Sunday, June 30, 2019

June's Garden (2019)

Quite a bit of my time is being spent in the garden or processing the produce every day now.  The weather is hot, up in the mid-'90s so I go out at daybreak to work.  When the sun heats the garden, I stop and head to the kitchen.  It's hard to believe how fast everything has grown within one month.  An unending supply of horse manure has made all the difference.  

In the garden, the very first row, right beside the lawn is a tiny strip of soil which will be a path beside the hoop house this winter.  I squeezed in a row of Purple Hull peas in the front section and Blue Lake green beans in the back.  The hated Bermuda grass will eventually invade but not before the beans can be harvested.  Come fall, this spot will be tilled then mulched.  I like getting as much use out of every inch of my garden as possible.

Purple Hull Peas

The next two wide rows will be the location of this winter's hoop houses.  These are cool weather plants from the early spring which are quickly being eaten before hot weather destroys them.  Others will replace these before winter arrives.

As we pick the leaves off the stems, it opens up space underneath so a Black Futsu squash has been planted at the upper end of the row.  As it grows and spreads between the growing vegetables, the ground below will be covered.  The squash will take over the bed as the winter vegetables finish.  When the squash leaves begin to wither and die, it will be time to slip the winter vegetable seedlings into the ground between the vines.  Gardening is year-round for me and my mind plans a year ahead.

Scarlet Kale and Black Futsu Squash

We have devoured the vegetables from the middle of this row and I have already planted my first winter seedlings, tiny little Afina Cutting Celery.  They look small now, but when snow begins falling, they will be happy, thriving, and delicious.

The other end of the row in front of the shed has two Sugar Pie Pumpkin vines that will spread toward the front.  

Moving back to the front of the garden, the third row will also be a hoop house this winter.  It still has a large variety of cool weather spring plants either growing or going to seed.

The Superschmelz kohlrabi is huge.  Wish I had more than two but at some point, I have to make myself stop planting seeds.

Broccoli leaves are tasty so we harvest them while waiting for the florets.  It opens up the shaded area below which is perfect for fast-growing, cool weather lettuces.  

The back area going toward the shed of the third row is filled with summer vegetables that cannot withstand a frost.  After harvest, winter vegetables will take their place.  First is basil, followed by eggplants, peppers then cucumbers.  This is a ridiculous amount of basil (different varieties are planted in other areas), but last winter I ran out of pesto and vowed to plant enough!  This is Lettuce Leaf Basil because I wanted to have plenty.

Lettuce Leaf Basil

Behind the basils are eggplants, peppers, and Marketmore cucumbers.

"Centella" Jalapeno Pepper, Pimento Sweet Pepper, Gypsy Sweet Pepper

The Marketmore Cucumbers were planted at the end of the row and were supposed to spread under the peppers.  Instead, they went the wrong way and crossed the path into the bean patch.  The back of the garden receives less sunlight so I assumed they would grow toward the sunshine in the front.  I was wrong.  Now I have to jump over the vines or walk around.

The fourth row has cucumbers and tomatoes climbing up a fence and weird stuff is in the back.

The cucumbers have caught a virus or fungus and are dying.  Fungicides and home remedies have been applied but nothing is working - they continue to wilt.  Tomatoes were planted between the few living cucumbers because I don't expect them to make it.  If I find a product that cures them, I will share.

Behind the dying cucumbers is the section of weird stuff.  A peanut has planted itself in this spot for two years now.  It came up close to the pink celery which qualifies as weird.  It's an experiment.  Will my manly men eat girly pink celery?

A determined peanut         Chinese Pink Celery

Green Mountain Winter Celtuce has bolted and is going to seed, which is exactly what I wanted.  It's a winter lettuce grown for the stem and is supposed to be savory.  We picked the leaves but didn't try the stem because I want the seeds.  They will be planted this fall and then we will taste them.

Green Mountain Winter Celtuce

Further left and moving toward the field fence is the fifth row which has assorted chards and unripe melons.  It doesn't look like a row because it has already become unruly, but there really is a row there somewhere.

