Dear Friend and Gardener-Summer Veg Garden


No matter how many years a gardener has worked the soil, the ongoing miracle of vegetative life always seems magical.  ~Patricia Monaghan



I know, I know.  I said I would wait to post a veg garden update, but really what is the use of waiting.  Our hot summer has turned into a damp cool one and the temps went down to 48 degrees Monday night.  Besides we are weeks behind because of our late cool spring and I started so many things weeks

But really I am not complaining.  I am excited to see so many things grow and regrow in the veg garden this season.  I am joining in with Dee Nash again for her virtual garden club called, Dear Friend and Gardener.  I am also joining in with Christina@Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for her Garden Bloggers Foliage Day on the 22nd.  Veg gardens are a perfect place to show off your foliage.





This was the first year I grew beets and Swiss chard and we had a nice harvest.  And I am now getting more chard.  I left 2 roots in the garden after I cut the chard and they are ready to harvest again as you can see.





My beans did not like the crowded bed or aphids so we are not getting a great harvest.  But I have plans to remedy that for next year.  The peas lasted through mid-August until the voles chewed them down.  And I planted a second batch of radishes in late July, that I already harvested.  They were yummy.  The third planting is already growing.





My onions continue to be harvested.  I love red onions so that is all we grow.





Okra are finally blooming and growing.  Great red stems and red trimmed foliage.





And even with the cool days and nights we have some peppers growing.  Many did nothing because it was too wet and too cool.





Beets are growing again with carrots.  It will be several more weeks before they are ready, but boy the fall harvest will be great.  I netted them so our willful deer, Alice, keeps away from these yummy greens.




Here are my watermelons.  They are growing great, but far behind where they should be for late August.  I love the foliage but look at that little watermelon that will be growing much bigger soon I hope.  These are baby watermelons so it won’t have to grow too big.  





 Here’s my squash bed.  My Cocozelle summer squash (zucchini) are just beginning to grow female flowers.





Look at that first zucchini.  It was delicious and much firmer, less seeds and great flavor than regular old zukes.  Looking forward to more growing.  Can you believe this is the first time I have been successful growing zucchini.  I never gave it enough room, and I think they are a bit crowded now too.  My Delicata winter squash are just beginning to produce female flowers too.





Last but not least are the tomatoes.  And of course they love heat too.  The foliage on many are not in good shape (yellowing and browning) due to too much rain and cool weather.




DSCN2867Here is the tomato plant the deer ate.  It is a hybrid plum that rebounded, put on new growth and is finally producing fruit.  Can’t wait to see these get about three times bigger and a nice juicy red.




DSCN2921Our first tomatoes harvested were hybrid grapes (pictured below).  Our early hybrid tomaotes are finally producing in late August.  You can see we are a month behind.  I bet we get tomatoes all at once, but we are not complaining.




DSCN2904Right now I am also loving my herbs.  Sage is looking great and dill (pictured at the top of the post) is plentiful too.


We still have 2 bags full of potatoes left to harvest.  The bags of potatoes that were already harvested now have kale, lettuce, spinach, herbs and arugula growing for a fall harvest.  And I will have another harvest update then.




How is your veg garden growing?  Any new veggies you are trying this year?




The first tomato is always the most thrilling!  It’s one of those Oprah moments when everything clicks, the world makes sense, and all that hard work pays off-just for one tomato that tastes like pure joy.  ~Gayla Trail





Visit my new blog: 

new blog logo

I want to thank all the wonderful people who have been visiting my new blog, Living From Happiness.  It is a blog to celebrate life, lessons, change, challenges and creativity.

I post there every Thursday, and sometimes on Sunday with a creative post.  In August I am participating in a photo challenge and posting some of my pics on Sundays.

I do hope you will join me there.  



Next up on the blog:  Monday will have another Vase On Monday post. And next Wednesday, I will have that native plant post I promised for today.

I am linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday.



All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.




  1. Christina says:

    Your veg is just beginning as mine finishes! You should try Zucchini Romanesco – it is the very best! My husband gave me some Okra seed to grow but I was a bit negative, how do you use yours? The flowers and stems look very pretty. Thanks for linking to GBFD.

