June 29, 2020

June Garden Photos

It's hard to believe 2020 is half gone! Time for a garden update. My garden recovered from its slow start this spring. As soon as the temps starting going up, almost everything took off and made up for lost time. So I have lots of photos to show you. Ordinarily, I would divide them into two blog posts, but June is about done, and I need a record of the garden for the month. So here it is.

The first part of June was spent finishing the winter garden harvest and cleaning things up. Then it was on to finishing the summer planting.

Harvest included the last of the multiplier onions, a sample of our volunteer potatoes, and snow peas (which are now done).

Multiplier onions and new potatoes.

I showed you our winter wheat harvest in this post, and told you about our heritage wheat harvest in this post. Here's a photo showing you the difference between the two varieties' seed heads.

Heritage Hourani wheat on the left and commercial seed wheat on the right.

We're still processing the winter wheat, so I haven't gotten to the Hourani yet. It didn't do well, so I don't have a lot of it. But I'll save it, plant it, and hope for a better outcome and more seed next year.

Of my perennials, the blackberries are done and my eight surviving strawberry plants are putting forth a flush of berries.

I tried to propagate these last year, but most of them didn't survive the dry & heat.

A pickings-worth.

We're starting to harvest some of our summer produce too.

Bush beans are producing well. I usually plant Tendergreen,
but this year I tried a new one - Provider. I got a gallon of
beans at my first picking! And that was for a 24-foot row.

Dar cucumbers, also a new variety for me. This is the recommended picking size.
They are dual purpose (table and pickling) and don't seem bothered by pests. (Yet).

Tatume summer squash, a Mexican variety that has stood up to our heat and wilt.
The small ones we eat in salads and as veggie sticks, the medium size I slice
and saute with onions & basil. The large ones are for stuffed summer squash

Seed Saving. Cool weather plants going to seed for this fall's planting: snow peas, fava beans, radishes, and lettuce.

Lettuce flowering for seed.

Purple plum radishes going to seed in the Orangeglo watermelon bed.

Clean-up has been getting cool veggie beds ready for summer planting, although there is some crossover with cool and warm weather vegetables sharing the same bed. In the photo below, I had a bunch of volunteer turnips and radishes sprout between two bordered beds.

The bed on the left is planted with peanuts and okra. On the right are snow
peas, dill, and cucumbers. Between them is volunteer turnips and radishes.

Initially, I was going to remove them because they're probably from cross-pollinated seed. But I decided to let them stay as living mulch between the two beds because the flowers are very attractive to bees and pollinators. The stalks tend to lean and shade the beds, however, so I trim them back and feed the trimmings to the goats. Win-win-win.

Radish and turnips trimmed back. Okra and peanut bed with a layer of compost.

I'll probably collect all the seed from them and use it for winter pasture. Root crops are great at loosening the soil.

After I picked those strawberries I showed you above, I weeded and mulched the bed. My problem in this part of the garden is sheep sorrel. It's an edible plant, but it tends to make a nuisance of itself.

Strawberries and garlic, weeded and mulched.

Growing: More things planted in April and May.

More tomatoes in front, the Tatume squash in back.

One thing that continues to grow slowly is the okra. This is a new variety for
me - Jing. I didn't mean to plant it with peanuts (yellow flowers) but I somehow
miscounted my beds from my garden chart and planted them on different days.

Pretty little peanut flowers. I planted peanuts last year, and they did
great until all the tender little peanut pods disappeared. Eaten?

Stowell's evergreen sweet corn. A small patch for summer corn on the cob.


Speaking of corn, I learned something interesting in the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange catalog. I learned that the original Three Sisters pole bean is a shade tolerant variety.

Cornfield pole beans for my corn patches.

I thought the seeds were pretty so I snapped a shot.

Can you see the bean seeds in a row on the left? I planted them in a shallow
trench between corn rows, popping in the seeds then covering with compost.

Two weeks later, they're happily growing between rows of corn.

Genuine Cornfield Pole Beans growing in the shade.
Lamb's quarters in there too, which I harvest as a green.

They aren't stretching out for some sun. I'm amazed! I actually prefer pole beans to bush beans because the leaning over and squatting to pick them gets tiring. With pole beans I can stand up and pick.

And here's my third sister.

Long Island Cheese Squash, another of my slow growers, I planted it when I
planted the corn. Not having a decent rain for the past month hasn't helped.

