For example, this one of my front yard herb and flower gardens. Everything's bigger, the calendula is blooming, and I've mulched. I'm happy to report that I have butterfly weed, rudbeckia, echinacea, and yarrow all coming up.
Here's the vegetable garden taken from the top corner. You can see cucumber hills at the bottom left corner, my double row of Swiss chard (short because it was recently cut) going across the photo, and behind that, bush beans. I planted most of my cool weather crops up here first, knowing they would get the advantage of same shade in the afternoon.
My salad bed for example. The lettuce and radishes are done except for making seed, but amazingly, I'm still getting broccoli. The Queen Anne's Lace are volunteers for the good guy insects.
From the bottom corner. My sweet corn made only about a 50 - 60% showing, which is disappointing. I've looked around at other gardens though, and seen the same thing. Pumpkins are planted in there too, and just beginning to sprout. Sunflowers and summer squash run along the left edge of the garden, bush beans and tomatoes behind them, and black turtle beans and potatoes in right background,
The big bare spot behind the sweet corn is where I planted amaranth.
At least I hope these are amaranth! It has only sprouted sporadically as you can see. This plant is something new for me, but I want to collect the seeds as grain for the chickens.
Sunflowers in foreground, corn in back on right, cantaloupe in back on left. Hidden by the sunflowers are yellow summer squash.
Cantaloupes are coming along nicely! I planted three hills of these, but the only ones growing are the ones I started early indoors. The direct sows have been a no show. Or else were eaten.
I have plenty of watermelons, both from seeds planted indoors and those I later sowed directly into the ground. We greedily picked a few last week, which were not quite ripe enough.
I have tons of Romas which will mean lots of sauce.
The potted horseradish is going gangbusters. The ones I planted in the ground are wimps. The potatoes are mulched and doing well, though I had to throw away some plants with signs of blight, which seems to be spreading. This is frustrating because there doesn't seem to be a cure for blight, only preventative measures. Obviously I'm too late for that.
I have two types of green beans. These are State 1/2 runners. Very tasty. I've canned 24 quarts (lost one though) and will let the rest go to seed. We'll save some of that for planting, but they are also used as a dried bean for soups.
Buttercup winter squash in foreground. Black turtle beans behind. The buttercups are a deviation from my usual butternuts and acorns. The taste test will determine what I plant next year. They do wilt pretty badly in our midday heat. I need to offer protection to my squash plants next year.
One thing you can see from the above photos is how little of the garden is actually mulched. I was not diligent in this (for a couple of reasons), and regret it now. Consequently I'm foregoing aesthetics for utility...
... i.e. getting cardboard down as available, but not covering it except around the plants.
Fortunately weeds aren't taking over in this garden. This is thanks to my grape hoe, but also I think, because we tilled it so many times: several times in different directions just to break the ground (which resulted in the death of our first tiller), twice before planting the annual rye cover crop, twice to till in the rye, and before each section was planted. Each time we raked out roots, grasses, and weeds, disrupting the weed cycle.
The most difficult gardens I've had have always been where yard and grass previously existed. It is difficult if not nearly impossible to get rid of established grass. That's the problem I'm having with my strawberries and comfrey. Thanks to all the rain this year, the wire grass especially is insidious. And discouraging. So much so, that for my perennial garden (formerly last year's summer garden), I've succumbed to buying landscape cloth.
Just between you and me, I feel that having to resort to this stuff is a defeat. True, it will keep down weeds and keep in soil moisture, but mulch is supposed to decompose and build the soil. Landscape cloth doesn't do this and therefore isn't sustainable. Even so I've been surprised to find some organic gardeners endorsing the use of this and black plastic. That's bothersome, because it all points toward a current trend which is trying to redefine organic farming, gardening, and foods. For example, there's a movement (sample of how they're trying to sell the idea to the public here) to include GMO seed in organic food production. GMO seed is also not sustainable.
Anyway, I have mulched the strawberries and comfrey with newspaper, leaves, and wood chips, but to no avail. I weed out the grass and it comes back with a vengeance. I can either give up and lose the plants I want, make it a full time job to weed it, or do this. Sigh. Hopefully I can get the grass smothered out by the time the landscape cloth needs replacing.
Also in that garden is my almond tree with (drumroll).....
.... one almond!
Popcorn and Kentucky Wonder pole beans (my 2nd type of green bean) are there too...
Along with some volunteer turnips from last year's fall garden (layout here) ...
Lastly, the fruit trees we planted last fall.
These are next to the vegetable garden (see master plan) We planted buckwheat in that section to begin building the soil and hopefully smother out some of those weeds. As you can see, the buckwheat is very sporadic and very few weeds are smothered out yet. The plan is to till this in as green manure and plant an orchard grass/clover mix this fall.
Whew. That was a long tour. Virtual lemonade and double chocolate brownies for everyone who made it to the end!
June Garden Tour text & photos copyright June 2010