Friday, July 18, 2014

What's Happening In The Garden - Mid-July - Part 1


It’s been a month since my last garden tour and everything has grown by leaps and bounds.  The weather has been really nice during the day – not too much heat or humidity in the last week or so – just comfortably in the low to mid 20’s (mid-70’s F).  The nights have been unseasonably cool – down to 9°-10°C (48°-50°F). July started off pretty normally – hot with a ton of humidity.  But in the last few days I’m donning a sweater if I’m out in the evening…very strange.

Let’s start the tour with the herb bed.  On my last post, I talked about having to pull all of my basil plants as they had become infected with Basil Downy Mildew.  I am fairly limited in what I can grow in the now vacant spot that the basil had occupied since we are already half way through the season, so I decided to simply scatter some more dill and cilantro seed.

The dill and cilantro I sowed just over a month ago have really started growing well now.
 
Cilantro & Dill
 
The chives were the only perennial from last year that I transplanted into the new herb bed.  All of my other perennial herbs were replaced with new plants as they either did not survive the severe winter we had or were a bit ragged.  I purchased both lemon & common thyme, sage and oregano.

Lemon Thyme on the Left; Common Thyme on the Right
 
Purple Sage

Greek Oregano
 
My rosemary didn’t fair to well this past year.  Rosemary isn't hardy here so I have to bring it inside in the winter.  I have one of those blinking light gadgets that tells you when to water a plant (otherwise I will inevitably forget) and, of course, it malfunctioned.  So my rosemary dried out to within an inch of its life. I was able to keep it going, however, but just barely.  I generally transplant  rosemary into the garden during the summer, then dig it up & repot it before bringing it indoors for the winter.  I find that giving it a nice summer "holiday" from being confined in a pot really does wonders.  I didn’t get around to planting it into a bed until early July, but I’m hoping that the next couple of months in the garden, with lots of rooms to spread its roots, will give it some new vigor.
 
Rosemary
 
I had a bit of mint that was planted a couple of years ago in an overgrown, falling apart planter near our deck (that I really need to get rid of).  The mint didn’t do very well in the planter because it was being crowded out by lamium – never thought I would see the day when mint would have trouble competing in a battle for space.  This past week I transplanted a couple of shoots into a large pot that I placed near the herb bed.  Even though they look like practically nothing now, mint grows like a weed – literally – so I know that I will be harvesting some minty goodness in no time at all.

Peppermint
 
I also purchased and potted up some chocolate mint – one of my impulse purchases – and it smells heavenly.
 
Chocolate Mint
 
All of the beans are flowering & the Contender bush beans are starting to develop.
 
Baby Contender Bush Beans

The pole beans have reached the top of the 6’ trellis.
 
Pole Beans
Cherokee Trail of Tears & Golden of Bacau
 
Last year I had an issue with bacterial brown spot on the Golden of Bacau beans.  This year I am noticing that the lower leaves on those vines are not looking very good.  None of the other beans have this issue and the upper leaves on Golden of Bacau are still fine.  I’m not sure if this is bacterial brown spot or not; we will see as the season progresses.  If it is, then it’s likely that the seed is infected with the bacteria & I will have to find a new source.  These beans are soooo good, I would hate to do without them.

Golden of Bacau
Sneaky Suspicion that this is Bacterial Brown Spot - Again
 
All of my peas are finishing up a bit early, I’m sure in large part because of my poor trellising job.  I am leaving the rest of the tall climbing peas on the vines to dry out for next years seed.
 
Climbing Peas
All of these pods will be left to dry on the vine
 
The “bush” peas, Cascadia – which turned out not to be very short after all – are going to be pulled this week, after I harvest any stragglers.
Cascadia
To be pulled up this week
 

The Tyee spinach that I sowed a couple of weeks ago is still tiny, but doing ok.  No cutworms to speak of yet, unlike the last time.
 
Tyee Spinach
Seedlings are about 2 weeks old

The Swiss chard is doing well.  This bed is near a tree and a few of the branches extend right over the bed.  Birds, of course, love sitting on those branches.....and pooping....on the chard.
 
Now, I'm all for increasing soil fertility.  But even though I know I can wash it off and I always cook chard so bacteria really isn’t an issue, the thought of eating a leaf that had bird poop on it just didn’t sit right with me.  So I placed some folded up Agribon over the bed to keep the bird poop off.  The chard would likely be growing much quicker if I didn’t have the cover on it, but since it is one of the most prolific vegetables in the garden, I’m not overly concerned.


Swiss Chard
 
I have yet to harvest any carrots.  Based on days to maturity, I should be able to start digging them up in a week or so.  I will probably wait an extra week on top of that as this bed is in a shadier spot and they may take a bit longer to size up.

Carrots
Another two weeks to harvest (at least)
 
The lettuce that I transplanted outdoors two weeks ago is doing very nicely & should be ready for picking soon.  I still have a quite a bit of lettuce in the fridge from the last harvest, so the timing is working out quite well.

Pinares, Sierra MI and Simpson Elite Lettuce
 
I just transplanted a third round of rapini.  I’m still struggling with the timing on this one as I often forget how quickly it goes from seed to transplant.