    • Donna says:

      Christina mine is taking a long time to produce both because I started 3 weeks late and because it cooled suddenly. I will take your recommendation on the zucchini. I have seeds for an heirloom I want to try as well called, Zucchini “Ortolana di Faenza”.

      As for okra, it is a wonderful veggie that you can bread and fry or put in soups and stews. I love the flavor which is mild and different. I hope to pickle ours this year as I have a freezer full to use from last year. I grow the burgundy ones but they also are green in color.

      I love GBFD and I wanted to have a fresh post…so what better foliage than my veg garden.

    • Aaron Dalton says:

      From a Tennessee gardener, let me say that okra is often deep fried at meat-and-three restaurants around here.

      But my favorite (healthier) option is simply to slice each pod into a few pieces, toss in some salt and garlic powder and then bake in the oven at ~350 degrees for around 20 minutes. It’s super easy, crunchy and delicious!

  2. angie says:

    sie haben einen großen garten und ich sehe so viel gemüse, aus dem eigenen garten schmeckt es sicherlich viel besser!!! einen schönen mittwoch wünscht angie

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Tina. It is getting a bit closed in with lots of volunteer native perennials. We have to do a bit of clearing, cleaning out and managing or the veg gardens will be overrun soon. I do like having the flowers around the veg beds to attract the pollinators and it works great!

  3. Donna says:

    I like growing the veggies and herbs for the pollinators at this time of year. I get what I want early and let them have what remains. Your garden has much to offer considering the cooler weather. I don’t have a clue how you keep up with blogging with all those mimes. You amaze me in your energy.

    • Donna says:

      Donna I was also surprised that it is doing as well as it is. We will get a small crop but I will take it as it has kept the pollinators happy too. I am growing the cooler veggies again and hoping for a lovely repeat crop there.

      I made myself a promise when I retired to connect more with other bloggers and joining more memes to spread my wings, expand my reading and blogging and I am enjoying it. Keeps me busy especially since I have not really been doing much heavy gardening as I was and still am recuperating. I have to still take it slow. But as soon as I can, I will be busy with a few fall projects that will keep me busy…we shall see if I am blogging and participating in many memes then 🙂

  4. susan@life-change-compost says:

    That first photo of the chard leaf is amazing–it actually made me experience a virtual “smell” across the ether of the ‘net….isn’t that something? Shows you what a dynamite photo can do. I think it was Tammy at Casa Mariposa that said we have swapped summers with the east coast because we have had so much heat! I can’t recall a summer with so many days in the nineties. Because of that, we have an extraordinary crop of tomatoes in addition to the usual suspects. Last night, I roasted them in a low temp (275 degrees) for five hours. They were sliced to a medium thickness–both Roma-style paste tomatoes and all the rest, misted with olive oil, covered with torn leaves of basil and parsley and sea salt. When they were done, we bagged them in quart sized bags and created a seal by sucking the air out. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have bags of gorgeous flavor-packed roasted tomatoes like that in the freezer. Winter soups and stews..I’m ready for you! Or even, spread on toasted Italian bread….jeez I’m making myself hungry.

    • Donna says:

      You are correct Susie…we have swapped summers. So you have my tomatoes :0

      I was hoping for loads to roast…maybe we will still get some. And you made me very hungry!!!

  5. susan@life-change-compost says:

    Well, if it’s true that we’ve swapped summers (global “weirding” is likely to cause more and more of these kinds of changes..), then you will have your tomatoes in September like we usually do. So, no worries. They are coming, just a bit late. Hopefully, you’ll have plenty to roast Donna-:)

  6. Alistair says:

    Ah Donna, all that terrific veg, and even Rudbeckia amongst the squash, (I think) The closest thing to veg in our garden is Bronze Fennel, looks good amongst the herbaceous plants though.

    • Donna says:

      The rudbeckia frames the bed and brings in color and pollinators. I love fennel but mine did not overwinter so I will have to plant more in spring in hopes it will come back each year.

