The 2012 Swampgarden - Swampy's Kitchen Blog at - 275512

Swampy's Kitchen

The 2012 SwampGarden 
May 18, 2012 9:02 am 
Updated: May 31, 2012 8:37 am
This past weekend the sun was shining, the earth was warm and there was nothing in the extended forecast to indicate that a late spring freeze might be on its way, so we decided that it was time to purchase & plant this year’s version of The SwampGarden.
For those of you who don’t remember or don’t know, I like to think of myself as a “Gentleman Farmer” on the weekends. I have a garden that is 50 feet X 30 feet and has 12 planting beds of varying sizes in it. It also has a 7 foot fence that has been effective so far (knock on wood) at keeping the deer out. The fence wasn’t as effective that first year in keeping out rabbits & groundhogs so I had to wrap the fence in 160 feet of small mesh chicken wire and line the base with large river rocks. The result has been a pain to weed whack but I also have had virtually no critter problems since.
As in years past, I will be handling this on a Me vs Mother Nature basis so I won’t be using any pesticides. That means that once again, I am planting VOLUME. I know it’s a little ridiculous but I do finally believe in survival of the fittest and I will start weeding out non-starters much earlier this year. I have also take a little more of a community garden approach and spread different plants out around the garden instead of just having one kind in each bed. So what did I plant this year ? Here’s the list – I am sure I forgot something.
12 – Sweet 100 Cherry
3 – Yellow Cherry
1 - Black Pearl Cherry
6 - Grape
4 – Beefsteak
6 – Lemon Boy
6 – Roma
3 – Supersonic
3 – Celebrity
3 – Better Girl
1 – Cherokee Purple
1 – Pineapple
1 – Fourth of July
15 – Jalapeno
9 – Habanero
6 – Caribbean Red Hot
3 – Ancho
3 – Thai Chili
3 – Cherry Bomb
3 – Hot Portugal
2 – Tabasco
3 – Red Bell
3 – Yellow Bell
2 – Purple Bell
6 – Banana
3 – Pimento
6 – Italian Sweet
12 – Green Slicing Zucchini
6 – Yellow Summer
3 – Buttercup
3 – Acorn
3 – Spaghetti
4 – Bush Cucumbers
4 – Slicing Cucumbers
LETTUCE (not sure of numbers)
Red Sail
Salad Mix
PUMPKINS (planted in a different part of the yard)
2 - Jack Be Littles
2 - Harvest Moon
1 - Howden
Red Beets
Golden Beets
Striped Beets
Rainbow Carrots
Bush Beans
Henderson Beans (Flat)
Roma Beans
Yellow Beans
Snap Peas
Berries (Bushes already in place and have been for a few years)
Red Raspberries
Black Raspberries
Golden Raspberries
Like I said, I think that is it. I may have missed one or two items. I am sure that some will fail and some will explode. I’m also sure that I will be very busy weeding, pruning & hopefully picking. Busy enough to keep my mind off my teeth (or lack thereof as the story goes) I hope.
Come back next time when I list everything that has already died or failed though just 4 days in, we are still looking a lot like Mr. GreenJeans.
Tomatoes of all kinds
Photo Detail
Some of my wife's lettuce
Photo Detail
Green Zucchini & Yellow Squash
Photo Detail
Acorn, Spaghetti & Buttercup Squash with a couple of cukes
Photo Detail
Jalapenos to the right & sweet peppers to the left
Photo Detail
Sweet Italian Peppers and gold & striped beet seeds in the dirt
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The HOT pepper patch - can you feel the heat ?
Photo Detail
The Berry Patch - red, black & gold raspberries and blueberries
Photo Detail
May 18, 2012 9:56 am
I envy you your garden. :)
May 18, 2012 10:39 am
Hi Amanda - the garden always looks great at this point - check back in a month...
May 18, 2012 11:01 am
Oh my the Hot Peppers got me right in the eye! Might try them me self Eh!
May 18, 2012 11:06 am
Dog Fish - I can never grow enough hot peppers. If I can find some space to squeeze in a few more, I will.
May 18, 2012 11:08 am
Way to go Doug the Gentleman Farmer! I've got mine in the ground as of last weekend and I pared things down considerably. GONE are the flight risks, no tiny tomatoes, no lettuce, no cabbage or watermelon..... Instead, I've simplified, 12 full fruit tomatoe plants, 1 each of spinach, broccoli, and squash. The rest is the holdovers from last year which includes the strawberries, blueberries and oddly, the Sage. One delightful thing from last year, I started leeks from seed and they never did much, diminutive wee sprouts. This year those wee sprouts not only survived the winter but are positively bursting with growth. I WILL have leeks this year! All the rest is onions, carrots and beets. Good on ya for keeping up a fine farming tradition!! PS, I am so jealous of all the peppers you've planted. I confess to planting one lone plant in the never say die spirit.
May 18, 2012 11:15 am
Hey Randy - I wish I had thought of leeks. My spinach last year was hopeless. My berries are going crazy. I have actually been able to transplant a lot of the new growth this year into other spots in the yard so we can have wild berry bushes at this house like we used to at our old house. I know I go overboard but I can't help myself. (and in a side note, how are you liking the CUP playoffs this year ?)
May 18, 2012 12:03 pm
That is a lot of work for "gentleman farming," I do hope your tomato plants do better than mine have the last 2 years. I'm giving them a miss this year because my terrace isn't that big and I have to make sure what I plant yields something. Happy weeding!
May 18, 2012 12:15 pm
Hi BigShotsMom - 2 years ago I got killed by a late frost and last year it was too much rain and everything turned into a spindly spiderweb of a mess. I just want my heirlooms to finally bloom & grow. Good luck & thanks.
May 18, 2012 12:36 pm
