Wednesday, June 5, 2013

June in the garden

The garden, June 2013
There's a lot to be happy about right now in my life. The garden is coming together beautifully, if a bit slower than intended. My tomatoes, peas, radishes, carrots, beets, broccoli, kale, collards, salad greens, and lots of other yummy things are coming up gangbusters. Our new sprinkler makes rainbows, too, which puts a lovely hue on everything!

The tomatoes
I have about 40 tomato plants, all told. Half are meaty, slicing tomatoes (Purple Cherokee, Roma, MarketMore, etc), and the other half, pictured here, are cherry tomatoes. I had issues with my meat tomatoes because I planted them to get them outside on Memorial Day or thereabouts, then we had that heavy freeze. Everything had to stay inside the house, and they got a bit root bound. They also got bumped around a lot, and quite a few got broken or squished in the process. The cherry toms fared much better. All of them but one survived, and they're perky as all get-out. I have no idea how I'll be caging them!

The 'broken bed'
The cherries are planted in the "broken bed", the one that was in pieces in the last picture. Because of how it was put together last year, we needed to raise it up higher for this season, and add more (and better quality) soil. After adding a big of height and dirt to it, it looked much better. We also replaced the end pieces, as the original birch logs I used had begun to rot in place.

Green onions lurking
Down the other side of the broken bed we used these bricks, which we filled with dirt and then planted our green onions into. I'm hoping they'll do well, and really spring up, as our family loves green onions in many dishes. If they don't make it, I'll replace them with marigolds to help keep bugs and predators away from my cherry tomatoes. Around the outside of this bed, I also planted nasturtiums, which are both pretty and edible. When they come up, they will add a gorgeous yellow to the dark red and green of the plants.

Squash bed
At the other end of the cherry tomato bed, I planted my zucchini. I ran into a problem when I discovered that it wasn't my two types of winter squash that I had to worry about cross pollinating... it was one of them and my zucchini and pumpkins! It turns out that all these plants are part of a large family, cucurbita. Some of the family will intermix with other parts, and some won't. It took me a bit of research, but I finally came to the conclusion that I could easily plant my butternut squash next to my acorn squash, but putting the zucchini in that bed would bring disaster (at least if I wanted to save seeds, which I most definitely do!). The zucchini has now been planted on the far side of the pea bed, so that there is a physical barrier between it and the offending acorn squash, as well as a bit of space. I will hope that whatever pollinators visit my plants don't hit up both sides of the pea fencing!

Beets and radishes
The radishes are taking over the tire, although there are quite a few weeds hiding inside that leafy canopy as well. The beets are faring rather well, and I have high hopes for them. I'll plant a second crop of them once these ones are grown, in the hopes that we'll get a very late fall/early winter harvest from them. In amongst the radishes are the carrots, and they're looking fantastic! Most are an inch high, and are now easily distinguishable from the surrounding weeds. That makes weeding MUCH easier!

Peas and tomatoes
We doubled up our pea fence this year by zip tying two of the green metal stakes together to make one very tall stake. Last year's peas grew up and over the short fence I had, and ended up breaking in several places because of lack of support. Not so this year! I'm looking forward to collecting delicious, fresh peas from the vines currently growing like wild. Compared to this time last year, our peas are thicker, greener, and much more vigorous, so I think we'll be harvesting a good amount.

I planted some bush beans as well, this year, from the seeds I saved from last year's beans. They're tucked in at the end of the squash bed, two 4-foot rows. It's not a lot, but I wanted to grow enough for a couple of meals, as well as to save the seed for next year. This year, we're going more for pole beans, though, with Scarlet Runners, Rattlesnake Pole, and Kentucky Wonders. They'll be planted (very soon, I expect!) in tires, with a tripod of poles and rough hemp twine wound around. I can't wait for the delicious flavor of the beans, and both the Scarlet Runners and the Rattlesnakes are excellent when dried, for use in soups and baked beans!

The greens bed
Last but definitely not least, the greens bed is doing phenomenally well. There are a few weeds but not overpowering. All but the Great Lakes lettuce came up, and I'm not sure if it just didn't germinate or if the weeds ate it. The cold snap did all the greens well, but especially my broccoli and kale, which are both reaching for the sky happily. I expect to see some broccoli forming in the next couple of weeks, and I might have to start harvesting kale soon as well.

So what's growing in your garden this month? I've yet to put my cucumbers in, and my swiss chard and corn as well. All are going into containers that can be moved around (although the cukes will be stationary once they begin to vine, as the trellis will go on and hold it in place), making it convenient to mow and weed whack.

Listed at the Homeacre Hop #22!

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