I’ve been out in my garden a ton lately, getting the fall crops going, transplanting the last of the summer crops, and in general attempting to tidy up from a year of garden neglect.
Here’s where the garden stands as of late June 2013.
Things are starting to really fill in. Many of my beds are still covered, and those housing peppers and eggplant will probably stay that way all summer.
We are harvesting a wide variety of crops now, finally, including new potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, salad greens, snap peas, radishes, green onions, garlic scapes, herbs of all kinds, strawberries, cherries, raspberries and the earliest blueberries.
The front container display garden is still pretty weak, but a few more weeks and a few fall transplants and it should be more lush.
This bed was planted in earliest spring greens and kholrabi. This past weekend I yanked what was left of those crops out and transplanted in peppers and cukes. Here’s hoping for some heat this summer so this bed produces! Because of some permanent trellis structure in this bed, it’s a hard location to cloche, so this is a bit of a gamble. Finger’s crossed!
Main crop sowing of parsnips are under that burlap waiting to germinate. Carrots and parsnips can be slow and erratic to germinate in summer. Covering the seeds with moist burlap or cardboard until they germinate can really help. You gotta remove the cover as soon as the seedlings emerge, though.
Out front the first sowing of broccoli is basically done. These plants just didn’t do that well. A few have yet to head, but because of our hot-then-cold-then-hot spring, most headed too soon and with small, just-okay broccoli. I’m keeping the existing plants here for the sideshoot production until I need this bed, but then these guys are chicken food.
The hugelkultur beds are, once again, proving their awesomeness.
This HK bed has winter squash in front and tomatoes behind.
The tomatoes are already putting on nice green fruits, so I have high hopes for tomatoes this year.
The cooler-side HK is planted in cabbages and broccoli and the coles growing here are doing far better than those that were planted up front. Nice large plants should grow nice, large broccoli heads.
I’ve got corn and a few more tomatoes planted in the center HK, and beans up the concrete mesh trellis arches. Everything looks solid.
This will be the first year we get fruit from our mini orchard. It’s looking very promising, though. Pruning isn’t too tough, simply because the trees are short. So there’s no big extension pruner or ladder-business to contend with.
There are four trees per square, with a big stake right in the middle. The trees are anchored diagonally to each other and around the stake, which seems to work well.
Strawberries are planted under each fruit tree quartet.
Also in the mini-orchard area is a four-in-one plum. It’s putting on the most gorgeous fruit right now.
We parked our heavy duty potato cages around the mini orchard and they are thriving. I need to add straw and compost to the bins – the vines are growing like gangbusters.
The back garden is ok. Still working on getting it cleaned up. This is an area that is so wet and so mucky I swear the clay creeps up from underneath and takes over my beds. The soil has amazing fertility, but it feels like a perpetual job to keep the soil tilth decent which means I’m working way too hard on this portion of the garden. Tip: if you are working too hard, something’s not working.
I’m still mulling what my long-term plans are for this area, but we have started to convert beds in this area to hidden hugel-style beds as the boards rot out and need replacement. We do this by using the half-rotten old boards as the woody base for the new bed, so it works pretty well to keep inputs and waste minimized.
Despite my complaints about soil tilth, this area is growing some good food.
The first summer squash should be ready in a week if we get some sun. And I adore this stand of parsley – I’ve been putting parsley on everything. Lots of chopped parsley and butter on new potatoes is like getting a hug from nature.
The pole peas are producing wonderfully, and the beans are to the top of the trellis. Shouldn’t be too much longer before we’re eating beans.
A few of the beds are kinda a shaggy mess, but it’s too late now to do anything about it. This is one. Bush peas (unstaked – forgot) and bush beans (unstaked – forgot) are getting swamped by a volunteer squash that is so amazingly healthy and vibrant that I can’t bring myself to pull it even though there is a 99.99% chance any squashes it makes will be useless.
I find my vegetable obsessions tend to go in waves. Four years ago I grew eight kinds of kale. After that was potatoes – every shade and every kind I could find. Then I began my love affair with overwintering cauliflower and grew out four kinds. This year it’s peppers. I’ve got them stuck in everywhere. I’ve grown peppers before of course – Gypsy was a staple for many years – but this year I decided to go all in. I’m hoping the tunnel plus clear plastic on the soil will create a warm enough environment to really get some good fruit set on these guys.
This is the potato bed that just keeps giving. I sneak in and dig up a few shovelfuls and get a ton of spuds for dinner. I’m using most of these taters for new-potato eating.
This year I’m growing favas. I grow them about every four years. I like them, but not enough to grow them every year. Once you get past the hassle of the double-layered shelling, they make a great side dish with pecorino cheese. These guys are nearly ready to harvest for the green shelling stage.
Artichokes still pumping out buds. I’ll let some go to flower because I love those purple puff balls in bloom.
Eggplant and savoy cabbage: I don’t think I’ve ever grown a stranger combination of plants next to each other, but I saw these great organic eggplant starts os super sale and couldn’t help myself….so I squeezed them in where I could.
We’ve been harvesting small early cabbages for about a month and are looking forward to these big red beauties filling out.
The greenhouse was recently revamped with this cinderblock border, which I filled with basil starts I picked up on sale.
I train my tomatoes in the greenhouse to a single leader around twine.
There’s a back-wall of cukes growing too. I had gorgeous seedlings of a very expensive hybrid greenhouse cucumber planted and coming up perfectly. Then the freakity-fracking-gurd-dang slugs ate every single one in a single night. So I replanted with shop-bought Marketmore starts and let my heavy-handed son apply the Sluggo. Take that, slimeballs.
If you are around Seattle, get your fall and winter stuff going. Mine is just starting to come up.
Sour cherry tree doesn’t look big enough to have all these cherries on it, yet here they are.
Potted brandywine tomatoes and basil in the hottest spot in my yard, against the south side of my house. Note the rocks. Those are there to catch and store heat.
Our established espaliered fruit trees are looking like I need to thin that fruit!
I predict an excellent year for blueberries, if my son can control himself long enough to let any ripen.
This is the border where about half our blueberries are planted. I just wanted to show how they are incorporated with a ton of herbs, self-sown flowers and ornamental things.
This bay tree is getting ridiculous. If I had known it was going to get this huge I would not have planted it this close to my house.
My son is the official chive harvester. He takes his job very seriously. Too bad his hands are still too little for Felcos.
More of the ornamental/edible border. This scented geranium is so wonderful I wanted to give it a bit more oomph in the border so I stuck it in this pot. Don’t be afraid of putting potted plants in the (non-container) garden. It can work really well.
So, that’s my garden right now. Hoped you liked the virtual tour!
How does your garden grow?0