July 19, 2010

July Garden Tour

July debuted with temps in the mid-90s F (mid-30s C), and another two weeks of no rain on top of the rainless week we had at the end of June. I can't tell you how many times I lamented not getting all my mulching done earlier, but now with picking and putting up, there's little time to do more mulching. Or weeding for that matter. Sigh. I'll have to chalk that up as a hard lesson learned for next year.

That lament aside, are you ready to take a tour of my garden in July?

1st cucumbersStarting at the top of the garden, I'm pleased to say that my cucumbers (National Pickling) did get mulched. This is good because they wilt terrible during mid-afternoon, and so need all the help they can get. Fortunately, they always bounce back in the evening. We're just starting to get cucumbers for eating, and I'm hoping for a goodly harvest for pickles and relish. I'm happy to tell you that these plants are grown from last year's saved seed.

Sweet pepper beginningsMy sweet pepper plants also suffer in the heat. However, they're hanging in there and just beginning to produce peppers. These are an open pollinated variety I hadn't heard of before, Chinese Giant. I hope they live up to their name. The plants are ones I started myself, early indoors.

My Roma tomatoes and companion marigolds. The two rows in the background are recently cut Swiss chard (Fordhook giant). I've canned quite a bit of the Swiss chard, and will let this bolt so I can collect the seed.
Of those tomatoes, I made the mistake of not staking them. Dumb, I know, but I read they are determinate, meaning they only grow so tall. I figured I might be able to get away with not staking, but alas, they are heavy with fruit and tending to lie rather prostate. Another lesson learned for next year.

Both tomatoes and green peppers started out with blossom end rot. Fortunately this is easily resolved with a calcium spray.

These are my black turtle beans, which will all be allowed to dry for food storage. They seem to brave the heat pretty well.

The real surprise is that in spite of the heat, my pathetically drooping broccoli plants (Di Cicco) are still producing!

The Sugar Baby watermelons have been invading the okra (Clemson Spineless, also from saved seed). I did manage to mulch most of the watermelon patch early on, with large sheets of cardboard, now covered with vines and leaves.

My Prolific Yellow Straightneck summer squash is another that tends to wilt during the day. These are from saved seed too. We love them sliced and sautéed with onion and fresh sweet basil. The overgrown ones can be stuffed and baked (recipe at the bottom of this post. Scroll down to get there.) The surplus we can't eat, is being put up in the freezer.

The sweet potato plants (also new for me) seem to be doing well. These are a bush type called Porto Rico. You can see the cardboard mulch on one side, no mulch on the other. The cardboard isn't very aesthetic, but neither are the weeds growing on the unmulched side!

Sunflowers in the left corner, buttercup winter squash behind.

That's fennel growing on the left. Or maybe it's dill, I'm not sure. I planted them both in the same row but they are so similar that I don't know which is which! There's a little garlic planted in with them as well. Fennel is something new for me.

Ebenezer onions (from sets) on the right are nearing harvest time. I have some seed too, to plant this fall to make my own sets.

Amaranth is getting tallThis is amaranth, also a new crop for me. The tallest plants are about 5 feet and growing. I will collect and save the seed heads for the chickens this winter.
Not everything is doing so well however. My potatoes (Red Pontiac), have been attacked by blight....

Potatoes & horseradishAnd some of my sweet corn (Stowell's Evergreen) took a dive after a brief, but high wind rain storm the other day....

This falling over of the stalks is called lodging.

My Japanese hulless popcorn is doing fine though ...

Those are comfrey plants in the foreground. Growing with the popcorn are my Kentucky Wonder pole beans...

KY Wonders in the popcorn... parented by last year's crop.

Of my culinary herb bed in the front yard, I'm harvesting, using, and drying rosemary (bush in back), oregano (spreading out in front), and thyme in the middle. The pink petunias don't count.

What you don't see is the sage, which is coming along, and the lavender, which isn't growing very well. Or maybe it's just growing slowly.

My other herb bed is finally sporting flowers! There are Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susans) at top right; Calendula (Pot Marigold), also yellow, to the right of those and a little shorter; and orange Butterfly Weed at the bottom. The pink zinnias on the left are volunteers. Behind them are growing yarrow plants (no blooms there yet.)

I have done some watering. In fact I had to switch from soaker hoses, which take too long, to a sprinkler, which can cover more ground in the same time.

Now, about that sprinkler. I thought I was doing a good deed by buying the higher priced metal rotary type one rather than the cheap plastic model. Was I ever annoyed then, when the metal was so cheap that it bent within the first week and broke about a week later.

Anyway, harvest is obviously shifting into high gear this month. I only wish my garden helpers were willing to expand their job descriptions....

Katy snoozing in strawberry basket

Riley resting in the strawberry basket

July Garden Tour text & photos copyright July 2010 by Leigh at http://my5acredream.blogspot.com/


Kids and Canning Jars said...

Wonderful pictures!

maggie said...

What a bounty! How many tomato plants did you put in Leigh?

Nina said...

Cats and baskets seem to be one of those things which are a given! The cukes look great! I'd been seeing ours flower, but nothing to harvest yet so I was worried, but I noticed today that we're finally starting to get little fruits.

Anonymous said...

Great produce, too bad about the taters and corn. I didn't know that about a calcium spray for blossom end rot on tomaotes - what do you use as a calcium source?

Mr. H. said...

I really enjoyed the garden tour and must say that I am very jealous of your sweet potatoes. I hope they produce well for you this year.