Hales Best Cantaloupe    Orangeglo Watermelon    Banana Melon

Behind the melons and chards are more watermelons and then the weed patch.  Onions are waiting to be dug, parsnip seeds are drying, and a few strawberries are hidden among dandelion and poke sallet plants.  It's on the to-do list.

This is a mystery row.  I put the seeds in my pocket, forgot about them and washed my pants.  I didn't think they were viable but threw them out anyway - all sprouted.   Since the information was washed away, it may be spaghetti squash and "Hog Brain Peas".  Time will tell.

At the back of the mystery row, is another attempt at growing yellow squash.  A squash vine borer has already killed the first one I planted.  Alas, I will try once again.  It will stay under the fabric until it begins to bloom because hand pollinating proved to be undoable.  The blooms would open then close before I could reach them.  The white powder on the leaves and stem is diatomaceous earth which will hopefully kill the borer before it can kill the plant.

Row six beside the tomatoes is Dixie Speckled Butterpeas.

Next, are the two fenced rows of tomatoes.  The one on the right, row seven is the one that is too long and is rolled into a spiral on both ends.  One spiral holds cucumbers with a bright red, self-seeded amaranth poking out the top and the other side has Tahitian Butternut Squash.  

Cucumbers with a bright red amaranth, Tahitian Squash with a few tomatoes.

On past the tomatoes are the last two rows.  Mississippi Silver Cream Peas and an unknown variety of sweet pumpkin are beside the tomatoes.

The very last row beside the field fence has okra (with lettuce under the leaves) and tiny sweet potato seedlings between the okra plants.

The sweet potatoes have been a huge failure.  I bought them at a health food grocery store to root but they have been treated with some type of growth inhibitor.  They were labeled organic, obviously, they aren't.  Each one should be covered in vines since they have been sitting in water since March.  I am not happy.

Pathetic sprouts

For comparison, last year (2018) on this same day, these were the sweet potatoes in the row on the right beside the lawn.  Lima beans are beside them on the left.   At this rate, I probably won't get any sweet potatoes this year.

Lima Beans         (2018)         Sweet Potatoes

We aren't finished yet, now the tour moves to the back of the garden.  In front of the shed are Contender Green Beans (right side) and Black Crowder Peas (left side).

Then we come to another mystery area.  The first seeds planted didn't germinate because they were old (I think) so I bought new ones.  The new ones didn't germinate because I forgot to water (I think).  I have bought seeds (again) and will plant this area (again) for the third time.  

The arch has Yard-long green beans beginning to grow up the sides.  Buttercrunch lettuce is below in the shade.

These are the old chicken yard doors turned into a bean vine support.  Grape Fall beans are going up one side and Good Mother Stallard beans are on the front.

Front, Good Mother Stallard Beans      Back, Merlot lettuce

Inside the chicken yard door bean support is Merlot looseleaf lettuce.  According to the seed catalog's advertisement, it is the darkest red lettuce known (for once they were right).  It's a beautiful color and looks great in salads.

Merlot Lettuce

The second bean arch is in the far back corner of the garden.  Calico Lima beans are running up it.

The far back area in the deep shade beside the woods is the area full of the "assorted unknowns."  These are plants from the seeds I have collected over the years.  It seems, just throwing them out and letting them do their own thing works better than anything I have tried.  It's certainly less work.  Next year, I might do the whole garden that way.  After Bill plows, just dump all the seeds and let the strong survive.

I didn't realize how huge the garden has become until standing in the back corner taking pictures.  This is only June - it will grow bigger.  Yikes!

SCOOTER!  Did you dig up my bean seeds and eat them?  Is that what has happened?

Munch, munch.
Are YOU the reason I have had to plant them three times?

Uh Oh.
"No Mom!  Not me!  Absence of evidence doesn't mean evidence of absence.  Don't I look innocent?"

Additional Links:
Proof I started rooting the sweet potatoes in March 
March's Garden (2019)
To see other wonderful gardens from around the world, travel to Dorset and step  "Through the Garden Gate"