Rapini & Collards
 
Not exactly the best photo, but I really didn't feel like uncovering the entire bed again.  You can see the collards on the top right of the photo.  I have sowed a new round of seeds indoors as the current planting is getting a bit tall for the netting.  Next year I plan to place the collards at the end of the bed so that I can simply cover them up individually as the stalks grow taller.  This year they are in the middle of the bed, so I can’t do this and keep the rest of the bed covered at the same time.  The empty space to the left of the collards has been prepared for the next round of Chinese cabbage (Joi Choi Hybrid) which is in the process of being hardened off this week.

The strawberries are basically done, although I am still waiting to see if the Fort Laramie's give me another flush of berries as they are supposed to be everbearing.  I have removed the netting, given the bed a good once over, removing dead leaves, spent trusses & weeds.  I also pinched off all the runners, so that more energy is directed towards the plants themselves, and will continue to remove them as they appear for the rest of the season.  This week I will also be giving them a good dose of liquid fish/kelp fertilizer.

Strawberry Bed
 
This past Tuesday, I uncovered all of the squash plants.  I had covered them with netting as soon as they were planted outdoors in order to avoid infestation from the squash vine borer, which I talked about HERETechnically I should have waited until Thursday to uncover them, but my largest plant was super squished and I figured I would take the chance.
 
As usual, all of my squash plants, except for one “Sure Thing” summer squash, are still pretty small.

"Sure Thing" Summer Squash
The one on the right is much larger than the one on the left & already producing squash
 
When I saw the whitish areas on Sure Thing, I first thought that they were powdery mildew, but on closer examination, I realized they were simply leaf markings.

The one larger Sure Thing produced 2 zucchini this week & there are a couple more growing.  I had planted WAY too many borage plants in the squash beds (in an effort to up the pollination on the squash, which was another issue last year).  I wouldn’t be surprised if competition from these also caused the squash not to grow as much as they should have.  So this week I removed two plants from each bed and trimmed all of the rest so, at the very least, they were not falling all over the squash plants.
 
Humongous Borage - AFTER Trimming!
Poor teeny tiny "Dark Green" summer squash plants beside it
 
And these are the Early Prolific summer squash, a yellow crookneck variety, as well as the only winter squash variety I planted, Gold Nugget:
 
"Early Prolific" Summer Squash
 
"Gold Nugget" Winter Squash
 
The vining Zucchetta Tromboncino is not as large as I would have expected either.  It does have flower buds developing, but none have flowered yet.

"Zucchetta Tromboncino" Vining Squash
 
The cucumbers are doing pretty well, even though the majority are still not being pollinated.  On the bright side, I finally noticed a few more bees buzzing around the borage.

One thing I didn’t realize about cucumber plants is that they each have more than one vine – I don’t remember this from last year at all.  The quarters are getting a bit cramped on the cucumber trellis and the smaller plants that I had to reseed to replace those that died after transplanting have not even started to vine yet.  Next year I definitely have to increase the spacing between plants to at least 18” instead of the 12” I used this year.

Cucumber Plants
 
Garden Sweet Burpless (F1) Cucumbers
 
Suyo Long Cucumber
The odd shape with one end being thicker than the other indicates incomplete pollination
 
Lemon Cucumber
(Which I picked & ate shortly after this photo was taken - Delicious!)
 
Whew...that is one long post.  You don't realize all the stuff that's going on in the garden until you try to document it all.
 
In Part 2, we will tour the pepper & tomato beds as well as alliums & a few flowers I decided to start from seed this year.

Till next time…

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

8 comments:

  1. I always love the look of carrot beds. Their ferny foliage is just so pretty. And I envy your cilantro. I wish I had seeded some recently. I wanted some for a salad today, but had to use my frozen stuff. Fresh is so much better.

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    1. Completely agree with the cilantro...when it's fresh it's just wonderful. The only time I don't notice that much of a difference is when I'm adding it to hot dishes such as Indian curries.

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  2. You have a great variety of things growing and do things so properly!! We are not keeping up to things and are taking some bushes out this year for less weeding. My Wonderful Gardener has neuropathy and it is getting harder for him to help. My sage died like yours. I bought a plant and put it in the ground and later moved it. Guess it was just too much for it. Funny about your swiss chard being fertilized! I didn't know that the reason one end of zucchini is smaller than the other is because it didn't get completely fertilized! I am growing a different kind but some of mine have been like that too. Your basil reminds me I need to try to make some pesto. Have never made any before. Nancy

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    1. I know what you mean about it being hard to keep up with the garden, Nancy - all the attention that I am giving the vegetable garden is evident in the weeds that are piling up in the ornamental beds....I really have to set a good day or two aside to deal with those before the weeds are bigger than the shrubs! I hope you do get around to making & enjoying some wonderful pesto!

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  3. Everything looks so healthy. It's been a terrific year for most things--I think the cooler temps help a lot (though not so with those heat lovers!!) I know my melons, etc are just sitting there waiting for a dose of warmth, but since we're only 6 weeks away from a frost, even a bunch of heat won't help at this point. But, I don't have the heart to rip up perfectly healthy plants. I'll let that frost do the "unthinkable"-LOL!

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    1. It has been a great year so far...knock on wood! Although the peppers have slowed down a lot as well since the cooler weather moved in. I wouldn't give up on those melons. The weather had been so strange the last few years that you never know - they may end up ripening after all.

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  4. It looks like in spite of bad bacteria and bird poop, that your garden is flourishing under the summer sun. It's been so moderate here that I don't even know what to think about my veggies garden. Love seeing yours.~~Dee

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    1. Thanks Dee - Mother Nature is probably trying to make up for the incredibly long, cold winter we had...and doing a good job of it too.

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