  7. Donalyn Ketchum says:

    Hi Donna – I have to agree about the disappointing summer. Fortunately, we plant a lot, so even with a slow harvest, I haven’t bought a vegetable in weeks. For something new this year, we are trying kohlrabi, but it is straggling along so far. I am not liking what I’m hearing our September weather, but maybe they will be wrong about how cold it is supposed to get. In any case, we enjoy what we get!

    • Donna says:

      Oh I hadn’t heard about September so I hope that is not true. But we know it is a crap shoot every year with veg gardens Donalyn. I have lots of garden chores to do in September and October…perhaps I better get started now. I need about a month of hot weather to get anything substantial from the garden now. Maybe the cooler weather crops will do better at least.

  8. Julie says:

    I would love to be able to grow watermelons, are your temperatures generally higher than ours and your summers longer than on the east of the UK?

    • Donna says:

      Not sure Julie. Our summer starts in late May in the mid 70s and then moves to the 80s in late June and if we are lucky stays in the 80s through early August. Then we pray the 70s stay in the day and 60s at night through mid September. Not sure if the watermelons will have time to develop as I started them too late.

  9. Jean says:

    I don’t know if you ever look at Rachel’s blog at Grow A Good Life, but she has been experimenting this summer with growing summer squash and zucchini on trellises to reduce the amount of space they take. So far, she’s very happy with the results; you might want to check it out.

  10. nicole says:

    Your veggies look outstanding Donna! I love red onions as well but have never grown them…..I think I need to try next year! And your foliage in your garden is heavenly!!! Just a beautiful harvest you have up there!!! Wishing you a wonderful week! Nicole xo……oh and yes I used Joe Pye Weed in my arrangement thanks to you!!

    • Donna says:

      Nicole I did spy that Joe Pye in your bouquet…it looked perfect. Onions are very easy to grow if you buy seed onions (small starts) which we do. Our growing season is too short and cold for me to grow from seed. I buy organic red seed onions and then pick them at various stages of growth. Have a lovely weekend!

    • Donna says:

      Beth, I was hoping for warmer September weather but they are now saying we will be hit with the polar vortex in September and tropical rain…what a combo. I plan to just keep going as long as I can and then button it up in the veg gardens and get some routine chores done before the ground freezes.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Chloris! Okra is an interesting veggie. It needs a warm summer with temps usually in the high 70s and 80s and nights in the 60s. Much like tomatoes.

  11. Nadezda says:

    Hi, Donna!
    Lovely zucchini and chard! I was growing chard the first time too and I liked to cook soup with it instead of with beets, that still is not ready:(( We call this soup “borsch” You’re right — first tomatoes are the most delicious. And I collect the seeds from the first tomatoes!

  12. Donna says:

    Nadezda I adore borsch and don’t make it enough. I need to find some different recipes. I had one and lost it. I did make a chard soup that was divine. I have my second planting of beets in and hope to get them by the end of September. Love beets. I wish I could collect seeds but most tomatoes I grow are hybrid not heirloom due to our issues with fungal diseases here.

  13. Aaron Dalton says:

    Your veggies look soooooooooo tasty 🙂

    We’ve had a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes here (both planted and volunteers). And the basil is going gangbusters.

    I’ve failed miserably at carrots and beets in years past. I think our weather and especially our hard soil are anathema to them. Envious…

    If you’re looking to try something new, easy, healthy and super prolific, may I suggest mustard greens? They’ve got zing!

    • Donna says:

      Love mustard greens Aaron and I will be planting more greens soon for fall so I will be sure to add them….I have to use raised beds to get carrots and beets here because of our clay soil. Glad you enjoyed the veg garden!

  14. Jacqueline says:

    I love your beautiful tidy garden! And obviously it is paying off for you. I love watching a garden grow. All the hard work–not so much. I admire all you successful gardeners so much. I would love to live next door! I hope you get to visit your friend in SF soon. You may already know how beautiful fall is here.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Jacqueline. I would love to come to NM in fall but my friend is recovering from a double knee replacement so I think it won’t be much before April that she will be ready for me to come and visit…can’t wait though.

