June 24 Garden Update

With so much happening in the garden every day, I have wanted to write this post for a couple of weeks.  But alas there’s just been too many other things to tend to.  So if you’ll indulge me, I’ve much catching up to do.  (I will, however, try to be pithy.)  😉

As the spring harvest begins to wind down, signs of the promise of the summer harvest are everywhere in my garden!  I discovered this lovely eggplant blossom and had to try to capture its beauty.  This is my first attempt at growing eggplant and this particular plant has nearly a dozen blossoms!  Looks like I’ll need to start digging around for some recipes since I’ve rarely cooked with it before.

Temperature are rising, but this salad mix lettuce is looking pretty good.  However, something is eating another variety I have planted.  I am new to the whole “bug detector” job, but I think it could be earwigs so I am planning to set some beer traps to see if my hunch is right.  Earwigs are attracted to the scent of beer so by burying some tuna cans so the rim is soil level and filling with beer I am hoping to catch and drown the little buggers!

There are just so many “firsts” in the garden this year since I added so many new raised beds.  This edamame is another example of something I’ve never grown before.  After planting just about everything I could think to plant this spring I still had room to grow more.  So, inspired by my daughter’s recent love affair with the nutty and buttery tasting beans, I decided it would be the perfect solution to my vacancy problem.

Our very first ripe tomato was ravaged by a critter, but happily this little guy came off the vine unscathed.

The sight of this little golden gem makes my mouth water as I reminisce about baked brie topped with Yellow Pear Tomato Preserves from last summer’s harvest.  I’ll be filling lots of mason jars with these beauties.

This brussel sprout plant along with two others ended up in my garden on a whim.  I am not really what sure what possessed me to hand over the cold, hard cash for these Brussel sprout plants that day in the garden center.  I still shudder thinking about the little green gag balls that haunted me so as a child.  I suppose I could blame the Food Network stars for making them actually look tasty after tossing them with olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and slow roasting them in the oven.  I suppose curiosity has gotten the better of me.

There are lots of “firsts” in this bed as well.  My original intention was to fill it with asparagus, but the garden center ran out of asparagus crowns before I realized I didn’t buy enough.  So I filled the balance of the bed with swiss chard, eggplant, nasturtium, and some cosmos.  Next spring I plan to fill the whole bed with asparagus.

Roma tomatoes and marigolds grace this all-important bed.  Romas are my favorite for canning and salsa making, as well as “sun-dried” tomatoes in my dehydrator.  The plants are loaded with blossoms and the tomatoes are starting to form.  Though the marigolds are supposed to help attract beneficial bugs while repelling the bad, I think their vibrant blossoms make the tomato bed look beautiful!

The very first of the sugar pea harvest.

Though this next bed is mainly a pepper bed, I have some sugar peas and cucumber plants climbing the trellis.  The pretty, tall, and spindly plant in the middle of the bed is an unusual variety of mint I found at the nursery.  I thought it would make a pretty centerpiece to the bed.

This next photo takes in a good portion of our raised beds though there much more to see to the right, outside the scope of the photo.  The bed in the foreground is home to cucumbers climbing the trellis, as well as lemon grass, nasturtium, tomatillo plants, a few different pepper plants, and brussel sprout plants.  Oh, and a lonely cosmos plant that survived my son’s wild weeding frenzy.  He plucked out the pretty little plants thinking they were weeds.  An honest mistake considering they had not yet blossomed.

You can catch a glimpse of our strawberry patch if you look at the bottom right of this next photo.  The long bed to the left may be the most interesting, and perhaps most doomed-to-failure bed that I devised.  All along the north side of this 4’x12′ bed are electrical conduit trellises.  My “brilliant plan” for this bed was to grow a variety of space intensive plants vertically, thereby preserving valuable growing room and allowing us to grow things we might not otherwise grow.  Now lest you think that I came up with this brilliant idea on my own, I cannot take credit.  The idea came from other more experienced gardeners and my square foot gardening book.

I have a couple zucchini plants at the far end of bed next to the trellis.  Then all along the length of the rest of the trellis, and growing like gangbusters, I have cantaloupe, watermelon, and pumpkin.  Brilliant, right?

Mind you, I knew the odds of success were stacked against me when I decided to try this.  I doubt seriously that my netting will withstand the weight of the heavier fruits as they grow.   Though I have seen photos of the fruit that were just dangling precariously from their stems, other folks devised little hammocks made from old pantyhose and T-shirts.  I figured, what the heck!  What can it hurt to try?

Thus far, all is well.  It’s the next part of my brilliant scheme that has me concerned.  While developing my planting map this spring I had the most brilliant idea of all!  Why not fill the balance of this long bed with some other vertically inclined plants such as corn and sunflowers?  Not only would there not be any competition for sunlight, but because of the location of this bed in relation to the others I thought it would be somewhat visually appealing as well.  Add to all this some bean and corn companion planting, with the beans providing the corn nitrogen while happily climbing up the stalks, all the while bearing fruit for our family dining pleasure.  Is there no end to my brilliance?

Um… There’s one tiny little problem with this plan.  If you’re a little quicker on the uptake than I am you’ve already deduced that these plants grow big and TALL!  I have allowed myself zero access to the trellised climbers from the front of the bed!  When the mammoth fruits begins to make their debut I’ll only be able to work from behind the trellis.  Um…. duh!  I can see it now.  My neighbors will think I’m finally totally off my rocker as they watch as I appear to hug my plants through the trellising in an effort to train the long vines up the netting and away from the corn and sunflowers.  Hopefully they are not nearly as interested in capturing interesting moments on their cameras as I am!

Rounding out my garden tour is my beloved herb garden.  This shot takes in at least four different varieties of my most favored herb: basil!  I’ve lost count, but I have at least seven different varieties growing throughout my garden.

This Thai basil is one of my favorites for making jelly.

In this area of the herb garden I have some sage, thyme, marigolds, shallots, parsley, leeks, lemon balm, and, just for a fun, a petunia.  The pretty pink petunia was leftover from my container gardens so I decided it would add a nice color pop to the herb bed.

Here’s what one of the herb beds looks like from atop the deck.

I planted lots of nasturtium this year and their vibrantly colored blossoms are starting to appear all over the garden.  These plants are not only beautiful, they are also edible and functional!  Stay tuned for a post devoted to these versatile beauties.

And last but not least, a tiny radish blossom.

I hope you enjoyed taking a tour of my June garden.  Feel free to leave me your thoughts or suggestions about what you’ve learned from your gardening experiences.  I’d love to hear from you!  Hopefully I’ll be a little more diligent with my garden updates going forward so there’s not quite as much to read… or write!

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One thought on “June 24 Garden Update

  1. Pingback: June Planting – Strawberries, Lettuces, Basil, and More | Seattle Foodshed

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