From the same catalog, I also learned about an easy to shell corn variety called "gourdseed."

Texas Gourdseed, a bi-colored long-toothed dent corn. 

12 days later...

I planted them later than the sweet corn to avoid cross pollination,
but growth so far is sporadic. I'll replant the bare spots, today. 

Once they are tall enough, I'll plant cornfield beans in this patch too. Their third sister is Candy Roaster squash, although you can see a Tatume vine in the background in the above photo.

Last pictures - sweet potatoes. These have been slow to sprout this year, so planting is late. I have two varieties, Vardaman (purple leaves) and Nancy Hall (green leaves with purple veins).

Growing sweet potato slips on the back steps next to sweet basil and coleus.

Both stored well this past winter. In fact, we had the last of them as oven-roasted sweet potato fries the other day. This is notable because my sweet potatoes usually develop black spot, which hastens their demise. But we didn't get that last year. A testament to my soil building efforts? I hope so.

Nancy Hall sweet potato slip. I'm tucking them into my
collard bed the same way I did my tomato transplants.

OBSERVATION: I planted these in my winter collards bed. One end of the bed still grew collards and clover, the other was pretty much empty of plants. Both ends were heavily mulched with wood chips, and I also want to note that I hadn't been watering this bed. I started at the unplanted end and noted that when I dug down, the soil was very dry. In the living plant end of the bed, I discovered that the soil still retained moisture. I can't explain the mechanism behind this,  EDIT: I take that back, I think I can explain it. Mycorrhizal fungi harvest moisture elsewhere and transport it (and soil nutrients) to plants in exchange for liquid carbon. My observation points to the validity of keeping living roots in the ground as much as possible, and is confirming my new approach of gardening by the four soil health principles.

Finally, that's it! For now, anyway. Your turn. How does your garden grow?

June Garden Photos © June 2020 by


Sharon Kwilter said...

Your garden is very pretty. Enjoy your harvest.

tpals said...

Beautiful coleus variety you have. I started a mix of coleus seeds this year and am very pleased with the result.

Trying not to jinx myself, but my zucchini plants look robust so far. Peas and beans have just begun to flower. Feeling all-around hopeful right now.

Sandi said...

Everything looks so healthy.

The soil sounds miraculous staying moist like that... hey...

daisy g said...

I love how you're using the three sisters method! I think I need to grow corn just to try it. ;0D

I also take pictures of dried beans. There are so many gorgeous varieties.

How do you keep the squirrels from digging up your peanuts?

Leigh said...

Sharon, thank you!

Tpals, this is the first year (in a very long time) that I've had coleus. Every season I try to put something colorful in potted plants for the back steps, and this year I found coleus and basil on the clearance rack and bought them. They came back and look really good! Love the color.

Sounds like your garden is off to a really good start!

Sandi, following the natural model the way it was created to operate really works! :)

Daisy, do give corn a try! It's a pretty plant and bees love it.

I think the squirrels don't dig the peanuts because we have so many cats. One of them is a squirrel catcher and they all patrol the garden. Besides, squirrels pretty much have free pickings in the chicken yard, scarfing up the scratch along with the chickens. :)

Mike Yukon said...

Thanks for the update. You sure have a green thumb! :-)

Quinn said...

Jing is my favorite okra - after growing it in 2018 for the first time, along with a typical green okra, I'd plant it even as an ornamental if it didn't produce food. Last year my Jing plants didn't do well, but this year I've planted it where it will get more sun and air circulation. I've got four little plants that I started in pots and transplated in early June - so far, so good. I'll be interested to hear what you think of it!

The Happy Whisk said...

Great to see all the food growing and the photos. I am wildly behind (due to working), on the garden but there's still time for some things, I think. We'll see how it goes. I very much like the idea of autumn crops as well.

Mama Pea said...

Great post, Leigh. So interesting in so many ways. I've grown Provider green beans for the last couple/few years and find them to far surpass any other variety in production. 'Twould be curious if that proves to be the case for you, too, considering our different growing climates! Regarding the bed's moisture being dryer in the open, unplanted part . . . I wonder if the green and growing plants provided shade and hastened evaporation in that half?

Leigh said...

Thanks Mike! The appearance of a green thumb is only an illusion. I really don't. If anything is growing well, it's in spite of me!

