Last updated on June 28th, 2015
HOW ARE YOUR VEGGIES PROGRESSING? Any troubles to report? My own kitchen garden, above, is at the “in-between” stage. This means the cool-season lettuce has retired, but the beans, broccoli and tomatoes are just starting their careers. My “farm report,” followed (I hope) by yours:
Here is a southern view of the Kitchen Garden. As you can see, I set a pot of lavender-pink, greenhouse-grown “Supertunias” in the urn which sits in the center of the garden. Flowers in a veggie garden are necessary in order to attract the bees, butterflies and other insects which pollinate the crops.
The Supertunias, up close and personal. Unlike regular petunias, these small-flowered hybrids are “self-cleaning” — there’s no need to deadhead them. I feed and water them daily (twice daily during periods of high heat), and they reward me with endless bloom.
My fall-planted, hard-neck garlic has produced its beautiful, curly scapes. I always remove these “flower” stalks in order to encourage further development of the bulbs below. The scapes are incredibly delicious — I turn them into a mean, green pesto. Not sure when to harvest or how to cure and store your garlic? Maybe my Garlic Sowing & Growing Guide will help.
This morning, after hearing that 94-degree heat is expected later this week — and not a drop of rain in sight — I mulched most of the raised veggie beds with chopped straw. This straw is specially heat-treated, and consequently virtually weed-free. It is easy to work with, and it really locks in moisture (always water beds deeply before applying the mulch.)
The bed above contains about 100 ‘Copra’ onions. Copra is an excellent storage onion. How I harvest, cure, and store onions.
My ‘Nutri-Bud’ broccoli is already making tiny heads. I planted this heirloom variety last year, too, and boy was it pokey. Perhaps the cottonseed meal I sprinkled on the bed at planting time in May has made all the difference.
Heirloom tomatoes — that’s ‘Cherokee Purple’ on the right — are moving slowly but surely. To encourage flowers, I feed my tomatoes just as I do my African violets — with a low-nitrogen, high-phosphorous “blossom-booster,” at the rate of one tablespoon per gallon of water. The application is made once every two weeks, or as needed.
Because the tomatoes are growing up a tee-pee trellis, I still had room in the bed for bell-pepper plants. I don’t know about you, but I can’t have enough bell peppers. I turn them into “piperade,” which I then freeze for winter-use. Peppers, I’ve discovered, also benefit from at least one application of “blossom booster.”
Also in the Kitchen Garden are ‘Sea Scape’ strawberries. I disbud these day-neutral beauties during their first 5 weeks of flower production. Yes, disbudding is a tedious job. But the reward is a continuous parade of large-size fruit right up until frost.
Also in the garden are potatoes, kale, dahlia-flowered zinnias (which haven’t budged in weeks) and…
Bachelor Buttons (Centaurea cyanus). I winter-sow these Centaurea cyanus each year, because they are among the honey bee’s best friend. I also plant them because…well, because I’m a sucker for blue flowers of all kinds.
There are even more veggies growing “downstairs” in the Herb Garden. We can look at those beds at a future date. Meanwhile, what I really want to know is…how are your own veggies coming along?
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Creating a Raised Bed Garden
De-Suckering My Tomatoes
Keep Monsanto OUT of Your Veggie Patch
Something has already made a meal of all my Kale! My early lettuce still doing well, but I don’t pull it, rather harvest a few leaves off each plant every day. We use salt marsh hay as mulch here in NH. Hard to find, but we put it up in the barn when there is a supply and it reminds us of the ocean every time we spread it. Scapes ready to be cut, can’t wait to try your recipe. What is eating my basil??? It looks terrible.
Louise A Brouillette says
I’ve been harvesting cucumbers for a couple of weeks. The peas and lettuce are finished, and the cauliflower is forming heads (I’ve never grown this before–any advice?).
I’m growing “Malabar spinach,” and it’s climbing up a trellis, and I’m almost ready to start picking its leaves (not a true spinach, but a heat-loving substitute).
The peppers have small blooms on them, and I have tons of green tomatoes. The other day I picked a couple of cherry tomatoes, and they were sooooo sweet! I’m in Zone 6.
I have raspberries, though not nearly as many as last year. I’ve been picking asparagus for about 6 weeks, though not very many stalks (also not so sure how to grow this). My blueberries are a complete bust–I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.
I love your beautiful gardens, and I can’t wait to read all of your updates!
Aimee Tate says
Your garden is BEAUTIFUL! Love love love the set up. I am so going to copy it. I have a tiny garden. I have several herbs, Rosemary (its about 4 years old and HUGE), chives, oregano, sage and parsley. I also have been growing butternut squash; it’s about done now. I harvested 3 butternuts. 🙂 I have to admit, this is the first year I’ve had any success with vegetables. I never knew there were male and female squash blossoms, I’ve eaten quite a few of those and was shocked, they were so good! I have and orange tree and a lemon tree, my lemon tree just sprouted from a seed so it will be some time before it bears fruit. BTW I’m in Central Florida.
