating. I haven’t counted all of the rogue tomato plants but I think there about 10. We also have either cucumbers or zucchinis galore, Some around the sunflowers and some in the middle of the greens patch. We also had our italian chard self sow. We let it go to seed again in hope that it will come back, especially since what I planted didn’t come up.
As for the new herb garden, I’m very happy with that as well.

Echinacea
Lemon Balm
Anise
Dill & Marjoram
Thyme
Sage
Clockwise from Bottom Left: Parsley/Cilantro, Spearmint, Oregano, Chocolate Mint, Borage
I can’t wait for July and August when everything is in full splendor!!
Now in the front end things have been blooming like crazy.
The poppies looked amazing, they’re gone now ;(
This purple flower is also doing lovely and blooms for most of the summer – oh and if anyone knows what this is please let me know, I have no clue.
Here’s another one that ‘s growing in the garden, I think it’s pretty but don’t know what it is
Peonies came out but I need to divide this fall, we didn’t get a bumper crop this year.
The miniature roses are also looking quite lovely.

And of course, my mother’s rose and Pippin’s rose are also looking great.
Mom’s
Pippin’s
Our goal is to make this more of an edible front yard so I planted a couple of fun things like sage, echinacea, chives and borage. 
And for shits and giggles I planted pumpkins seeds from the most awesome jack-o-lantern EVER!

It’s going to be like the great pumpkin patch Charlie Brown!

1. Aris A, Leblanc S. Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Reprod Toxicol. 2011 May;31(4):528-33. Epub 2011 Feb 18. PubMed PMID: 21338670