Quinn, I'm so glad to hear that! I couldn't resist ordering the Jing seed after reading the description in the Baker Creek catalog. I know there are numerous reasons plants don't do well, so I'm determined to give this variety a couple of years to try. I never thought of starting okra in pots. Good to know!

Ivy, have you ever read Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living (highly recommended!). One of her axioms was to plant something every day. I don't always manage that, but I try to work on some homegrown aspect of food every day, thanks to her wise words.

Mama Pea, I'm so glad to hear about the Provider beans! So far so good, although they seem to be developing some sort of deficiency, maybe magnesium. I recently applied some epsom salts to the bed but we need a good soaking rain to get it into the soil.

I'm thinking that the bed's moisture partly has to do with shade, but also soil microorganisms. I believe mycorrhizal fungi harvest moisture elsewhere and transport it (and soil nutrients) to plants in exchange for liquid carbon. That goes back to "living root in the ground." It's lovely to see it all in action.

Cockeyed Jo said...

Leigh, once again great minds think alike. My update is on Sunday. Although I didn't do pictures. I too planted Tendergreen bush beans this year. I like Provider much better. I also planted Jade for the first time. Slim pickings for seeds this year. Will definitely be ordering my seeds earlier next year. My straight neck squash and most of the garden is slow. I'm waiting to see what the tomatoes do.

Goatldi said...

Well Leigh what a great share today. I am going to do another read through as I want to be sure to soak up all the goodness you post today.

My learning curve increases daily. This morning as much as I enjoy the lovely 51 degree temperature this morning it is a 21 degree drop in temperature from Saturday morning. Seems we have a mix of hot and then cool each lasting 3-5 days. Kinda like politics one extreme or the other. No middle ground!

Nina said...

It's interesting to hear about the different plants for your area growing season that we generally don't grow. Sweet potatoes grow a bit further south than us, but here, they tend to still be small at maturity. I plant green beans in whatever variety the feed store packs up into 1/4 lb bags. It's by far the cheapest way to get it and its usually Tendergreen or a similar producing variety. This year a raccoon tore up my zuchinni, but ignored the cucumbers and tomato plants which is odd. He also had a sweet tooth though and kept draining the hummingbird feeder, lol. Sadly, I didn't cover my strawberries this year and the robins have been feasting. I will change that up next year.

Leigh said...

Jo, I'm glad to have more confirmation on the Providers. Not familiar with Jade. I do like to try new varieties, but once I find something that's happy here, I tend to stay with it! We should all probably order our seeds for next year now. :)

Goatldi, wow! That's a huge temperature swing! Is that typical for that location? Given a choice between the weather and politics, I'll stick with the weather! lol

Nina, naughty raccoon! It's funny how they can be so selective. I used to have deer that would eat only sweet potato vines and beet greens. I lost more than one crop that way!

Speaking of sweet potatoes, since mine were so late putting out slips, I suspect they will be fairly small as well. Unless the cold weather holds off and extends our growing season.

Lady Locust said...

Wow, looks like it's coming along. Isn't the garden entertaining ~ always something new. Love that you are experimenting with different varieties. Sometimes the oddballs are the winners.

Goatldi said...

I agree Leigh give me garden over politics any day!

Well now that is a loaded question as to if this is normal for my area. I could venture a guess but that is about it. One reason is when I lived in the central valley area I never lived in the mountains. Always in or outside Fresno. I came up but mostly in for fun day get a ways. So my knowledge is short on what to expect. My I am guessing again intuition would say "no it isn't normal." Like so many other areas of California and the rest of the country our weather is anything from what it used to be. Ask me in ten years maybe I can give you a better answer lol.

wyomingheart said...

Great shots of the joys of growing food! Those strawberries look delicious! My strawberry plants are still blooming, but I have only been able to harvest two berries!!! Dang chipmunk 🐿! They may be cute, but they are more destructive than any other critter I have dealt with. If they aren’t pulling up plants, they are planting millet seed from the bird feeder, all over the place! I hope your Long Island cheese pumpkin come on better. Yours actually look further along than mine. Thanks for all the great info today! Please have a perfect week!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Looks good Leigh. The soil observation is an excellent one. Our is going okay this summer, but we have had a mild summer to date. Looking at the weather, we are about to enter actual Summer, which is a bit disappointing.

Faith said...