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Paula – Salt marsh hay is marvelous stuff. Holes in basil: if the holes are large, slugs are probably the culprit. Sprinkle either garden lime or iron phosphate on the soil beneath plants. Iron phosphate, a completely natural, people- and pet-safe product, is sold as “Sluggo” at most garden centers.
Louise – Sounds like your garden is flourishing! Let us know how the Malabar works out for you — spinach has a too-short career in my climate, too. As for blueberries…in my experience, if you start with young plants, you need to disbud them the first year they flower. This encourages robust growth, and more substantial harvests in the future. Shrubs which were never disbudded rarely amount to anything. Beyond this, they need acidic soil (aluminum sulfate is one way to accomplish acidity) and plentiful moisture.
Aimee – Why, thank you! I’m with you on squash blossoms — they are delicious. Oh, to have lemon and orange trees. I’m jealous.
diane carlsen says
Here in Oregon we have Loads of snow peas, eating raspberries, strawberries, chard, kale, zucchini and wonderful potatoes. Love your website in every way! Thank you.
Donna B. says
Warning: I have a terrible case of Zone Envy~ Those in warmer climates should be omitted! Hehe! Citrus trees! Oh for the day I can grow a delicious orange…
Sadly for much of May and early June my garden has been neglected. I’ve been far too busy getting the backyard situated… [planning out new gardenspace and putting up fencing…] Although 90% of my veggie garden is in the front yard… but I was able to tear out and compost the leftover flowered/seedpodded radish, spinach, and weeds… oh the weeds. /cry
Veggie plants that went in: 36 tomato [spear’s tennesee, amazon, ananas noire, pink ponderosa and various cherry types], 16 eggplant [udmalbet, chinese long], 6 thai hot pepper, 6 jalapeno, 4 scallop squash, 4 butternut, 4 black futsu, 4 yellow crookneck… all in a L-shaped 400sq ft area.
I’m crazy, I know… I really tempt the gardening gods. This doesn’t add up the many OTHER plants that I have, hahaha!
Thank you for your writings to remind me of what to do. I will be cutting my garlic seed heads today because of your reminder.
We are freezing in the Puget Sound area (Seattle)…..please send some warmth our way. Our cool season vegies are doing well. Forget the warm season!
Your garden is so neat and pretty. I like your straw mulch. I also use straw as mulch but since it was not shredded my garden bed looks messy. Did you shred the mulch yourself? If so, how? I am in zone 6b, Missouri. My broccoli is all very tall, thick stems and large leaves but only two have produced decent heads; all others have no heads visible. With the heat in the 90s, they are done for the summer?
Your garden is beautiful. 🙂 We live in soCal, and have a bunch of dwarf fruit trees in pots because we are renting. The house does have loquat and persimmon trees, which we love! We planted lettuce from seed this year and it was a total bust. We also planted carrots and beets in the same bed, and those are doing ok. The heirloom tomatoes are still growing but doing good (just removed suckers 🙂 ) Someone gave us two squash plants, not sure what they are, but they are doing great, and it will be a fun surprise to see what they are. We also had about 10 volunteer tomatillos pop up in a pond form (turned raised bed), which was a nice surprise…but lots of work. I have hand-picked Mexican beetle worms and cucumber beetles off, only to wake up to powdery mildew all over…so frustrating! Will the dirt harbor the mildew? Should I get rid of it after this, or is there something I can do to save it? Love your site!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Diane Carlsen – Potatoes already? Lucky you!
Donna B. – You nailed it: Zone-Envy. But it sounds like you have quite a farmette where you are. And who knows, the way the climate is warming we might all be growing citrus trees (not to mention palm trees) in the not-too-distant future!
Franni – I don’t think you want the heat we usually get here in the Northeast. For it comes with thick, unbearable humidity!
David – Your broccoli might need a little more time. Some varieties are slower than others. Regarding straw — I buy it in a bag, already chopped.
beetree – To control powdery mildew, spray the plants with one part milk mixed with two parts water. This home-remedy has been proven effective the Univ. of Minnesota. Details here.
Louise A Brouillette says
Kevin, last night I picked some Malabar spinach for a salad. The leaves are very tender, and I thought that the taste was comparable to “real” spinach, though perhaps milder in taste. It’s growing wildly up a trellis, and I’m thrilled to be able to pick spinach all summer long. I’ll definitely plant this next year!
We have two types of tomatoes and they are growing like crazy! thank you for the de-suckering idea, they look a lot healthier than they did last year!
hopefully next year we’ll have a large veggie garden, until then i get to enjoy watching yours grow!
