A raised garden bed with carrots

Back in April, we revisited the Victory Gardens of the past in Plant a Victory Garden to Nurture Body & Soul, and recommended starting one your own during lockdown. Wow, did we garden! There was immense interest in vegetable gardening as seen in the more than 17,000 people who signed up for the Oregon State University Master Gardener's online Introduction to Vegetable Gardening course.

How did your Victory Garden grow?

Are your tomato plants bending under the weight of the fruit, or are they just getting started? Did you try planting veggies in containers or directly in the ground? Let us know by posting your vegetable garden victories on Instagram @alsgardenandhome or Facebook.

Let’s take a look at two of our own “Victory” Gardens with varying degrees of success.

Featured Victory Garden.

Al’s own Director of Marketing Laura Hammond, went all out this spring, and with her husband built a victory garden on a 20 x 20 foot plot at Luscher Farms. Let’s check in and see how they did it.

In previous years Laura was farming directly in the ground, but this year they pulled out the big guns and built a series of raised beds with an impressive irrigation system.

They built two 4 x 8 foot raised beds along with a smaller triangle and rectangle bed. Raised beds are a great idea if you want more control over the quality of your soil. Raised beds also warm earlier in the year and drain faster, and if constructed properly, provide pest control. Fighting a mole problem, they were advised by the veteran gardeners at Luscher to create a barrier. They decided to line the bottom of each bed with a single panel of aluminum screen, and affixed it to the frame with fur strips that were screwed and glued over the screen, creating an impenetrable barrier against those pesky moles.

The irrigation system consists of PVC pipes bolted to the inside panel, leading up through the screen (sealed securely because those pests are persistent), and into a series of brown drip lines perforated every 6 inches.

Built on Memorial Day, planted on Mother’s Day, this modest plot was able to handle all these crops:

  • Blue Lake Green Beans
  • Butter lettuce, mixed lettuce
  • Artichoke
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Dahlia
  • Peppers
  • Nasturtium
  • Tomatoes (Early Girl, Sun Sugar, and Beefsteak)
  • Blueberries
  • Basil
  • Lavender
  • Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
  • Lemon Sage
  • Mint
  • Strawberries

What’s Next.

Since the growing season has some time left yet, Laura is planning on adding more blueberries and some eggplant. She is going to remove half her mint, add fresh dirt, and go again on something new!

Next, Laura’s husband will build a seat at the corner of each bed to make it easier to sit and weed, harvest and preen.

What about you?

There’s still time for you to start planting, or to keep planting. Gardening season isn’t over after your initial harvest, and we aren’t yet near the end of the growing season, so get back out there and plan your next phase.

OSU Extension recommends planting these crops for fall harvest:

  • beets
  • bush beans
  • carrots
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli
  • lettuce
  • kale
  • peas

Featured: A Less Victorious Garden

For another perspective, let’s take a look at this author’s garden. For the record, we did enjoy plenty of garden successes. In fact, more crops thrived than didn’t. But I’m sure I’m not the only one who is vexed by that one plant that just didn’t make it.

I don't mind the delicate elegance of doilies, just not on my Kale!

Kale doilies. When you listen to veteran gardeners talk about slugs, you worry a little about their souls. How can a gardener, a lover of things natural and beautiful harbor such hatred in their heart. And then it happens to you: Kale doilies.

Now I understand the utter contempt. I refuse to be beaten and I will do whatever it takes to regain control of my garden. Good thing Oregon State University Extension Master Gardeners have found that products that contain iron phosphate, like Sluggo, are less toxic and prove effective.

What’s Next: Move on!

If you haven’t watched successful gardeners very closely, you might be shocked at how little patience they have for a crop or plant that isn’t working in their garden. They will ruthlessly pull it out and plant something new in its place. These people are not fooling around. So that’s what I’m going to do next. I may go out there right now and mercilessly pull what’s left of that kale right out of the ground and replace it with something that’s currently blooming.

Echinacea would be the perfect colorful addition to that spot. They have a long blooming season, are sturdy, glorious and the pollinators love it!