The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

What’s Growing: Red & Green


It’s been some time since I’ve posted what’s growing in the Potager!



This year I am experimenting with tasty food and color as I have been so inspired by Robbie at Palm Rae Urban Potager. I am growing a red and green kale, purple and green basil, red and orange Swiss chard, etc. and I am liking the results. It makes the Potager more ornamental. I have noticed that red and purple varieties don’t seem to grow as fast as green – interesting. I have a black and white eggplant planned too, but the plants are slow growing. They are tucked in the green house until they get a little larger along with cucamelons. The cucamelons finally took off a bit and I planted them earlier today. I hope to be tasting these little watermelon like fruits soon. Last year I planted them way too late.


Salad bed: Broccolini, Bulls Blood beets, Toscano and red kale, lettuce

Also tucked into the salad bed is something new, Watercress. I love its peppery taste. It's going to flower and I'm going to let it set seed.

Also tucked into the salad bed is something new, Watercress. I love its peppery taste. It’s going to flower and I’m going to let it set seed.


Green and purple basils


Colorful chard and a small hibiscus, Zinger, for tea, not yet in flower.


Two kinds of Hibiscus are in the center of the basil/chard bed. Zinger and this Sweet Hibiscus, Manihot whose leaves are edible. I confess I have yet to try because she’s so beautiful!



Strawberries have gone wild and are now growing up the paths. I have been eating them for breakfast for days now. They taste so sweet. I share them with the Robins and a sly Catbird who is my garden companion lately. Although I love strawberry rhubarb crumble, I have to find a recipe for rhubarb chutney or something because I just don’t make desserts. I don’t care either way because I love the large leaves of rhubarb and think it’s a beautiful, architectural plant in the garden. I cut the flower off this year because I heard it makes the stalks taste bitter but since I didn’t even harvest any … next year I may let it flower again because the flower truly is stunning.


The Asparagus Forest. Next year I can harvest. It’s been a long wait.


I planned to train these squashes up this wire panel but WOW look at those leaves. Not sure that’s going to happen. We’ll see if it becomes more vine-like as it grows. I planted Zephyr, a little round French zucchini Round de Nice, and a tiny butternut. The nasturtium I planted alongside for a good campanion has leaves almost as large as the squash!



I just planted my tomato seedlings so they look tiny and a bit sad but seem very sturdy so I have high hopes. The cherry tomatoes – Sun Gold, Black and Coyote (a white variety) – I will prune up this other wire panel. Volunteer Grandpa Otts morning glories are in the mix, too. Color, color, color. That is Chamomile and Calendula both of which propagate freely throughout the Potager, and an ornamental clover, Trifolium Rubens, you see on the other side of the panel.


Oh, but there is trouble in paradise! I have an ant problem in the squash bed. I am trying to grow sunflowers there as well. The ants have eaten the stems! I resorted to Borax. I am telling you ants are taking over the world. Every rock I overturn, every sandy soil I dig in – ants, ants, ants!


Ant eaten stems of Sunflowers. I am trying to reroot them in water because I have in the past successfully.

I also was introduced to leek moth on the best garlic I have ever grown!


Leek moth damage


Leek moth larva


Leek moth damage and frass

I sat diligently and pruned off any infected leaves and plucked cocoons for close to two hours. It was an emergency surgery but so far all is looking good.


Surgical tool


Surgically removed larvae


Leek moth cocoon

But now I have some squatters in my greenhouse! Not necessarily bad, but it may become problematic if they decide to get territorial.


I like to share the Potager but c’mon! I like to sit in the backyard with my feet in the grass and watch and listen to this part of the garden grow. What are you growing?


Author: Kathy Sturr

Cultivating art, growing soul, and creating plant-based food in the beautiful 1000 Islands, New York and Cedar Key, Old Florida.

8 thoughts on “What’s Growing: Red & Green

  1. I agree that Robbie’s garden is pretty inspirational. Your garden is looking great as well. Amazing how you patiently cleaned your leeks. Hope you got them all. I’d be nervous about the hornets, too. Once they lay eggs in there, they won’t be neighborly at all!

    • Eliza the hornets, which I believe are yellow jackets, really leave me alone but it was hot the other day and I think they were agitated. I have a poison free spray but it kills on contact. I don’t want to kill, just discourage. I know they hate mint so I may be wearing a mint wreath to work in the greenhouse ha ha! Actually they are beneficial for the garden as much as everyone hates them.

      • I know they are beneficial, but maybe they could nest elsewhere? 🙂 When they build nests in doorways and around our deck, we knock their nests down at night when they are quiet and won’t come after us. There are plenty of other places for them to go, so I don’t feel too bad about asking them to go elsewhere when they pose a risk to us or the pets.

      • I know! I have plenty of other places. I’ll try knocking the nest down first. Thanks!

  2. I love the idea of colorful veggies…I am growing golden beets this year and love them…and oh your veggies are huge. Sorry to hear about the ants…they have taken over areas here too but I have not had that damage you are having…and that moth on the garlic is also something I will need to check for in the future…

    • Yes Donna be on the lookout for Leek moth. It attacks all alliums and there isn’t much we can do about it. I hope I picked off all of them – if the larvae make their way to the bulb no garlic for me!

  3. So far behind on reading blogs:-( playing catch-up. Oh my so pretty! Ants, did you know they get in the house ,too-LOL. We had them for the past week until we had to put something outside around the edge the foundation. It was horrible. They are everywhere! It is not just us for my husband went to the store and found others with the problem + they gave us some ideas of how to deal with the indoor ant problem. I have them in the garden in different places. They are very small ones that are hard to see not like the larger ones. I feel all these problems are due to the constant rain. The mosquitoes are bad out there but I just put on some stuff and hack my way through the jungle. I am not complaining for we are not in a drought:-)

    I have not eaten the manihot flower yet, but I have eaten the leaves. They are quite tasty and I read they are a good source of protein:-) I agree, how can you eat that pretty flower! Your squash looks amazing. I saved seed from mine last year and wanted to trial it against another organic squash seed I purchased. Mine is doing great but I ponder, could it be it is use to my climate:-)_??? What do you think? There must be something to this seed saving to your climate:-)

    I am having issues with slugs, too:-)never usually have that problem…oh well, it is growing and we are eating, so I am not going to complain that much. Your garden is beautiful. I blew up your pictures so I could see all the cool things you were growing-pretty, pretty, pretty!!!

    • Robbie I cannot BELIEVE my squash this year – there I just jinxed it. Just like my garlic – I bragged it was the best garlic I’ve ever grown and then the Leek moth showed up – must have heard me! I tried a Manihot leaf – I love edible gorgeous plants. I will try some flowers next year after I save the seed and grow more of a crop, I think. I don’t have slugs but I have plenty of snails – I remember when I was excited to find a snail in my garden ha ha. I think the grackles eat them all. As much as people dislike grackles – and I used to be one of them – I now find them entertaining and know they do a lot for my garden. It just rained here 24 hours or more straight! I’m sure you saw the many, many wild weeds I am growing too in your blow ups? Ha ha.

Thank you for joining me in the making of my garden!

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