Kevin – any product recommendations on “To encourage flowers, I feed my tomatoes just as I do my African violets — with a low-nitrogen, high-phosphorous “blossom-booster,” at the rate of one tablespoon per gallon of water. The application is made once every two weeks, or as needed.”
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Louise – On your recommendation, I plan to try malabar next year.
Paula – Glad to hear (de-suckered) tomatoes are coming along well.
Lyn – I’ve tried many low-nitrogen, high-phosphorous formulas over the years. Just now I’m delighted with “Jack’s Classic Blossom Booster.” (NPK 10-30-20).
Louise Brouillette says
I’d describe the Malabar taste as a bit “greener” than real spinach. By that I mean, it tastes more like a wild plant, if that makes any sense! The salad I made last night with it was wonderful–I put in green grapes, feta, and dressed it with Asian Sesame dressing–perfect for a hot summer night!
Keep posting more of your garden–my dream is to visit it someday.
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Louise – The salad you described sounds awesome!
I love your beautiful pictures, your vegetable garden is so “orderly”.
I have pinned this page.
badger gardener says
The weather here is dry as a bone. I’ve even been watering my native perennials which I know I’ve never done before in June. I heard a warning on the news in conjunction w/ a burn ban to keep your compost piles wet as they are a fire-hazard. Makes sense. My spring crops are done. They did well except for my arugula which bolted before I harvested w/ our crazy up and down temps. Raspberries and blueberries will be ready soon, but I’m mostly waiting to see those tomatoes put on some growth. Dreaming of your tomato pie recipe I tried last year. Mmmmm.
I winter-sowed some watermelon, my first time trying this crop. Ever since I put it in the ground it just seems stunted. Hardly any growth at all. I’m going to add a little more fertilizer today in hopes that it will get going.
badger gardener says
I forgot to mention, the best thing about this gardening season is 2 of my immediate neighbors started vegetable gardens this year for the first time. So I have some immediate camaraderie, and people to chew the fat w/ over the backyard fence. I love seeing backyard veggie gardening spreading!!!!
Meryl Natchez says
Any idea what might cause lettuce to be bitter? It hasn’t bolted, looks great, but has a slightly bitter taste.
I have blight in my garden it has gotten my tomatoes and potatoes what can I do to save them? Anything? They came from different nurseries so I don’t think it was the plants that brought it.
just “harvested” my first new potatoes!! also have zucchini & cucumbers and lots of small green beans. hopefully,we’ll be picking them by the 4th of july!! my tomatoes looks great with almost daily watering. praying for rain!!!
My Copra onions – I have 128 in a raised bed – which we love, are going gangbusters. Peas are winding down – I plant Sugar Anns. They will be followed closely by soon-to-be-planted carrots and beets for a fall crop. The chipmunks have beaten me to all but five strawberries, in spite of a row cover. The Yukon Gold potatoes are budding, with some in blossom. My first attempt at potatoes. The plants, at least, are lovely. Below is still a mystery. Lettuces are beautiful now, and I just sowed a summer lettuce mix and more chard. Chard, spinach, and radishes from the cold frame are now spent. Lost my first cucumber attempt when two weeks of rainy, cold weather rotted the seeds, but the reseeding has resulted in some very vigorous looking baby cuke plants, now a week old. The asparagus bed is loaded with beautiful ferns after a nice long cutting season. I’ve never tasted such delicious, sweet asparagus as we’ve enjoyed this year – the first cutting year. I have those in raised beds in my potager, too. Today I’ll put the strings on my bamboo tripod for the French slicing beans to attach their tendrils to. We’ve fallen in love with these, and I’ll probably never bother with bush beans again. The flavor is so delicate, and the flesh so tender. OH, and how can I forget my tomatoes? They’re looking very vigorous, and today I’ll put on the cages. I’m planning to put up a bamboo trellis to tie them to, since they usually get blown about during storms, and they do get gigantic and outgrow those puny cages. I should also mention that the raised beds of my potager are made from granite cobble stones – 8×12″.
Kevin, I’d like to ask about the paths in your potager. Is it wood chips? I’ve tried chopped straw – Mainely Mulch, on both the paths and the vegetable beds, but found I had too many slugs with it, as much as I loved the look.
Anna Lapping says
My Cherokee Purple has already given me two ripe tomatoes, I’ve had several Black Cherry toms, as well as several Romas. The Better Boys and Brandywines are dragging behind. My sugar snaps have been out for a week or so, and I put Sluggo on the vacant bed to rid myself of a major slug infestation. Later this week I will plant my winter squash in that bed (Winter Queen Acorn).
The favas are finished and I will put more green beans in there, either Garden of Eden or Romanos. The okra and sweet potatoes are coming along with the advent of really hot weather this past week. The zucchini is producing, and the yellow squash is not far behind. I have one small eggplant, but plenty of blossoms on the plants. Cukes and peppers are just starting to produce.