  15. Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern says:

    Tasty Donna! I have not posted What’s Growing out of embarrassment of the state of my Potager. I finally cut down my Dill forest because I could not eat anymore and it was shading out my Brussels and Squash. My Potager is growing plenty of flowers this year but not as many veggies due to my lack of attention. I am enjoying cherry tomatoes and my other tomatoes have lots of green fruits. Yours looks so neat and well tended and delicious!

    • Donna says:

      Mine looks great (not all beds though) but not much to show for it and I fear the cold weather will hit before it fruits much…oh well the cool weather veggies will like the cooler weather soon. And there are the fall chores and before we know it we will be planning for next year Kathy!

  16. Annette says:

    Great harvest! I should try Okra some day…just difficult to get plants or seeds around here. My courgettes didn’t do that well but the pumkins have thankfully recovered after their first mildew attack.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Annette….warm wet weather here so not sure how everything will come out…for now whatever I can harvest I am grateful for!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Michelle. It is a crap shoot at this point as to what will grow to maturity and produce. Looks like this coming week is it for hot weather. If we can stay in the 70s and 50s at night I will still get some veggies but not much. But we are grateful for all we have harvested.

  17. Christina says:

    Dear Donna, thanks for leaving a comment on my blog!
    No veggies are growing in my garden, since I only grow ornamental plants with a focus on roses, but I truly enjoyed looking at your bountiful harvest. Fresh veggies are always a treat and yours appear very tasty and plentiful. Maybe one day I will start to grow veggies as well. A post like yours certainly could convert me:-)! Wishing you a nice weekend!

    • Donna says:

      Christina I enjoyed your blog and thank you for stopping by to see the veggies….I hope you have a pleasant weekend in your garden. I love roses but they do not love my climate and heavy clay soil. I have a few but they did not bloom much due to the harsh winter and cold spring. Perhaps they will give us a show this fall if it is not too cold.

  18. craftygreenpoet says:

    Looks like you’re having a great harvest this year!

    We don’t have a garden but we grow tomatoes, lettuces and herbs on our windowledges and the tomatoes are doing great this year!

  19. debsgarden says:

    There are no veggies like home-grown ones! I had to laugh a bit when you said that your tomatoes were yellowing and browning due to too much rain and cool weather. Ours are yellowing and browning due to dry weather and heat! Somebody must have the perfect medium climate. Nevertheless, our tomatoes are still producing, which is better than many years. But you are right: The best tomato is the first!

    • Donna says:

      Deb you made me laugh. Ours tomatoes are still producing too…funny how things just roll along even when stressed a bit. I see so many nice green perfect tomatoes and some years (once in a blue moon) we get that weather and perfect tomatoes too.

  20. Leora says:

    Loving your garden! I did well with the few tomato plants I had this year. Someone told when it’s too hot, they don’t ripen. This summer I brought some into my kitchen in July, so we’ve had ripe tomatoes ever since. And the summer has mostly been not too hot. My cucumbers were happy until last week, when I got busy with work, and the weather got hot. Can’t grow beans – the animals eat those. I think a deer or ground hog ate my parsley in the middle of the day today! I just planted radishes last week, hoping I will get some before winter.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Leora. I have not heard about the heat and non-ripening tomatoes, interesting. The weather kept cooling here and was too wet at times so mine are just now ripening as I was weeks behind in planting. Voles eat my beans but rabbits are also big bean eaters and deer will eat anything as will woodchucks. I bet voles got your parsley too. Radishes take about 4-6 weeks so I bet you will get some.

  21. Island Threads says:

    you have some lovely veg Donna despite the weather and creatures, I love that you have named the deer that comes in your garden and other creature too, may you have much more veg before the season is over, lots of lovely lush foliage in your veg garden and all the better that some of it is food, Frances

    • Donna says:

      We find it easier when we sight a critter if we call them by name. Alice snuck in the garden last evening around 6pm. She hadn’t been by for almost a month so we were surprised. She and others will be hopping the fence all winter too. The veggies are finally coming on now so if we could have a few more weeks of warm weather I would be happier Frances.

Comments are closed.