“A comfortable home is a great source of happiness. It ranks immediately after health and a good conscience.” ~Sydney Smith
I equate my garden with my home, and when it is looking and feeling comfortable, I feel happy. But to keep it feeling comfortable means work…..pruning, weeding, mulching, fertilizing and tweaking here and there. Whether it is a cutting garden, a wildlife garden, a pond garden, a meadow or a veg garden they all need upkeep much like our homes.
A key component for me is if I can fully engage with my garden…..actively participate in it, with it…..walk around frequently and talk to it, really look at it……see the details and what it needs. Even if my body is hurting, I cannot miss time in the garden and neglect it for long if I want it to thrive, especially the veg garden. Too much neglect, and it won’t produce.
And as I work to nurture my garden and help it to grow (like these chives), it helps me to grow and heal too. It is a wonderful reciprocal relationship that I look forward to each spring, summer and fall.
It is never an easy endeavor growing a veg garden. It needs care and looking after constantly depending on the conditions. Hot spring, cold summer, late or early frost, drought, flood, hail, pests, critters, disease…..any and all can happen in a season. And a gardener has to have a variety of tools, in their tool belt, to help with each as they occur. So I am forever learning from my garden.
As we move into summer, I thought I would update my veg garden……
All the starter plants were planted by the last Monday in May. These cucumbers have grown some, but are still small due to the cold that has continued throughout June.
Pre-sprouted peas were gnawed down by an enterprising rabbit.
I planted more seeds, and both the seed and gnawed plants grew together, and have filled in nicely.
First flowers appeared around the 11th of June.
And first peas by the 15th.
Due to our too cold April, the first radishes planted floundered. So I planted more and these grew fast, and surpassed the first ones. We had about 6 dozen harvested mostly these French Breakfast variety which I love.
And we had a small harvest of spinach and lettuces. I had the same problem with the earlier planted spinach as with the earlier planted radishes. When I planted more seed later, the spinach flourished. Lettuces were thwarted by a too hot May and went to seed quickly. So I planted more lettuces….they have germinated and are now coming along.
Lesson Learned: If at first you don’t succeed, plant more seed and try again. Also planting seed in too cold/cool weather just doesn’t work in my garden even when I cover the beds with row covers.
My warm weather veggies seem to be moving along well particularly the tomatillos. These are the foot high plants I planted in the garden in late May. You can see the early flowers at the top of the post and here in early May.
And soon after I planted these, they started growing faster, bigger and….
I have had similar luck with some of my peppers. In particular my sweet peppers. They are in the red pots, and grew large when I started them from seed back in March. The hot peppers and green chile peppers are still slow to grow. Sweet peppers had flowers right away and some are now bearing fruit. I am trying to remove what I can to allow them to grow bigger before they bear fruit.
They are also planted in my tomato bed and doing well in between the tomatoes. And my very small tomato seedlings, in the cages, are also growing nicely so far. You can see I have planted them far apart to give the foliage lots of space to hopefully mitigate any foliar diseases.
More hot peppers were planted in the portable bed on the patio. There are small cuke seedlings in this bed as well as sweet peas, nasturtiums and dill.
Lesson Learned: Don’t be afraid to start seeds earlier (especially tomatillos, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants), so you can plant out larger plants when the weather is hot enough, giving them time to produce as the growing season for these hot weather plants is short here.
I have tried both onion bulbs and onion starter plants and have found the bulbs grow better in my garden. I planted these in the heat of May, and covered them. They seem to be growing quite well. And a surprise has popped up in the middle of this grow bag. It is a potato plant. This bag used to be used to grow potatoes a few years ago. So a small potato must have been left in the bed and has finally grown enough to reach the soil surface.
This is the squash bed. I started the Delicata and zucchini squashes in biodegradable pots, and they are slowly growing after only having been pre-sprouted. Carrots and beets had to be planted again as the usual April time that I plant them was too cold, and they showed little to no growth.
Eggplants were also started very early with peppers. They were planted first in small biodegradable pots, transplanted once into larger biodegradable pots when they were growing indoors. I chose this method because I have learned their roots do not like to be disrupted and it gives them a better chance to quickly acclimate once planted out.
Lesson Learned: Listen to your plants and your garden. And pay attention to growing instructions. If they say a plant doesn’t like to have its roots disrupted, take heed and find a way to accommodate those growing needs.
What else is growing? Garlic scapes are up and I am cutting them as I see them….yummy in salads and stir fry. I have pre-sprouted pumpkins growing up trellises, and herbs along with flowers growing between the garlic. As I harvest the garlic, I re-use the space.
I have beans, both pole and bush, also growing where the radishes were recently harvested in the pea bed. And lots of volunteer dill is also growing in this bed.
Lesson Learned: Find ways to utilize limited space like growing veggies vertically, or placing later plants/seeds where earlier veggies were harvested. I have learned to plan ahead to make careful use of space, even replanting seed like beans or lettuces once plants are no longer producing. And I am allowing some plants to go to seed like dill and morning glories as I enjoy the volunteer plants later.
We have one fruit bed that needs a bit of work, but one crop is successful. These raspberries are flowering and forming fruit quickly and profusely. We are patiently awaiting their ripening. I need to move the blueberries around, purchase more strawberries and trim these raspberries a bit after we have harvested their fruit as they are going to burst their planter.
While the success in my veg garden is largely dependent on weather, it is also dependent on me being present and fully engaged in what is happening often, almost daily.
Are you growing any fruits or vegetables in your garden? What is your favorite freshly harvested fruit or veggie?
Flowers and Herbs In A Vase
I decided to pick a few flowering herbs and flowers for a simple vase for this week.
Oregano and thyme are both pleasing pollinators right now, and the scent from this vase is pleasing me!
Add to that some sweet alyssum and a couple of pansies grown from seed, and one Oso Easy ‘Italian Ice’ rose from Proven Winners. I received the rose last year with other free plants given to attendees at the Garden Writer’s Association from Proven Winners. It overwintered beautifully and has come back blooming perfectly. Now to find a spot in the garden for it this year.
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