I do enjoy looking at everybody's thriving gardens. My little square foot is still alive and kicking, the tomatoe I grew from seed is healthy and growing, several good soaking rains from the heavens help quite a bit. I harvested 3 garlics, and left one to flower so I can see what it looks like. Our peppers are growing and are producing hot peppers. Such a joy.

Leigh said...

Lady Locust, always looking for the perfect varieties! lol I'll experiment as long as I can get the seed. And I'm always happy to find a variety that will tolerate our difficult growing conditions.

Goatldi, I'm realizing I shouldn't be thinking in terms of "normal" weather. I don't think there is such a thing. The earth's diverse ecosystems aren't stagnant things, nor should they be (my opinion). We just have to learn to do the best we can with what we've got.

Wyomingheart, thanks! Yes, chipmunks are very cute but very destructive. That's one of the reasons we keep so many cats, but they still do some damage, especially in the strawberry bed!

Learning the timing of companion plants is always a challenge. I'm looking forward to seeing how these pumpkins do. I love the Candy Roaster, but it makes more like a sweet potato pie. Pumpkin pie is a classic in it's own right. :)

TB, thanks! We seem to finally be entering official summer too. Today the high was 95. July and August are typically our hottest months, so I suppose we're on schedule with the worst yet to come!

Faith, even a tiny garden is a joy! Glad to hear yours is doing well.

Tom and Sue said...

HI Leigh,
Just finished reading and looking at the pictures and your garden looks some what like ours does.
Harvesting Tomatoes,Cucumbers (These things are HUGE and average 16 to 18 inches long and are over a pound each!) PAK CHOY,Green Beans,Peas, Zucchini (being made into "Pickles too!) And 3 kinds of Kale.
Watermelon Seeds that Sue saved from last year are doing well, It is the "Moon and Stars" has its first melon growing and a seedless type is just now starting to flower.
But we also have some tropical plants growing! Papaya trees and Pineapple (We harvested a White one today, It weighs about 3 1/2 pounds!) We have 18 plants in Washing Machine Tubs and there are 6 more fruits that are still growing.
We also have Banana trees growing, But no Bananas yet.
Avocado, Suriname Cherry are also growing.
I will keep you updated as the season goes on.


Leigh said...

Tom, that's fantastic! And I'm really pleased you started a new blog!

wyomingheart said...

Yes, Leigh!!! Pumpkin pie is the classic! ...in my humble opinion ;) !

Sam I Am...... said...

I took notes! Thank you! I planted squash last year and I got squash bugs on everything, spaghetti squash, zucchini, and my cukes. Of course, I was gone last summer so it wasn't a good year of gardening at all. This summer I hope it will be better but I am also late planting. I'm not doing a great variety but mostly tomatoes, herbs and beans and lettuce. It was difficult also because of COVID and my Missouri seed supplier Baker Seeds got hit with a tornado so it was a rough start and I had to deal with what I had on hand. It's enough for me for now. I learn so much from you and I want to get my hands on that catalog too. I love the heat tolerant varieties and I am very interested in the onions too. Wishing you great harvests!

Leigh said...

Wyomingheart, aw, no need to be humble in that opinion. I suspect the majority of us would agree with you!

Sam, I didn't realize that about Baker Creek. They're one of my favorite suppliers too! But I did order seeds way early. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is highly recommended. They carry some of the same varieties as Baker Creek, but some different ones as well. I support both.

Henny Penny said...

Now your's is a real garden! It's so pretty! The green beans sure look good. Mine have grown like crazy and are now blooming but no beans yet.

Renee Nefe said...

I've got 5 (maybe 6) green roma tomatoes, 3 peppers that are just starting, 1 tiny zucchini that hasn't opened it's flower yet. The cucumbers & beans are almost flowering. The volunteer lettuce is still going well, and I got 3 lettuce from seed that are all very tiny. Then there are some mystery plants that are either radish, beets, or rutabega (I just tossed the seed out to see what would grow).
oh wait! There's a red onion that I planted from my kitchen scraps. I've been plucking off the greens to eat while I wait on the actual onion. ;)
your garden looks lovely as always.

and there's a tweenager bunny who might be eating the bean leaves.

Leigh said...

Henny, I love garden photos. They make a good record in years to come. Sounds like you're going to have a lot of beans on your hands!

Renee, sounds like you've got a lot to look forward to, except maybe the beans. :) I need to try an kitchen scrap onion. Good idea about eating the leaves! I hadn't thought of that.