Updates in the Vegetable Garden (June 30, 2013)

I have many updates for you from our vegetable gardens this past month. Some plants have grown considerably while others have perished. With all the rain we’ve had this year, I’ve only watered the vegetable plants about three times. This has been nice, but it has also meant cloudy days. It would be nice for the plants to get some more sun! The weather has also been rather cool for this time of year. We’ve only had the air conditioning on one day this year.

The Tom Thumb peas took about 45 days from planting the seeds to having pea pods.

The Tom Thumb peas took about 45 days from planting the seeds to having pea pods.

I’ve had a lot of weeding to do within the vegetable gardens. Grass and clover are working their way in on the outsides, while dandelions and some other weeds are popping up from the inside. I’ve also needed to cut back and down the cover crops (buckwheat, oats, and peas) to allow more sun and water to reach the growing vegetable plants. The removed material has been added to the compost bin.

I brought up from the basement some plastic containers with soil from basement seedlings that hadn’t come up. I meant to add the soil to the compost bin, but while they were sitting on the patio awaiting that green mile, some of the ground cherry and swiss chard seedlings came up afterall. I transplanted these seedlings to the gardens.

Nightshade Garden June 30 2013

We harvested a few vegetables so far, mostly from my kids’ container garden:
* Swiss Chard: 128 g (sauteéd with lamb’s quarters leaves)
* Carrots: 66 g
* Nasturtium: 6 g

Here are the updated garden diagrams:

Vegetable Garden June 30 2013

New additions to the gardens this month included:
* swiss chard seedlings in garden (transplanted 6/11 from some surprise seedlings)
* more ground cherry plants (transplanted 6/11 from some surprise seedlings)
* zucchini (transplanted a couple plants 6/11 from one garden location to another to thin out)
* tomato cages (added 6/13 for the two tomato plants in the nightshade garden)
* tomatillo (transplanted 6/16 from a farmer’s market seedling)
* more chives (transplanted around the middle of the month from a farmer’s market seedling)
* ground cherry cages (added 6/24 to handle the hard rains)
* more ground cherry plants (transplanted 6/24 to the sunflower location from some surprise seedlings)

Plant-specific Updates:

Buckwheat Cover Crop: The white flowers are said to attract beneficial insects, and indeed, I’ve seen lots of little bees (parasitic wasps?) visiting them.

Oats Cover Crop: The oats started forming seeds last week, so I cut off top halves on 6/26. This has also let more light on the vegetable plants.

Peas Cover Crop: The peas have been grabbing onto other plants, so I’ve had to cut them way back close to the vegetables. On 6/26 they started forming white and purple flowers.

A broccoli flower growing.

A broccoli flower growing.

Broccoli: Hard rains on 6/21 and 6/26 bent the thick stems, but they are surviving. One of the broccoli plants is forming a flowerhead already.

Garlic: The garlic plant had raised some green tendrils above the ground, but they soon turned yellow and withered away.

Peas: I put up a bamboo teepee above the peas earlier this month, but it seems that the name “Tom Thumb” refers not to the peas but the height of the plant. Teepee removed. There are many pea pods almost ready to be picked. I’m sure they will be eaten quickly.

The red pepper plant has some buds.

The red pepper plant has some buds.

Peppers: The red pepper plant is growing larger and has some buds. The two chocolate pepper plants are still quite small.

Cucumber: The two young plants are coming along slowly. I moved a bamboo teepee over them in case they want to climb (once they’re big enough).

Cilantro: My daughter has been plucking off leaves to nibble on as she helps me in the garden. After some more growth, I’ll start picking some.

Chives: The chives are getting stronger. The new transplant had some purple flowers. I added mulch around the plants to keep the grass back.

Rhubarb: The rhubarb plant is growing larger. The neighboring clover weed is also growing larger so I need to add some mulch.

Hidatsa beans climbing a bamboo teepee.

Hidatsa beans climbing a bamboo teepee.

Hidatsa Beans: I put up a bamboo teepee above the beans earlier this month and the bean plants are really climbing! They have small flower buds and look to be doing well other than some mottled leaves near the ground.

Rosemary: Seeds did not sprout. The weather may have been a factor.

Thyme: The small plant did not make it. The Buckwheat cover crop may have grown over them and took away their sun before I could cut it back.

Nasturtium: The first plant is large and we have tasted a few leaves and a flower. I was surprised at how peppery and hot they are. My daughter enjoyed the challenge of taking little bites.

Two zucchini plants sharing a mound.

Two zucchini plants sharing a mound.

Zucchini: The six zucchini plants are growing large and forming flower buds, with the two recent transplants just a little behind.

Marigolds: The marigolds must be a short variety since they are not gaining in height. I’ve snipped off the flower heads a number of times and they grow more new flowers each time.

Mystery Flower: With no blooms yet, it will be a surprise to see what it looks like.

The Sun Gold cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen.

The Sun Gold cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen.

Tomatillo: The seedling is small yet.

Tomatoes from Church: Despite looking a bit sad at first, these seedlings appear to be growing stronger. They don’t have flowers yet.

Cherry Tomatoes: The Sun Gold and Sweetie have some green tomatoes growing. I thinned out a large hosta plant that was starting to impede upon the tomato plants.

Basil: The basil has grown a little but is still very small.

Ground Cherries: The three original seedlings are large with some lanterns hanging on them. Hard rains on 6/21 and 6/26 bent them over, but I added tomato cages for additional support. The cages are too tall, but they were what I had handy. The newer seedlings are quite small, but perhaps they will produce some fruit by the end of summer. The rabbits seem to be leaving them alone.

The ground cherries grow inside a paper-like lantern.

The ground cherries grow inside a paper-like lantern.

Sunflowers: There had been numerous little sunflower seedlings coming up, but they are all gone now. My theory is that the bunnies got them since I found a couple leaf-less stems. Perhaps I will try again next year with fencing. The maximillian sunflower variety would be interesting as it is a perennial and has some permaculture uses.

Swiss Chard: I planted some seedlings in the garden and they are toddling along slowly. A few did not make it and the other few are only about 3 inches tall so far. My kids’ potted swiss chard has grown immensely. We’ve already eaten some.

My kids' container with swiss chard and carrots (photo from June 11th).

My kids’ container with swiss chard and carrots (photo from June 11th).

Carrots: My kids’ potted carrots are growing. The several that we ate lived up to their “Short n’ Sweet” name.

I don’t have any set plans about where to go from here. As vegetables ripen, I will consider succession planting.

In the meantime, I hope you too are enjoying the first vegetables of the season! What’s on your plate today?

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