Your garden is beautiful, Kevin, and I always strive for that, but mine turns into a riot of plants by mid-summer.
I’m in the middle of North Carolina. I have green beans (3rd picking already), lettuce, beets, cukes (just picked the first three), purple potatoes and chard, cherry tomatoes coming along great, spinach bolted already, a few volunteer basil from last year’s plant seeds. Green peas already gone due to heat stroke, LOL. Couple questions for you.
Strawberries – I have a 3 x 6′ raised bed of various provenance – some from Lowe’s/Home Despot, some from a friend’s runners, all several years old except the few I bought this year from Lowe’s. The older plants produced sporadically, if at all, but boy are they prolific in sending out runners! How can I make them produce more fruit without chemicals, and what about the runners – cut ’em off, or leave them attached?
Asparagus – I notice above that someone else is having issues. I love asparagus! Have planted two kinds (don’t ask me WHAT kind…) in a bed on the south side of the house. The bed is very rich in compost – more compost than soil – and I get really good growth of the feathery bits, but not so many spears. The spears I do get are usually very spindly. I collect a few at a time, stick them in the fridge until there are enough to grill or otherwise eat. What do I need to do to get the asparagus to produce better? Also, do I cut down the feathery bits or leave them be?
Kevin LOVE your site, it brings me great joy altho…it does make me a bit nostalgic…moved from New England areas to Santa Barbara, Ca. 36 years ago. The gardening is very differant, yet much the same…mulch etc. 78 and wheelchair disabled my avid gardening days have passed, but I simplified my landscape to mass plantings of ‘rosenka’ bougainvillea, and ‘petite pink’ oleanders, interspersed with beds of blue ‘peter pan’ agapanthas (lily of the nile), you would love the blue, and a beautifully flowering saucer magnolia tree as a centerpiece, m. soulangeana ‘vulcan’.
. Once established, all my dwarf & petites (selected to reduce trimming), grow twice and thrice their predicted size because of our rich clay soil and Mediteranean climate I have dwarf citrus, plum,and peach trees…my patio abounds with potted succulents, cacti and herbs…all in all I often get a WOW response from first time visiters.
My one high maintence area, is a beloved side yard rose garden that I can view from my living room window when I transfer into my recliner lift chair.. Life is good!
I now roll my driveway and some accessible paths with a pump bottle of viegar in my hand…that hint is PRICELESS…thank you!!! If I have anything else planted, I definately will have my mow & go gardener use the newspaper mulch.
I miss forsythia very much, but I do have a neglected poinsettia, happily, blooming away in a sunny corner.
Thank you for the blueberry recipe…this brought fond memories of picking wild blueberries with my grandmother along the western banks of the Charles river and she immediately baking the most delicious blueberry pies I have ever eaten.
Sorry Kevin, your site brings back soooo many wonderful memories that you got caught in what my children call my babbling fingers!!!
Love New England, albeit has been decades since I have been able to return…but…Santa Barbara is paradise!!!
LOVE your garden and like many others plan on copying some of it going forward! I got a late start getting “my” tomatoes this year ( I say “my” b/c hubby and I are having a tomato contest) so hubby’s are definitely a lot bushier and bigger than mine, AND he picked the more fertile side of the garden. Anyway, I plan on putting up the trellis you showed us with some bamboo from my MIL’s yard. Jalepenos are not looking great yet, but I’ve already had a couple to pick. Hubby (in his zeal at the garden ctr and not paying attention) bought EIGHT yellow squash plants which I removed a couple before they took over the whole garden! Plus I needed some zucchini there! Cuc’s are doing well so far as well as bean plants. My herb garden is doing beautifully, my oregano especially came back this year with a vengeance! Oh, also last year I planted some pineapple sage which got HUGE and let it go to bloom and was rewarded w/some gorgeous red spiked flowers early fall. Sadly we are too far north for the hummingbirds to enjoy (they had already left town) but some of you southerners should try it. I actually planted two out front of the house for their shrub like behavior plus those great flower spikes.
Lastly, I am definitely going to do the newspaper mulching. OMG, there is nothing I HATE more than pulling weeds and have to admit I get VERY lazy late in the season!
Take care all,
Lori Winstead says
I am from NH, and something ate all my Broccoli and are eating the peas, The Broccoli, they ate they head first and now all the leaves are gone and all that is left is the main stalk, What could it be that is eating these?
Anne B says
Missouri 6b here. Hot!! Have to water a lot! Broccoli done. I let the last one flower because the bees love it so much. Still some lettuce. Tomatoes, but none ripe. Peppers doing well. Lost all our peaches to Brown Rot 🙁 Our garden is much more orderly this year…in separated beds, but made with rustic “found” materials. Kevin, your garden pics are gorgeous. David, you must have a different variety of broccoli. Hope it stands the heat! Good luck. If not, try again in the fall? Watch out for cabbage worms…they were terrible this year. Everybody, enjoy your garden.
