It is a pleasure to eat the fruit of one’s toil, if it be nothing more than a head of lettuce or an ear of corn.
Charles Dudley Warner
I am joining in with Dee Nash for her new virtual garden club called, Dear Friend and Gardener. You can see the badge here and on my sidebar. As Dee says about this new club:
Carol Michel, Mary Ann Newcomer and I are starting a virtual garden club for everyone growing their own food, flowers or herbs this summer. It’s a fun club. There are no rules except if you grab the badge, please link it back to this page. Here, I will list everyone joining us for our summer adventure of growing our food, flowers and herbs. You are welcome to post once a month if you want. We’d love to see what you’re growing.
When the end of May rolled around, the veg garden finally produced a bit…we were eating a few small radishes and a some homegrown lettuce, spinach and arugula. Spring veggies so fresh the taste makes me swoon. This first harvest was hardly what I would expect for the end of May given we had planted lots of greens, carrots, beets and peas more than 6 weeks before. They were kept under cover due to our cold spring and the roaming critters that like salad fixin’s as much as we do.
In early June, the warm weather started to stay around more than a day a week and it became darn right hot. The onions and potatoes we started in mid-May were taking off. And I was finally able to bend a bit after surgery, so we planted the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant that was started inside in April. Also cukes, watermelon, pumpkins, winter and summer squash, okra and beans were planted from seed each placed in the sun drenched soil lovingly.
But as mid-June arrived all that we were picking was a pea here and there, the rest of the radishes, lettuce and garlic scapes. I don’t think I can remember a season where early veggies were not picked until July. But that was this year. The veg garden in July has peas growing strong and beets and carrots being picked with garlic and potatoes. It seems anything goes or grows this year.
And I am loving it….this is the first year I have had a successful beet harvest even after the deer came through and ate half the tops.
Here is an overall view of the veg beds along the right hand side of the fence. One is a berry bed that is buried in weeds and not visible toward the back. The potatoes and onions are in bags and buckets in the lower right corner of the picture. And the lower left has more peppers and eggplant that didn’t fit in the beds. Rosemary is in pots as they will come in for winter.
This sea of potato foliage grew fast and healthy through June.
As the blue potato flowers bloomed, I knew it wouldn’t be long to start the harvest.
The foliage yellowed and faded after the flowers were gone, and I dumped one grow bag to see what we had beneath the soil. You can see the wonderful blue potatoes that were unearthed. In about a week, we will make these into homemade potato chips, or roasted potatoes or anything really. These are one of the healthiest potatoes you can eat because they are so rich in antioxidants like blueberries. And they taste so good. We are going to harvest each of the remaining 5 bags every 2 weeks thereby letting the potatoes get bigger and staggering the harvest.
And the bags and buckets will be reused to grow Kale, salad greens and herbs for a continual harvest.
This bed grew the earliest greens, beets and carrots. Here are the remnants of the lettuce, spinach, carrots, endive and arugula with swiss chard all the way in the back. In the front of the bed growing up the A-frame trellises are Delicata squash and zucchini.
This is the swiss chard growing at the back of the bed under cover and away from the hungry jaws of the deer, woodchucks and rabbits. This is the first year I have successfully grown chard. There are three varieties including “Peppermint Stick” with striped ribs seen on the left. The seeds were sent from Renee’s Garden to Garden Writer’s Association members to try. I’ll let you know how they taste as we sautee the chard and make soup out of it soon.
On the other side of the bed were the beets and carrots already picked, and baby watermelons just beginning to grow up the trellis. As the earlier veggies are picked, I have started more beets, carrots and radishes in hopes of a fall harvest. These will grow under the shade of the watermelon that will grow up and over them and through the rest of the bed. There is also some cinnamon basil growing here. The clear plastic knives, at the bottom of the picture, are plant markers.
This is the garlic bed as it has been growing through the months. It seems borage has heavily seeded itself from last year when one plant grew with tomatoes, peppers and eggplant here. And the borage is trying to takeover the bed as so much is growing in the bed and in front of the bed. The A-frame trellis in the upper right photo is to support pumpkins started a few weeks ago. As the garlic is pulled, the pumpkins will take over the bed and surrounding gardens….I hope! Oh yes that is a sunflower that is growing through the onions on the end of the bed. It is self seeded from a plant growing nearby last year.
Here is our first harvest of the Tuscan garlic. It seems we harvest it earlier every year. In a month or so it will be cured and ready to eat. I have a couple of later varieties totaling about 100 heads. Can you tell we love garlic? It will last us through early winter…..maybe.
This is the mish mash bed, a little of everything. Here are peas, beans, cukes on the north half. Then 2 grape tomatoes, peppers, okra and eggplant on the south half. The top right shows this bed early on. All the plastic utensils are surrounding the beans. I saw a post at Carol Michel’s blog showing how she was using plastic forks to protect her beans from rabbits. Since I net mine to keep out the bigger critters, I needed a deterrent against the voles who last year burrowed into my bean bed and destroyed every last bean in their path. I am hoping these will keep them from cutting a path of destruction. We will have to see what happens.
Pea blossoms are a welcome sight in spring, but mine waited until summer to really bloom. But that allowed me to share fresh picked peas with my sister and brother-in-law who were visiting.
Last but not least is the main tomato bed. I am growing 2 heirloom tomatoes and two hybrids. I am again crossing my fingers that the heirlooms will not succumb to blight as they usually do. But I am very stubborn and am determined to finally get some heirlooms to grow. I wanted to use newspaper and grass clippings as mulch to help keep blight away, but I could barely get the tomatoes in the ground let alone mulch them so soon after surgery.
The bed was mulched and planted with 10 garlic bulbs last October. Previously we grew peas and beans here as it is supposed to be great for the soil and the next crop that we rotate there. Each corner was planted with one tomato. Basil and marigolds were planted between each tomato to take the place of the garlic that will be harvested this week. And yes that is another borage that seeded itself along with dill.
The tomatoes grew quickly and started sprouting flowers last week only 3 weeks after planting. We were so excited until…..
…we awoke to this. Yes this is what happens when a deer gets a taste for tomatoes. This is only the second time we had a deer eat our tomato plants. Luckily this plant is big enough to make a comeback but we will have to wait an 3 extra weeks before we get tomatoes…and yes we netted this bed for now. She ate the top off another one too. I recently had to chase her and boy is she brazen. I literally was almost on top of her before she left. She will be back as she has been wreaking havoc throughout my garden.
You can see we don’t grow tons of veggies, we grow a variety of many different veggies enough to last through the season but not much more. We eat as we grow. I will post another update next month.
What do you love to grow and eat?
Join in with Dee this season as we share what we are growing in the virtual garden club.
In order to live off a garden, you practically have to live in it.
– Frank McKinney Hubbard
Next up on the blog: Monday will be time to show off the blooms in the garden for GBBD.
I can also be found blogging once a month at Vision and Verb.
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