Lower garden

Our lower vegetable garden was created less than 10 years ago as we ran out of space for everything we wanted to plant for food. Ironically one of the best places with ample sunshine is adjacent to the driveway next to the street. After extending our deer fence around it, and installing raised beds, we started planting it up.

Against the foundation of the greenhouse grows three different perennials: strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa), asparagus, and rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum). We have been enjoying both the asparagus and rhubarb and wait for the emerging strawberries to ripen. The flowering rhubarb stalks need constant cutting as I look to maximize harvests.

The biggest bed in the center of the space is dedicated this year to climbing beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) and a variety of squashes (Cucurbita). Poles are set up to accommodate their ascents. Now if I can keep the squirrels, chipmunks and raccoons away from eating the seeds prior to germination, I should be ok.

Two smaller beds in the front are planted with two different tomato varieties (Solanum lycopersicum) and snow peas (Pisum sativum var saccharatum). I started the peas a few weeks ago in peat pots as I have learned that seeds in the ground rarely reach germination stage because of the resident animals.

I also have a large transplanting of leeks (Allium porrum) that take up half a bed.

The lower vegetable garden also includes many different flowers and a park bench I rebuilt last year in ipe wood, a restful spot where I can hide in plain sight behind a honeysuckle (Lonicera) bush. Late in the day, as the sun drops behind my house, I watch a line of sunflowers (Helianthus) reach for the sky. Soon they will dominate the view.

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