Mary Jane says
Hi, Kevin. My garden is doing great! Everything has come up beautifully…corn, zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, watermelon, peppers, pumpkins…except my green beans. I planted them at the same time as the corn, and nothing happened. Not a single sprout. I just planted them again, but I’m concerned as to what the problem might be. I would hate to go through the garden season (and all winter, since I can them) without a single green bean. Any thoughts?
Gay Ayyagari says
And I have garlic! Saved large cloves from last year’s csa offering. It has outdone itself. The garlic pesto recipe is great. But I left a couple of scapes on the plant. Was told that when scape points straight to sky it’s time to dig. I had been watching them this past week and sure enough today they pointed straight to the sky–I dug and lo and behold! It’s hard neck so now I have to dry them for storage. What fun.
SW Wisconsin 4B. In prior years I had grown mainly tomatoes, peppers, and herbs; but I got more ambitious this year.
I have two 4×8 raised beds that have a variety of tomatoes (all with blossoms, a few tomatoes a little bigger than golf balls so far), peppers (several blossoms, a few miniscule peppers), bush beans (no blossoms yet, but I put them in late), leaf lettuce and spinach just starting, red and yellow onions, eggplant (growing like crazy, no blossoms yet), zucchini and yellow squash (starting well, no blossoms yet), and cucumbers (growing slowly). I also have 6 large pots with an assortment of herbs: mint, sage, basil, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, rosemary, chives, dill, thyme. All doing OK, none spectacular.
I’m already making plans for next year, making note of some of the specific varieties I’ve read abouot here. I also want to try a few more new things: bulb fennel, peas, garlic, asparagus, maybe strawberries or raspberries.
kt mm says
Wow! I must say, I have a LOT to learn. Thank you SO much for sharing your wonderful tips and pictures. My so-called “garden” was ravaged by a squirrel. The thing that amazes me is that the bean plants which it ate all the leaves off completely are sending out little green leaves again. They just don’t want to throw in the towel. The squirrel or his friend, rabbit, ate the tops off my carrots….TWICE. The carrots resiliently defiant, too, they send up more greenery even among the weeds of my discouragement. So….sometimes weeds can be a good thing, keep the sweet carrot tops hidden. LOL. What have I gotten so far? A nice bunch of spinach, and snap peas are very happy and productive. Little white onions are keeping my peppers from getting mangled. And, since my compost consists of my kitchen salad scraps, I have two renegade tomato plants. I’ve never had luck with tomatoes, so I don’t try anymore, but the plant world is so amazing, they just come up on their own. Thanks again! 🙂
I don’t have as lovely a setup as you do Kevin, but here in Northern NJ my tomatoes are going crazy already! My Sungold cherry (a hybrid) is already at almost 6′ and it’s only June. All my others are heirlooms, and I’ve gone a little crazy here since much of my yard is shaded, I simply created more garden spaces in the sunny spots. My raised beds are doing fabulous and all the other tomatoes are doing quite well too. Zucchini is slow growing, and cukes are flowering,so I’m hoping for lots soon. We have a lot of slugs here so my lettuce was all in pots on the deck and did quite well. Am attempting a watermelon (Orangeglo) and a pumpkin, Jarradale, which is simply going to have to ramble wherever it can find room (lol).
Please show more pics of the garden as it progresses!
Enjoy your garden info and pictures. I’ve been having fun in my gardens. We’ve been eating lots of romaine lettuce, kale, peas, blueberries, and some strawberries (fighting chipmunks and squirrels). I ate my first raspberry today and am looking forward to more. I picked my first large cabbage yesterday and made soup out of it. That was tasty. The potatoes have bloomed but I haven’t dug any new potatoes-prefer to wait until they are larger. I, too, am growing copra onions–a first for me and malabar spinach. I read that the copra onions store very well. My tomatoes are still green, my green beans are blooming, and my black coco beans are blooming. I’m trying some unusual plants this year: oca, yacon, and Chinese yams. All of these form tubers that are edible. The first two plants are in my new forest garden (permaculture garden.) Lots of new fruits were planted this year, too. currants, gooseberries, more blueberries, aronia, salal, lots of alpine strawberries, goji berries…These will need some time to grow, but I am looking forward to future harvests. Happy gardening to one and all.