Holy Crepe, Doug. You have enough plants to feed the whole swamp! I also got itchy feet and planted potatoes, peas, onions, radish, lettuce, spinach, beets and swiss chard this week. The toms, peppers, cucs, zucs, corn, pumpkin and beans need to wait another week. We have not had any hummingbirds arrive on the yard yet, so I am a little skeered about what the weather can bring. Many years we have gone camping on this, the May 2 4 long weekend in Cannuckville, and have woken up to 6 inches of snow on the ground. I melts the same day, but one never knows. So the old timers say never to plant before the long weekend, then see how the weather fares to plant the warmer crops. I will put in the cabbage, brussel sprouts and brocolli plants this weekend, they like cooler weather. Enjoy your garden!
May 18, 2012 3:15 pm
Hey GF Doug...any herbs?? My hubby attempts a small garden but we find that we get bored with our picks....100's of cukes gets old after what are you going to with all of the veggies?
May 18, 2012 3:29 pm
Ah, to have a green thumb! I love salad gardens-lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, carrots, etc. Let's pray to the Garden Gods for a good crop of vegetables!
May 18, 2012 4:50 pm
I am into square foot gardening. It is much easier to weed, water, and harvest. I am thinking about making it 3 or 4 feet off the ground so I don't need to bend over as much. My Old bones.
May 19, 2012 7:46 am
Holy cow, what a garden! Good luck!
May 19, 2012 8:24 am
The playoffs? What are those? See, I cheer for the Vancouver Canucks and when they finish their season, so too do I, as a hockey fan. hehe seriously though, if I stop licking my wounded pride for a minute, I'm thinking LA is unstoppable, they just got ther mojo on.
May 19, 2012 8:27 am
Oh yeah, forgot to ask you. I notice you have a lone pineapple tomato plant in there. I have one too and I've never had one before. have you? What are they like?
May 19, 2012 9:10 am
Nice selection of plants, Doug! My favorite tomato is Ramapo. They grew so nice here in South Jersey.
May 21, 2012 5:08 am
Hi RNG - after losing two crops to late freezez in the past, I am definitely on the cautious side of things when it comes to planting. That being said, I can never plant too much in my mind. Good luck with your garden.
May 21, 2012 5:11 am
Hi p and q - my wife has the herbs up on our deck - parsley, basil, lemon basil, thai basil, sage, rosemary, oregano & thyme...I think. As for the harvest, we will cook, give to neighbors & friends and to the local food bank though last year's crop yielded no visits as the tomatoes were a failure and they didn't want my abundance of kung pao peppers. Have a great day.
May 21, 2012 5:15 am
Hi & Thanks Lela - I know I will be making quite a few sacrifices to the Garden Gods as the summer goes by. I just hope they don't ignore me & my lamentations. Have a great day.
May 21, 2012 5:25 am
Good morning King Sparta - I am sure that one of these days, I will switch to square foot too. Your garden looks great and you don't need to drag 150 feet of hose to it to water it either. Best of luck with yours.
May 21, 2012 5:26 am
Thanks Magnolia Blossom - it always looks good at this point - check back in a few weeks. Have a great day
May 21, 2012 5:28 am
Hey Randy - I had a pineapple tomato last year that never produced a single edible tomato so I thought I would give it one more try. I really just bought it for the name alone. Kings looked beatable yesterday and tonight I will be nervous about the Rangers-devils Game 4. Have a great one.
May 21, 2012 5:29 am
Hi Shorecook & thanks. I have never grown a Ramapo and I meant to buy a Rutgers this year but none of them looked very good. I still have one or two spots that are open so I will have to keep my eyes open. Have a great day.
May 21, 2012 6:57 am
What a great garden, lots of envy wishing I had more space!. I planted a bit more this year and am currently fighting rabbits (so far, so good). The last few years have not been great here so I am hoping we all get nice crops and herbs. My sage wintered over too and is already starting to flower. Best of luck.
May 21, 2012 7:13 am
Good morning Lucky Noodles - I love watching the rabbits circle & circle my fence trying to get in. Good luck with your garden & with the wascally wabbits.
May 21, 2012 10:40 am
Everything looks great so far. As long as Mother Nature cooperates, I'm sure you'll have a bountiful harvest! :)
May 21, 2012 11:39 am
Mother Nature doesn't like me Amanda. It's going to be a long summer.
May 21, 2012 11:36 pm
That's exactly why I bought mine too, the name sounded intriguing, as in, what way is this fruit like a pineapple, I need to know that lol.
May 22, 2012 10:02 am
Tip: if you have grass clippings, heap them up as mulch a couple inches thick and you wont need to weed anything but beets, radish, carrot, and the like. Thanks for the blog!
May 22, 2012 11:08 am
Hi Biscuits - as you can see from the pictures, I have lots of grass around the beds. Kids make me cut without mowers too because of the birdhouses. Thanks for the tip and for stopping by.
May 25, 2012 1:22 pm
Wow, that's some garden! Our soil is tainted from big black walnut trees which cause most of the plants to really not do well at all, so I do containers and raised beds. This year so far I have: Tomatoes (6 Better Boy, and 4 cherry) Peppers (22 super duper hot, 2 jalapenoes, 2 serranoes, 2 sweet banana, 2 alma paprika, and 2 sweet datil) Roma bush beans Sugar snap peas
okra (from seed) Kale (2 kinds) Swiss chard Napa cabbage Cauliflower Cucumbers Herbs (3 kinds of basil, dill, 2 kinds of thyme, 2 kinds of mint, lemon verbena, oregano, parsley) Rutabagas Various lettuces and arugula And if I have room, I'm buying more Better Boy tomatoes for salsa and canning!
May 31, 2012 8:37 am
We have black walnuts in the woods near the garden....hmmmmmm....and your garden sounds great. I can't wait to see the pictures.
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Doug Matthews