Flower said...

What a great job you have done with your garden. Using seeds from last years harvest is really encouraging! Your garden is weeks ahead of ours. The high sun and heat do cause concern...I often think of getting little umbrella's out for some of the vegetables! :) Thanks for the update!

Leigh said...

Thanks, Melissa!

Maggie, I have about 30 Roma plants just for sauce and canning. I also have 6 Rutgers, just for fresh eating. I forgot to get a photo of those.

Nina, my cukes don't seem to be doing all that well either. Some flowers and fruit, but not a lot. I hope there's an invisible "yet" at the end of that sentence. I really need a lot of them this year!

Evelyn, I use Enz-Rot from Gardens Alive!, but I think you can find a similar product at any garden center or nursery. It works great.

Mr. H I hope they do too. I'm pleased that they've withstood our dry spell well, and am hoping for a good crop.

Flower, I like your umbrella idea! Next year I'm going to try some mixed beds in an effort to provide shade for some of those plants.

Yes, I'm very pleased about growing 2nd generation veggies in my garden. I only hope I have a lot more to add this year.

Woolly Bits said...

I like your "strawberries" best:))

Sara said...

Love your garden - mine isn't doing too good...

I picked two huge tomatoes the other day - still green - but, I want some fried green tomatoes.

And, I got two radishes - the beets never germinated and I have no BEET plants!!!

Your garden looks really good...


I love all the pics of your wonderful garden I must show it to the hubby, he would just love to have a basket full as in your harvesting pic. The heat here is killing everything this year.

icebear said...

its looking really good there, especially the squashes. My corn knocks over (lodges, as you said :o) ) every year, i planted them really close together in a 4' row this year to see if they will stand together better. If it won't work i have some Hopi Blue dent corn that is supposed to grow shorter and stockier and i may give up on the sweet corn altogether.

My cukes have only just begun to produce, we got two of them just this morning, my oldest daughter called dibbs on them last winter so they were her. She said they were not bitter despite the dryness, which is good cause they are supposed to withstand the bitterness that normally comes from being too dry.
I now know i need to plant many cucumber seeds next year because we eat them so fast.

I haven't gotten myself to the point of saving my own seeds yet, not sure i have the garden space for a proper gene pool.... i'm also still too addicted to seed catalogs' heirloom selections to settle on just one or two varieties for each new season.

I love the kitties!

Leigh said...

Bettina, I do have cute "strawberries", don't I? hee hee

Sara, the very first time I tried to grow beets they were a no show too. I later read that the seeds have to be really packed into the soil. I did better with them when I did that. Is it too late to give them another try for a fall harvest?

Bety, yes that heat! It hasn't been kind to my garden either and it's been interesting to see which veggies handle it better than others. I plan to try to do things a bit different next year, to see if I can offer the day wilters some help.

Icebear, somewhere I read what to do about the lodging, in Gene Logsdon I believe. I need to know what to do about it! Will report what I learn.

I know what you mean about those seed catalogues! What gardener doesn't love them. I'm motivated to do the seed saving for cost and because of our self-sustainability goal. Even so, I've been experimenting with different varieties and considering how to plant several varieties and avoid cross pollination. It's a fascinating subject actually, and one I'm very much a beginner at.

Janet said...

Super garden tour. You must feel so proud. Looks as if all I have are weeds here in my tiny garden - oh, but I do have birds - and a neighbour's big black cat - and an apple tree next door.

Sheryl at Providence North said...

Loved the garden tour! Your garden is doing well!

Good for you for saving yoru own seed! I do that whenever I can too. Most of my veggies are grown from saved or traded heirloom seed.

Your little garden helper looks a lot like mine! Such a sweet little thing! I've an older kitten, gray tabby, as well.

Leigh said...

Janet, I'm thankful that it's done so well in spite of my neglecting it as much as I have! I doubt your little garden will stay so bear for very long. :)

Sheryl, thank you for returning the visit! I have high hopes that I'll be able to save quite a bit this year, and hopefully buy less next year. I like the idea of trading heirloom seeds. I should see if I can find someone to do this with locally.

Sharon said...

I sure do like your garden helpers. No wonder you called this a busy season, and all the more so for you. I want to get a Nesco dehydrator. Target didn't have them the last time I looked, and if they don't have one this time, I'll order it online.

Dorothy said...

What a beautiful garden! Congratulations Leigh, it's amazing what you've achieved in just over a year. Have you tried tomato pickle? I just finished a tasty jar that a friend made. I love cheese and pickle sandwiches.

Leigh said...

Sharon, it's such a switch from last summer, when we had that small garden. Back then I was clearing the border of the back field for goat fencing. There's no way I'd have time this summer for that or anything else. Still, there's nothing I'd rather be doing. :)

Dorothy, thank you! I haven't tried tomato pickle, though I did make a tasty tomato relish a number of years ago. Trouble is, I'm the only one who likes it so it's taking forever to eat up. I've pretty much given up on experimenting with things like pickles and jams. Dan is specific about what he likes, and I've finally figured out to stick with those. (I love pickle with cheese sandwich too, especially if the sandwich is grilled. Yum!)

Robin said...

Your garden is looking really good! It is always so much fun to see what grows well and getting the fruits of your labor back out of it. We also have potato blight that is wiping out some of our potatoes.

Razzberry Corner said...

Leigh, your garden is absolutely gorgeous! And your helpers are cuties!