What a beautiful garden you have. I love receiving your newsletters and digging through your blog for inspiration! As for my gardens, I’m in good ol’ HOT/DRY/HUMID Arkansas, and rabbits wiped out my two plantings of green beans. Until I can get a nice fence around my gardens, I won’t be replanting them. I have 30 tomato plants – Better Boy, Floradel, that new pink seedless, Ozark Pinks, and cherry. I also have a volunteer that appears to be a grape tomato. My cucumbers are doing rather well as are two zucchini’s. I have harvested some okra (seeds from my great uncle in Monroe, LA). There are also bell peppers, chili peppers, ahaheims and jalapenos that are slowly coming along.
I had sugar snaps, carrots, and broccoli for the first time in my garden and they all did very well – of course, they are long gone. I have planted zipper peas, but the germination has been spotty. Will try to plant those again, the rabbits haven’t discovered them or they don’t care for them.
Thank you for your beautiful blog!
Zone 6 southeastern PA
Harvesting lettuces, snap peas, shell peas, rhubarb and raspberries galore.
Onion patch is the best ever.
Three types of garlic, 75 heads, are curing on screens in the cool garage.
Chives, thyme, sage, mint, basil and oregano are standing by to jump into culinary dishes on command.
Tomatoes are nearing the tops of their cages, peppers are enlarging, pole beans are one foot high on the 8 foot trellis, bush beans are expanding nicely.
I mulch a lot with pine straw, but I also use my own ornamental grasses which were cut down in February, run through the chipper and stashed temporarily in bags for summer use as homemade straw mulch for vegetables. It is attractive and free. (Birds love to build nests with it, too.) At the end of the season, the straw mulch goes into the compost bin, its third reincarnation.
I really look forward to reading my newsletters from you. Here in Australia, just south of Melbourne, we are having a really cold, wet winter. I have planted garlic in a big way this year and it is all coming along really well. ( Well, I think so as cant see the bulbs, but all looks good).
With the cold and soggy conditions the garden is moving along very slowly, bit I have harvested my first broccoli, hey! My main project at the moment, however, is raising my 18 chooks (chickens) I have had from day old. They are seven weeks old now and are really healthy, I am very pleased. Look forward to trying your blueberry bars. You are very inspiring 🙂 Olive
Syl Grant says
Oh your garden is beautiful and so much neater than mine. Makes me want to get out there and do some more work. 🙂
Zone 6b near Tulsa, OK. I’ve had more success this year with container growing. Didn’t grow much but I think next year I’m going to try the raised bed so my tomato plants have more room.
I’ve grown 3 Romas and have lots of fruit, although they are small – think it’s the container holding them back and maybe because I read your tip about cutting them back a bit late in the game. But I’m not complaining because this is the first year (after about 4 tries in a row) that I’ve actually had a harvest! I grow basil in the same container and have to keep cutting it back.
I’ve also grown jalapeno peppers and bell peppers. Plenty of the hot, nothing happening with the other.
My cilantro died out but my rosemary and oregano are fighting who gets the pot to themselves!
Last night I made my salsa with the tomatoes, basil and jalapeno I plucked from the garden. YUM! My mint is going to take over the whole yard someday! I did dry some out so I can have mint tea.
I have strawberries but I think there’s a couple of squirrels eating them because I always find half eaten ones left. I planted a couple of blueberry bushes this year and didn’t pluck all the buds – I wanted to taste at least a couple from the bush – but when I went to water the other day noticed that the one bunch was completely stripped. Later saw my dog (who LOVES blueberries) sniffing at the bush and realized who THAT culprit was. Grrrrr. Same dog who doesn’t mind the squirrels visiting the porch, the same area that my strawberries grow. Grrrr again.
I feed my plants Epsom Salt. It’s the cheapest item and does a great job. I would like to know a way to spray for bugs without any harsh chemicals. I’ve heard soap and water but haven’t really found that very effective.
FOR ALL THOSE GREEN BEANS …..
I made these this weekend and thought I would share. Very easy & Delish !
PICKLED DILLY GREEN BEANS
PREP: 45 MINUTES COOK: 5 MINUTES PROCESS: 5 MINUTES MAKES: 5 PINTS
For the best flavor, let these garlicky beans stand in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks before serving or sharing.
3 Pounds Fresh Green Beans
5 Fresh Red Serrano Chile Peppers (optional)
3 Cups Water
3 Cups White Wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Pickling Salt
1 Tablespoon Sugar
3 Tablespoons Snipped Fresh Dill or
1 Tablespoon Dried Dill
½ Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
6 Cloves Garlic, minced
5 Small Heads Fresh Dill (optional)
Wash beans; drain. If desired, trim ends to fit jar space with ½ inch headspace. Place enough water to cover beans in an 8-quart kettle or pot. Bring to boiling. Add beans and, if desired, fresh chile peppers to the boiling water; return to boiling. Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Drain.
Pack hot beans lengthwise into hot, sterilized pint canning jars, cutting beans to fit if necessary and leaving a l/2-inch headspace. Place one hot pepper (if using) into each jar so that it shows through the glass. Set aside.
