Sarah’s Garden Week 5: A little surprise

Finally, some sun!


Garden on May 24

And what goes with sun?  Sunflowers!

2 weeks old

2 week old sunflowers

I started these sunflowers inside because I didn’t want the rain to hurt them.  But it turns out that sunflowers are pretty strong and I probably could have just planted them in the ground (“ground” being my raised bed.)  Oh well.  Just look at their nice roots!


Ignore my dirty fingers, please.

Along with the sunflowers I also started some summer squash inside.  Again, it probably could have been sown directly in the ground but I like to baby my little seedlings.  Like the sunflowers, these little ones seem pretty hardy and the leaves are a nice shade of dark green.


Again, ignore the fingers.

I don’t have too much space left for plants outside (or at least space that is sunny) so here’s where the sunflowers and some squash will go:


That strangely glowing thing to the right is lavender left over from last year.

The rest of the squash is going to the right of that picture, to compete with the mint (just kidding, I’ll help the squash out until it gets big enough to fight for itself.)

Here are some droopy, newly-planted sunflowers with a few squash:


What's that amidst the ivy? Don't worry about it.

And here’s the rest of the squash


Stay back, mint!

It’s a little late to be planting squash (probably should have done it about a month ago) but I think the growing season here is long enough that it shouldn’t matter too much.  Here’s the squash again, this time with my new little rosemary I bought at Urban Jungle on Passyunk Ave.



The rosemary was so cute and looked nice and healthy and I couldn’t resist, even though I have rosemary seeds.  But I would have had to have waited to plant the seeds in the fall and I wanted rosemary now, dammit.  What can I say, I am prone to impatience.

Oh, hey.  While I was prepping the raised bed for the squash and sunflowers (basically grabbing handfuls of dirt and worms and mixing some compost it) I found something interesting:


That's a weird-shaped rock.

Hmm.  Not a rock!



Some little animal skull!  My picture is sadly not too great but those front teeth mean business.  I probably should have mounted it on a stick as a warning to all other animals Lord of the Flies-style but it kinda freaked me out so I threw it out.  I know, I know.  Or I could have just kept it in there and let it fertilize the soil and decompose on its own – do skulls even do that? – but I didn’t really want to come across it again.  I might have screamed when I found it.  Maybe.

That was the excitement for this week!  Still lots of flowers on the tomatoes:



And, well, lots of tomato plants:


A veritable tomato forest!

My grandmother warned me that some of the flowers might fall off the tomatoes without any fruit but I think that’s okay because there are many, many flowers now.

I’m going away this weekend so I’m kind of hoping it rains here a bit.  If not, though, I’ve got a backup waterer.  Thank you!

Sarah DeGiorgis has lived in Philly for five years and is finally starting to feel like a true Philadelphian, though she still detests cheesesteaks.  She enjoys reading, watching bad tv, eating and cooking good food and digging in the dirt. Catch up with her continuing efforts to grow food in South Philly by clicking here.

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5 Responses to Sarah’s Garden Week 5: A little surprise

  1. erin says:

    rat skull?

  2. Dan Pohlig says:

    Hi Sarah. Couple questions. You said it’s a bit late to plant squash but that it should be okay since the season is so long. How long is the season and how long does it take them to come to maturity? I direct seeded zucchini about three weeks ago and the little seedlings seem to be doing well (planted three in each spot and just removed two from each a couple days ago… picking the strongest one to stay). Hopefully I wasn’t too late.

    And you mention planting the rosemary seeds in the fall. We have a little herb box going pretty well. Last week’s rain was GREAT for everything. When should I plan to plant for fall stuff? The chard I planted as seed a couple weeks ago is probably not going to make it (slow grower isn’t robust enough now that the weather is hot and dry). Should I scrap it and wait to re-seed chard and some other herbs in the fall?

    Great stuff, by the way.

    • sarah says:

      Hi Dan! I should clarify – the growing season is longer here than what I’m used to (Massachusetts) by almost a month on either end. Here the last frost is around the middle of April and the first is around the middle of October; where I grew up the last frost isn’t until almost the middle of May and the first frost can be as early as mid September. I think your zucchini should be fine, since summer squashes only need about 45-55 days to mature and we’ll still be frost-free then.

      I have chard, spinach, arugula and some other fall stuff that I’m going to plant around the beginning of September – I did spinach and arugula last year and was still harvesting into November. Plants like that don’t really like it too hot so you can start the seeds a few weeks before things start cooling down so that once the plants start sprouting they won’t be killed by strong summer sun. I also kept mine in the shade for a little bit in September to protect them, since it can still get pretty hot then. I know chard likes it a little cooler but if you can get it in some shade for the hottest part of the summer and keep it watered I think it should be fine. It probably won’t do too much during the summer but once it gets the weather it likes in the fall it should take off. You should let me know how your garden is going since I don’t know all that much about this stuff and am always interested to learn more!

  3. Dan Pohlig says:

    Thanks, Sarah. After things have been growing for a bit I’ll snap some pictures and share them. I also planted sunflowers, though not big ones, and a bunch of other flowers in an attempt to attract some pollinators and predator bugs. My big worry last year was how my tomato flowers would get pollinated so they would produce fruit. I’ve already seen a couple of bees that were probably attracted to the bee balm (a mint, I think) and daisy that I have… but I wish the neighbor with the huge yard behind me would start a hive or something!

    Also, watch out for white flies… little, tiny, nasty buggers that just attacked my leafy greens last year. Already saw them on my marigolds this year (also planted to attract bees and good bugs). I used some insecticidal oil (from diluted with water in a spray bottle that I sprayed on everything. It shouldn’t hurt the good bugs and it all natural. Should be applied every week or so. The worst thing we had last year were black flies… house flies I guess. Swarmed the leaves of my cucumber and tomato plants, apparently to suck out the moisture especially when it got really hot and dry in mid to late summer. So gross. Hopefully the insecticidal oil or soap will keep them away too.

  4. J. V an Alstyne says:

    You’re garden looks great!

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