Home Town
Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Living In
Mendham, New Jersey, USA

Member Since
Mar. 2000

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Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Southern, Healthy, Kids, Quick & Easy

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About Me
My mother decided early on that her sons would never have to rely on someone to feed them so we all learned to cook at an early age. I really started to branch out when I moved out west to Denver, SF & Dallas. Combine that with extended business travel to Louisiana & my growing love of spices and you get a real mix of flavors.
My favorite things to cook
Love to make cajun food with my favorites being crawfish pie, alligator stew & alligator chili - I go nuts on Super Bowl Sunday
My favorite family cooking traditions
We didn't have a lot of traditions per se but you could count on pancakes or waffles on sundays - dad making scrambled eggs twice a year on christmas morning & mother's day - veal parmagiana on christmas eve, Thanksgiving with Grandma Matthews and any menu of your choice on your birthday. We weren't a spicy family so I learned a lot of good strong basics in the kitchen from Mom that I have carried over into my cooking today.
My cooking triumphs
I love to experiment with variations of dishes I try around the country. My biggest success is here on allrecipes where I had 2 recipes published in the same cookbook - Southwestern Turkey Soup & Curried Carrot Soup. I think my corn muffins are a great starting point and my alligator chili has become a much requested Super Bowl favorite.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few times in the past where I tossed everything and took everyone to a restaurant instead. I'm not too proud to say my cooking is awful when it really is.
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