Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Garden At The End of June 2015

I've let a month and a half slip by without doing a garden tour, so let's see what the place looks like at the end of June.

Here's a look at Bed#1 which has been devoted primarily to alliums and brassicas since the end of last year.

Shown below on the left is Spigariello Foglia Riccia, quite similar to the Spigariello Foglia Liscia that I was harvesting earlier, the main difference being that Riccia's leaves are indented rather than smooth. The new plants are Di Ciccio and Batavia broccolis which replaced the Spigariello Liscia and Purple Peacock broccolis which had become aphid factories. The Spigariello Riccia was hosting quite a growing population of aphids as well and I ended up giving it a good dose of Pyganic which may have saved the plants from a premature trip to the compost bin.

That's the leek patch on the other side of the bed. The good news is that I've not spotted any new bolters.

The onions are still producing a flower stalk on occasion.

With the exception of the Red Candy Apple onions which are bulbing up nicely. Their stalks are starting to get weak so I've been pushing them over. The Rossa Lunga di Firenze onions are mostly behaving also, they are bulbing up and not bolting, although a number of them have produced splits.

That's seed grown Zebrune shallots on the left and the last of the garlic on the right. I trimmed off much of the foliage from the garlic to remove as much rust as possible. I doubt that they will get much bigger but they are at least keeping fairly well in the garden so I don't have to deal with them yet.

On the other side of the bed are newly planted Candystick Dessert delicata squash plants. I've never grown delicata squash but I'm assuming that I'll be able to train them up the trellis. That's one little Corsican basil plant in the foreground. And on the other side of the trellis are French Gray shallots which are actually doing far better than I thought they would since they got off to a really slow start.

I interplanted pea plants in and around this bed this spring. This variety is a snow pea that is grown for its young shoots rather than the pea pods, the shoots are delicious and the pods are not. I've allowed some plants around the edges of the bed to go to seed which I'm saving.

Bed#2 is where the eggplant wound up after I got greedy about the number of peppers that I decided to grow and the eggplant got elbowed out of the solanum bed. The other side of the bed is home to some Honey Nut butternut squash that will be trained up a trellis. And the cucumbers (Green Fingers and Tasty Treat) ended up in this bed as well.

I've got a couple of tunnels set up for growing greens that need protection from birds and/or sun. The area covered with Agribon is a newly seeded patch of Thai Tender and Tender Leaf amaranth greens. Then there's one Italienischer lettuce volunteer, Winter Density lettuces, various radishes, and what should have been "baby" Tuscan kale.

Next down the line is the Di Sicilia Violetto cauliflower which is showing signs of wanting to flower. (Please don't button...)

These pretty seed stalks belong to Rishad cress. It's a variety of land cress from Iraq which William Woys Weaver describes in his book 100 Vegetables and Where They Came From. It's leaves are ferny like carrot greens, but I barely got to see that characteristic because I sowed my seeds rather late in the season so the plants promptly bolted and I barely got a tiny taste. I'm looking forward to a chance to grow these later this year.

The other tunnel is where a planting of Red Sails and Kagraner Sommer lettuces are too quickly sizing up.

A planting of various beets are coming along at the other end of the tunnel.

In a pot nearby is a volunteer red fennel plant that is home to a Swallowtail caterpillar. I always love finding these pretty critters.

Bed#4 is devoted almost entirely to tomatoes and peppers. There's a 5-foot tall trellis running the length of one side of the bed. I'm liking the setup so far. It's more work than my old system of cages with one plant per cage since I do need to trim and tie about every other day. But it's not that difficult to tie the plants to the trellis and it's easier to get to the plants to trim out excessive foliage and suckers.

All of the plants with one exception are indeterminate growers. One variety is semi-determinate, which you can see at the end of the line.

That's Spike, and here's a cluster of Spike tomatoes. These are supposed to ripen to a rust color with green to golden stripes, the interior is supposed to be purple and green. I can't wait to try this one.


The earliest tomato to ripen last year was Jaune Flamme, in 2013 it was hard on the heels of the first cherry tomatoes to ripen, this year it looks to be one of the first again.

Jaune Flamme
The only other thing that's growing in this bed that's not a solanum is cilantro. This is Rak Tamachat, a Thai variety that is supposed to produce huge leaves.

Rak Tamachat cilantro
There's a whole line of it along the length of the bed. I was hoping that it might be bolt resistant, but the first little plants are already stretching upward. I'm pulling the first bolters and will let the last ones that want to bloom do their thing and try them again.

It's not easy to see in this photo, but I'm trying an experiment with the pepper plants. I snipped out the central leader on all the plants along the outer row of the bed to try to force them to branch out more and perhaps to make them produce a bit later to stretch out the harvest. The three plants on the left are Padrons and the three next to them are Mareko Fanas.

