GROW: Garden Report - July 15, 2017

GARDEN REPORT – 7/15/17

Summer is in full force and my vegetable garden is producing beautifully. My investment of time, money and energy in protecting my raised beds from gophers was worth it.  The results of my soil test were excellent; rebuilding the soil in the beds has created a thriving garden with no disease and few pests.

IN THE GREENHOUSE: 

The green house is empty and needs cleaning. It should have its shade cover on, and there should be some vegetable starts for fall harvest but other activities took priority. 

IN THE GARDEN: 

Two beds in garlic that will be harvested in mid-July. Radishes and carrots are planted in between the garlic rows.   7/15 –UPDATE: Half of the garlic is pulled and curing in the barn; remaining garlic will be harvested this week. Carrots are coming along, radishes harvested long ago.  

Garlic curing in the barn - out of direct sun

Garlic curing in the barn - out of direct sun

One bed in peas that have had the hardest time germinating (very unusual). 7/15 Update: Girl... do I have peas! I think they taste best fresh but I will freeze and dry some for winter use.

peas

One bed in lettuce & turnips- directly sown7/15 Update: If you visited me, you would be asked immediately if you would like some lettuce to take home. Good thing I love salad.

One bed in Lacinto kale, Frizzy Lizzy mustard and Dragon Tongue mustard.  Red onion starts are planted around the edges of each bed.  7/15 Update: The mustards are pulled, and I am not sure how I feel about mustards. I made several cups of mustard pesto (froze in ice cube trays) and several sautés with the last harvest.  The onions on the bed’s perimeter were not a good idea.  They were shaded by the large leaves of the mustard and are, at best, limping along.  The kale is doing spectacular (except for the aphid visit – see below) and I would send some of that home with you too if you visited.

Kale after the aphids were eliminated

Kale after the aphids were eliminated

Two beds in broccoli, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts.  Edged in green onion starts. 7/15 Update: Harvested the smallish broccoli heads and will continue to harvest the small side shoots that will appear. Red and green cabbage are coming along with little insect damage thanks to covering them in the early spring.  Brussels sprouts had a visit from aphids and they were planted too close together so I trimmed a few of the leaves but will probably sacrifice one of them for goal of a healthy harvest.  I love the green onions and will be planting a lot more of those next season.

One bed in yellow storage onions. 7/15 Update: Looking healthy, a few empty spots in the bed means the starts did not survive.  But I don’t think I will grow storage onions again since I can purchase organic ones grown in my region.  I can use the bed to grow other vegetables.

One bed in fingerling potatoes. I don’t normally grow potatoes because I don’t eat them much but I bought a bag of organic fingerling potatoes that I put in the pantry and then forgot about them. When I pulled them out weeks later they had sprouted so into the garden they went. You can’t plant non-organic potatoes because they have been sprayed to prevent sprouting. 7/15 Update: Harvested a small amount and they are gorgeous though the yield seems a bit small. 

Strawberries and raspberries were moved to a bed that is not gopher proofed but it appears they don’t like the woody crowns and roots. At least so far… 7/15 Update: I ignored the warning about transplanting perennials in the heat and had to move my strawberry plants when I rec’d a gift of 12 asparagus plants. They are doing quite well though no berries this year because I have been removing the blooms to focus the energy on developing strong roots.

A neighbor dropped off 12 asparagus plants and they were planted into the former strawberry beds. 7/15 Update: All but one plant is in the feather leaf stage and all seem to be doing well. No harvest from them this year. I planted a bed with leek starts and they are doing well. Leeks are expensive in the grocery store, and I love them for soups in the fall.

Leeks

Leeks

The squash bed was created and planted: Laid concrete mesh panels to keep out the gophers and then sheet mulched to create the planting bed.  A layer of cardboard that I had been storing in the barn, a thick layer of composted horse manure, a layer of straw, a layer of native soil, a layer of more horse manure and topped with a layer of commercial compost.  I then planted sunflower seeds in the back, amaranth plants next, then another row of sunflower seeds (smaller sized) and then my Red Kuri squash plants, using seeds I saved from last year. 7/15 Update: The amaranth is thriving and starting to bloom. The squash plants have taken off and I have amazing pollination happening I have counted 20 fruits so far and plenty of flowers are still blooming.  Should be an abundant squash harvest. Only two sunflowers popped up and are growing.

Amaranth in the background, starting to bloom - Red Kuri squash kicking butt

Amaranth in the background, starting to bloom - Red Kuri squash kicking butt

My hugelkultur bed is the new home for my tomatoes and tomatillos. I have summer squash and cucumbers germinating for the THIRD time: mice in the greenhouse ate the first set of seeds, so I moved the seed trays out to table in the garden (uncovered) and the birds ate the emerging seedlings and so now they are covered!  7/15 Update:  The tomatillos are thriving with fruits starting to appear.  I predict lots of salsa verde in my future.  After sitting around in the soil for weeks, doing very little, the tomatoes have finally taken off. Flowers and a few fruits but tomatoes are are the prima donnas of the garden, making their dramatic appearance toward the middle of the garden show and then stunning us with their non-stop fruit production.  The cucumbers did not survive but 4 summer squash starts have been planted in the space that hosted mustards and garlic.  They are small, and will take a while to produce.  I can’t believe that I am buying zucchini in July!

My carrot-top experiment planted in my pollinator bed in the middle of my vegetable garden. The gopher discovered one of them and killed it.  I discussed this idea in a previous newsletter.

My carrot-top experiment planted in my pollinator bed in the middle of my vegetable garden. The gopher discovered one of them and killed it.  I discussed this idea in a previous newsletter.

The pollinator garden is fully planted with comfrey plants, mint, elecampane, bee balm starts, bronze fennel, sage, anchusa, lovage and my experimental carrot tops.  This bed is not protected from gophers, and this morning I discovered the limp greens of one of my carrot tops – the gopher is back (or perhaps he never left and yes, I assume it is a male).  The real star in this bed is the milkweed which is blooming and scenting the air with its incredible fragrance.

Milkweed flowers - their fragrance is incredible

Milkweed flowers - their fragrance is incredible

PEST CONTROL: Aphid & Homemade pest spray

I went on vacation and so the aphids came to visit the garden. They love the Brassicas: my kale and brussels sprouts had little colonies of aphids growing on them.  Yes, you can wash the plants with water to remove them but they will return unless discouraged.  Here's my simple solution for discouragement:

HOMEMADE PEST SPRAY

Fill a spray bottle with water. Add 1 tbsp of each: dishwashing detergent, garlic powder and cayenne powder. Shake until mixed.  After spraying with water and smooshing the aphids off the leaves, spray this mixture lavishly on all the leaves as well as on both sides of leaves.


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