In a large saucepan combine the 3 cups water, vinegar, pickling salt, sugar, the 3 tablespoons fresh dill, crushed red pepper, and garlic. Bring to boiling. Pour over beans in jars, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. If desired, add small heads of fresh dill to jars. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids. Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 5 minutes (start timing when water returns to boil). Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks.
PER ½ -CUP SERVING: 42 cai., 0 g total fat, 0 mg chol” 357 mg sodium, 7 g carbo” 3 g fiber, 2 g pro,
Addy Rae says
Looking at your garden makes me feel much better about mine… especially the size of my bell peppers! I’ve still got lettuce going, and my potatoes have taken over their corner! We had to plant them in pots this year because last year the voles and other such small critters ate them. They hollowed out each and every potato! Thank you for sharing this!
Love your website! Your gardens, house, and recipes are all inspiring 🙂 So, I’m in zone 6b/7 (Cincinnati) and have a small kitchen garden with 12 tomato plants, zucchini, green beans, onions, beets, potatoes, corn, peppers, herbs, carrots and lettuce, spinach and kale. The rocket is done, and has gone to seed, as is the spinach. I planted a mesculin lettuce in the shade of my asparagus (also done!) and it’s doing really well. I had my first beet harvest this weekend, which are now all pickled and in the cool cellar to be used this winter. My tomatoes are all green, bush beans are in flower, corn is about 3.5 ft high, potatoes have bloomed (2 weeks ago), onions that were overwintered have been picked and hung to dry. I’ve had 2 cucumbers.
I do garden organically, and companion plant. However, I also have a bottle of Seven, which i only get out for one thing only: cucumber bugs and squash beetles. I seem to have an infestation of both. No matter what I do, they are back every year. I keep the garden tidy and clean so they shouldn’t have anywhere to overwinter. I’ve planted a plethora of nasturtiums, but they seem to still find the plants. Do you have a natural remedy for these pests? I have a large patch of lavender close to the cucumbers, and the bees love it. I hate to use the seven, but it’s either that or just not plant anything in the cucurbit family..Help!
Hi Kevin 🙂 Our garden is doing very well! Tomatoes are growing strong, and the ones I started in buckets in the basement in the spring already have fruit on them (when we put them out, they were already 3′ tall). My lettuce is actually doing great — I have a row of merlot, and romaine, and I have been taking the outside leaves of the romaine before they get too green, and cutting back the merlot each time it gets about 3-4″ and it just keeps coming. So many good salads. Pulled in a bunch of basil as well, and I put it in a vase where it lasts a few days, so tonight using some for a Thai steak/basil salad I found in Cooking Light. Pesto for the resto. (hah).
Beets are up, chard is up, have some baby tomatillos on the vine and I finally have sunflowers that are coming up well this year as well as nasturtiums and borage (though I do have Japanese beetles on the sunflowers, and have killed some cucumber beetles down there, too). Three hardy Dragon’s Egg cucumber plants are going crazy, so I trellised them and my butternut squash I put in one of the flower gardens this past Saturday. Eggplants look good, too. We planted 4 rows of corn late, but I think we’ll do okay, it’s about 6″ tall now, and I have to get out there and fertilize it.
Overall, I am very happy with how the garden is growing this year — it seems like it’s all matured much faster than previous years… My carrots are coming up a little sparse, and I did wonder if I can cut beet greens for salads before pulling the beets?
Mauri in Syracuse
Oh, and to add: mulching with thick straw, using nastrurtiums, french marigolds, and cups of beer have seemed to take care of a lot of problems…few weeds (though some grass coming up from the hay) and not nearly as many bug pests/slugs as usual — the beer catches a lot!
bonnie fuentevilla says
What type of wood/lumber ? do you use for your raised beds ?
bonnie fuentevilla says
Kevin, I found the answer to my above question and more groovey info, when i read your post regarding ” raised beds “. COOL.
Anne Efron says
Just harvested my soft neck garlic – my gardening book says to dry in the sun. The instructions from Seed Savers (where I bought the cloves) says to hang in cool, shady, well ventilated space for 4 – 6 weeks. I live in Baltimore. There is no dry place, per se. What do you do?
My potatoes are just about to bloom, my peas are producing, but the 90 degree heat last week made my spinach bolt, and *something* has eaten every. single. one. of my carrots. Both seedings. Slugs are bad too… but the two tomatoes I have in big pots are doing fine (‘PIneapple’ and ‘Garden Peach’), and the herbs on the front porch are thriving!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Julianne – Sometimes the only way to protect cucumbers and squash from pests is to cover the plants with a floating row cover. (you can find these at most garden centers). Remove the cover when the plants flower.
Mauri – Yes, you can enjoy beet tops before you harvest the beets themselves. Just be sure to keep a few leaves attached to each root. And stay tuned…a recipe for stuffed beet leaves coming soon!
