Is it the end of June already? By the looks of our garden… yes. Yes it is. Our garden is looking nice and delicious, many of our plants are just on the brink of harvest. Each row is flourishing with dark green foliage, flowers and fruits of our labor. Well, mainly Zach’s. He’s been doing a great job of keeping a steady schedule of pest and insect management, weed control and watering when Mother Nature hasn’t been. Before you know it, it’ll be harvest time, selling time and (our favorite) eating time. Here’s a quick look around the garden:
First stop, our okra row. Our okra on the furthest end of the row is looking quite healthy and already has some baby okra coming in. However, the okra in the foreground is a little stunted. Possibly because of poor drainage, possibly because of pests. Who knows. But in a few weeks we should be frying up plenty of fresh okra.
Next, our bush snap beans… or green beans. These plants have beautiful tiny, white flowers that are starting to form pods. One of our favorite canning recipes is our homemade dilly beans so as soon as these little guys are mason jar size, that’s where they’re going!
Moving down the line is our cucumber row. Now, we were off to a rocky start with our cukes this year but now they’re showing signs of promise. A word to the wise: Using hills with a drip irrigation system can be really tricky. Especially when you plant before putting the drip system in. But a combination of transplants, direct sowing,Â soilless fertilizerÂ and some TLC can really do wonders. Speaking of TLC… remember when the TLC network stood for “The Learning Channel?” What happened?! I digress. We’re growing two varieties of cucumbers; a slicing variety and a pickling variety. We went with bushy plants vs. the vining plants. It saved on time, space and resources.
Our tomatoes are looking great! We have roma, cherry, slicing and heirloom varieties coming in. It’s tempting to stand out in the garden with a salt shaker and just wait for them to ripen. Some of the clusters are so large that it almost looks like the green cherry tomatoes are grapes.
The pepper row is a fun one. We have peppers ranging from mild (sweet bell pepper) to ay yi yi (habanero). We’re already seeing some baby bells, banana peppers and pepperocini coming in. They’re loving this nice heat wave we’ve been having. I’m glad something is enjoying these 95 degree days… sheesh!
Summer squash might be my favorite plant to look at in the garden. Their leaves are like massive elephant ears and the squash blossoms are so delicate and colorful (and quite edible). There’s a few yellow squashes that are ready for the picking so Dave and Zach harvested one just for quality control… I think it passed inspection!
The next two rows are our pumpkin and melon rows. We’re training the vines to grow in line with the bed so they don’t get all crazy come August/September when there’s massive fruits growing in them. I can just see it now, we’ll be walking through the garden and the pumpkin/melon vines join forces, gain mutant plant strength and grab our ankles and turn us into one of them or something. Ahhh!!! I need to stop eating ice cream before bedtime. Anyway, we’re growing smaller eating pumpkins, watermelon and cantaloupe.
The next row is kinda a free for all.. we have tomatillo, eggplant, ground cherries and sweet potatoes all in one row. It’s our little experiment row, seeing as how we’ve never grown any of these veggies before (with the exception of our sweet potato attempt last year.. foiled by deer). Our tomatoes and ground cherries are starting to form inside of these cute little paper lantern-like husks. I already know that these will be a favorite this year, next year we’ll have to make some more room for a ground cherry/tomatillo expansion!
Next in line is our edemmame successions. I’m really excited about growing edemmame this year. In order to savor the harvest, we’re doing succession plantings of them so we’ll get a steady harvest every 10 days or so. When one section is done, we’ll begin planting our fall crops in its place.
We have one row of winter squash (butternut and spaghetti). Very tasty and very healthy not only for us, but also for our chickens! The flesh and seeds of any type of vegetable from the squash family acts as a natural de-wormer in chickens. So they’ll be getting our leftover squash that’s too small to sell or eat.
Last but not least, our kale and leeks. The kale isn’t looking too photogenic right now because we’ve been harvesting it like crazy! We’re in love with this Italian heirloom variety. It’s a large, flat leaf type that’s easy to clean, easy to cook and produces leaves as big as your head! We should get another few weeks of harvest out of these plants, then we’ll till it in and transplant our fall crops.
All together that’s 17 types of vegetables, 33 varieties and 13 rows… totally 7,500 square feet of homegrown, sustainably grown delicious vegetables!