Community garden: Highs and lows of 2018

I had two garden plots in 2018. A friend wanted to grow with me but backed out just before the start of the season. In the new smaller plot, I did mostly herbs (basil, dill, parsley), peppers, nasturtium, and flowers.  In the larger plot, I did the same along onions, garlic, a small strawberry bush my garden friend gave me, the lavender bush I planted in 2017 (I think), and the dill and calendula that self-seed every year.

I wanted a break (and to give the soil a break) from the more demanding fruit-bearing plants and to see what it would be like to just grow flowers, herbs and salad greens like a few of my fellow community gardeners. I didn’t miss dealing with tomato plants, but I did miss having zucchini. In the end, I think I prefer having a combination of vegetables, herbs and flowers.

Highs

Corner store peppers

The heat and humidity (feeling like 40 degrees) during the summer really helped the peppers to do well.

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Plump jalapeños!

I don’t usually buy convenience store plants, opting instead for heirloom and organic plants from Urban Harvest, but my friend shared some hot pepper plants she bought on the Danforth and they did well!

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I think these are Thai chili peppers. They were really hot!

Rosemary

My rosemary has never grown as large as it did last year. It was so beautiful! Roasted some with a whole chicken (yum!).

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It was practically the length of my forearm. I took it inside in hopes of keeping it alive over the winter. 

Giant zinnias

My garden friend offered me some extra giant zinnias so I agreed to take them. They did great, blooming well into the fall.

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This was taken in October!

Lows

Green leafy veggies didn’t do very well last year, probably because of the extra heat and humidity (and I probably didn’t water enough). I planted kale, collard greens and a few salad mixes. Nasturtiums didn’t do well either. I also planted some corner store leeks from my friend that didn’t make it to adulthood (they like cooler temperatures and I planted them late).

As for thefts inherent in having a public garden space, some of my onions got taken as well as heads of flowers that had gone to seed.

Although I saw swallowtail caterpillar eggs for the first time in 2018 and I saw many caterpillars in the first instar, I didn’t see them progress beyond that stage.

Best new find

Butterfly milkweed

Although I have other flowers that attract butterflies (cornflower, zinnia, and the asters that I saved from the community garden in 2017), I decided butterfly milkweed might be a nice addition to the flower garden.

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Different stages of bloom

Although I don’t remember seeing butterflies swarming around them, I would grow them again (I harvested lots of seeds). The blooms are really pretty.

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Making seeds

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