Anne Efron – I manage my garlic harvest this way.
Denise in Colorado says
My first ever high mountain veggy garden was doing great until we had to evacuate Sunday from Cascade because of a horrible wild!fire! We are fine, staying in Colorado Springs with family but I’m worried about my garden with no one to water it and 100+ temps! We finally had a couple of afternoon sprinkles so I hope some do my garden will survive until they let us go home! I am thankful to the firemen and planes dropping water on the fire to save our homes… And, if I have to start over with a new garden next spring, I will continue to enjoy your website for inspiration! 🙂
My midwest garden is doing pretty well considering my rather late-ish start this year. We just built the raised beds and I sorta planted things as we got them done.
My started-from-seed beefsteak and cherry tomatoes are almost as tall as I am now. There are several green tomatoes on each plant and some fo the cherries are turning orange. I can’t WAIT for TOMATOES! GAH! Sometimes I think they’re just toying with me.
The eggplants are doing fantastic. I tried starting them from seed this year for the first time. It was touch and go…then I had to start them again after the first batch mysteriously died overnight. I don’t actually eat the eggplants but I find them very attractive plants and the fruits are beautiful. The seeds I got were a mixture of ‘four or more varieties’ in one packet. I can’t wait to see what I got. My luck, they’re all the same. 🙂
The peas are done! After spending a few weeks wondering if I’d even have any blossoms, last weekend I harvested a big freezer bag full of snap peas. That doesn’t seem like much, but it was only 2, 8 foot long rows so I’m quite pleased.
I planted the pole beans late so they’re just now getting up to the top of the trellis. No blossoms yet.
Guess I could go on for awhile here…
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Denise in Colorado – My heart goes out to you and others in your area. I hope the fires are extinguished soon, and that you are able to return to your home and your garden.
Lori – Sounds like your garden is thriving — kudos to you. Sometimes it pays to start a veggie garden closer to July than May. Why? Because fewer insects are trying to lay their eggs then, and consequently fewer plants are bothered by pests. Would you believe I planted my cucumber seeds only this morning? The late start is an experiment to find out if I can outwit the cucumber beetle!
This is probably the saddest looking garden I have ever had! But, my heirloom tomatoes (one pack, many types) seem to have finally caught their stride. The blue lake stringbeans have gone wild, and when I get home I will have to unwind them and then set them over the rails to grow. My pepper has done well from the start. Pummpkin, gourds, squash? At this point, who knows.
My BLue Moon hybrid rose was really lavender colored, not blue. I love it anyway.
My garden is crippling along.. I was late to get some plants started, late to get into our community garden & the dry spring has been murder.
On the other hand, I got okra to come up this year.. the first time in 14 years that it made it.
Im a Texas transplant (14 years) and just remain stubborn regarding it. 😉
I put a bit of seed my dad gave me in a food processor & pulsed it two or three times and then soaked it in hot water from my Keurig coffee maker for about an hour before I planted it.
That did the trick. I planted some other I got at the garden center and didnt do any of that to it, and not one of them came up. Its been abnormally hot & dry here so the okra is happy. 🙂
Everything else is coming up and racing along to produce.. its just slower than my neighbors at the community garden. I have a few things in pots here, a tomato that is almost above my head, and lots of leafy greens, strawberries & a few other plants that never got put in the ground.
My chard is just about done going to seed & I dug up all my garlic last week so I’ll have a little bed to put the extra plants in.
I planted a Chicago Hardy Fig a few days ago & plan to transplant some asparagus, blueberries, and rhubarb into a long thin bed since they’re too crowded in their current homes.
Im thinking its going to be a great gardening season.
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Mary B – Seems this will be a great season for peppers. Happy to report that mine are thriving, too. Give your winter squash more time — in my experience they are slow as molasses until August.
KimH – Your okra story is fascinating. Sounds like the seed must be tortured before it will germinate! And thanks for the reminder: I must harvest my garlic this week!
Hi Ricki, I used your idea for mulching between my raised beds….my veggie garden looks beuatiful and it is very easy to spot and grass or weed and thus nip it in the bud, litterally!!
I am in So. Cal., and I am already getting plenty of round de nice squashes, the tomatos are still blooming it will be a while til I get to taste them, I’ve been able to harvest a few cukes, and I am still waiting on the corn, sugar peas, peas, potatoes, watermelon, cantalopes. I don’t mind the wait, it is very nice to do my daily rounds and see how much everything is growing.
do you have any advice for hydrengeas? My babies are looking very sad.
health benefits of beets says
You can add almonds if you want a milky-looking smoothie or shake.
The last thing you want to do is gorge yourself on fast
foods, donuts, burgers, fries, and pizza. This should never be a Band-Aid for not putting forth the effort that getting ready for an event requires.