Saturday, July 6, 2013

Garden Mid Summer

Our garden is in full swing and I am in that blissed out state that my fellow garden junkies understand completely. Here are some updates on what is happening. Click on a picture to enlarge it.

Above is a shot from the back porch taken June 30.

An early butternut squash, about 4 inches. We have about 12 plants this year. They are spreading out all over the garden. In a few weeks, we will be stepping over them. These are wonderful squash- Waltham Butternut. They store all winter. We finished our crop from last year in March.

A patch of Bright Lights Swiss chard. We always plant this variety and harvest it from about May to November. We use it like spinach, and freeze a bunch. It handles the weather extremes well. If I can get my cold frame built in time, I will try growing some this winter.

After the spinach was harvested, we planted buckwheat for a cover crop. A cover crop is grown not for harvest, but to enrich the soil. They are also great for preventing soil erosion. The idea is to grow a cover crop when a bed is empty and chop it down before it sets seed. It will decompose into the soil. Buckwheat grows very fast and within a month is beautiful. When it flowered, we cut it off at the base and let it stay in the bed like straw. It is now being covered by the butternut squash planted at each end of the bed. After the squash is harvested in the fall, we will plant a new bed of strawberries in that bed from the daughter plants grown this summer.

The herb garden in early June, edged with yellow alpine strawberries.

Nearly every day, I get a bowl of berries from our garden! Above are the last of the blueberries and the first of the raspberries. Blackberries are next.

Our thornless blackberries (Triple Crown) are about to explode. We have a patch about 15 feet long and 8 feet tall covering the south side of our garage.

Our side garden with blackberries (along wall), sweet potatoes (center), bush beans (left), and blueberries (right). The bush beans followed a spring broccoli crop. The blueberries are wrapped in nylon mesh to keep the birds from eating every last one. It worked and we had a great harvest this year.

Our row of 9 tomato plants edged with basil. We planted 10 more tomato plants in other locations- wherever we could squeeze them in. It's hard to have too many tomatoes. We freeze and share them.

Yellow and red onions are about ready to harvest. The yellow variety are mostly Stuttgarter. The red are Red Bull variety.

Ichiban eggplant and bush zucchini grow in pots on our porch. This means more watering, but it's such a joy to have them right outside the kitchen door.

Volunteer sunflowers-we had dozens- keep the bees happy. They also attract yellow finches and give a little shade from the hot afternoon sun. They grow with no effort on my part. What could be better?

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