Gleanings from the Garden

What’s growing this year in our test gardens.

Bam-Bam contemplates a leafy oxheart carrot that’s bigger than her head.

Carrots that grew bigger than a bunny’s head were just one of the surprises in the Gardener’s Supply display and test garden this summer. An heirloom variety introduced in 1884, Oxheart carrot is short and thick, typically growing 3-4” wide, but only 5-6” long. Ready to harvest in 90 days, they easily reach a pound or more in weight, making them good candidates for long-term storage.

Lemon-yellow pea pods startled many garden visitors. Edible-podded Golden Sweet Peas from Seed Savers Exchange, were delicious eaten right in the garden or added to salads or stir fries, according to Sarah, one of our test gardeners. The catalog description of this unusual variety says that the seed was collected at a market in India and is the only yellow-podded pea in the Seed Savers inventory of 1,200 pea varieties. As an added bonus, the 6-foot-tall plants have ornamental, two-toned purple flowers.

The broccoli, chamomile, and onion combination bed turned out to be big winner in the pest control category. Sarah set the broccoli and chamomile transplants in a checkerboard pattern with rows of onions between each strip and around the edges of the raised bed. Remarkably, the broccoli was free of cabbage worms until the chamomile died back in late summer. In companion-planting lore, chamomile also improves the flavor of onions and cabbage crops, plus it attracts beneficial insects.

For more on companion planting and growing food in your landscape, visit the National Gardening Association’s article, “Growing Garden Companions” or the article at the North Dakota State University Extension Service.

Golden peas, left, and companion planting with chamomile, broccoli and onions.
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2 Responses to Gleanings from the Garden

  1. Susy says:

    I’ll have to give that companion planting a try next year.

  2. J.Robbins says:

    I must tell you that cocoa mulch is deadly toxic to dogs/pets.As is regular chocolate.My son in law is a Veterinarian and and I am sure if you check this out you will find it to be true.The wonderful chocolate aroma will temp the animals to eat and cause very serious poisoning issues.I agree it looks great and smells great as well, and if you have no pets? fineBut it is important to include this in any future articles.Thank you.J. Robbins

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