Four peppers are growing in containers. These are baccatum peppers which are more cold tolerant that annuums. If I put them in a protected spot through the winter they will probably come back next year. They won't produce through the winter, they will actually die back quite a ways, but most baccatums that I've protected through the winter have come back for at least one year and sometimes more. Growing them in 10-gallon pots gives them plenty of room to grow but makes them relatively easy to move. These are Aji Amarillo and Peppadew.

I realized as I looked through my list of peppers that I've got quite an international collection this year:

  • Aji Amarillo - Peru
  • Criolla de Cocina - Nicaragua
  • De La Vera and Padron - Spain
  • Shephard's Ramshorn - Spain via Italy
  • Florina - Greece
  • Giallo di Cuneo and Rosso Dolce da Appendere - Italy
  • Gogosar - Hungary
  • IPK CAP 268 - Chile
  • Long des Landes - France
  • Mareko Fana - Ethiopia
  • Odessa Market - Ukraine
  • Peppadew - South Africa
  • Rezha - Macedonia
  • Syrian Three Sided - Syria
  • Lady Bell, Sonora Anaheium, and Yumy Belles - American hybrids
  • NTR - my mystery pepper from a packet of Topepo Rosso

It's amazing to think about how peppers started in one part of the world and have spread around the globe taking on various sizes, shapes, colors, flavors, heat levels, and uses.

On to Bed#4. I guess you could call this the Three Sisters bed, although the sisters are not grouped in a traditional way. The Pico Pardal garbanzos (a foreign step sister) seen in the foreground are filling in their space.

And they're starting to bloom.

The bush beans are next, one end of the planting are snap beans. I sowed 18 plants for snap beans - Royal Burgundy and Slenderette. That many plants don't produce a huge amount of beans, but definitely enough for fresh eating which is all I want. Frozen snap beans tend to sit in the freezer until they get too old to eat.

The rest of the bush bens are Fagiolo del Purgatorio (Purgatory Beans). It's a small dried white bean that is perfect for bean salad. I tried growing these out in 2014 and 2013 with limited success. I had problems with birds, spider mites, sow bugs, damping off, you name it. This year the bean gods seem to be with me and the plants are growing, blooming and producing plenty of green beans - just a couple more steps to go, mature and dry...

This trellis has three varieties of snap beans starting to twirl their way up. Rattlesnake beans are green streaked with purple, Purple are, yes, purple, and Stortino di Trento are an anellino type (curved) that are green streaked with red/brown. I hope I got my timing correct so that they will start producing as the bush beans finish.

Next to the bean trellis is Mandan Parching Lavender corn. Parching corn is harvested dry and the kernels are roasted so that they puff a bit. They are supposed to make a delicious snack something like corn nuts, but better. It also makes good cornmeal. Mandan Parching Lavendar (aka Mandan Red Clay) is extra early and extra small. Adpative seeds says it takes 70 to 80 days to harvest and gets to be about 4 feet tall (1.2 meters).

I direct sowed the seeds on May 18 and last week I spied the first tassels developing. This is going to be an interesting one to watch.

Next down the line is the trellis supporting the Monachelle di Trevio beans, the ones that I had damping off problems with. I filled the gaps with new seedlings, all but one of which is still alive, but the new plants are taking their good old sweet time growing. The original 6 survivors are happily climbing the trellis.

I'm growing one other variety of flour corn this year. Taos Pueblo Blue should get to be at least 3 times as tall as the Mandan Lavender. Both varieties were sown at the same time and Taos Pueblo Blue is already about a foot taller than Mandan Lavender and a long way from tasseling. I don't have any idea how long this variety will take to mature.

I'm taking advantage of this corn's height and shade to try another interplanting of Speedy arugula between the rows. It looks like I could give the arugula a trim.

And finally, the squash part of the Sisterhood. The trellis in front is for a couple of Tromba D'Albenga  vines. Beyond the trellis you can see the already huge Romanesco zucchini. I've already harvested over 12 pounds (5.4 kg.) from that one plant since the first harvest on May 16. The plan is to pull out the Romanesco when the Tromba squash start producing. (We'll see...)

 That's my veggie garden as June turns into July, I hope you enjoyed the tour!


  1. What a great collection! It must be fun getting all those seed packets from different places in the mail. Are there any USPS restrictions for seeds from foreign countries.

    Romanesque squash definitely likes your climate better than mine. I pulled it all yesterday it was so ugly ... mildewed, shrimpy in the middle, yellowed.

    1. Actually, all my pepper seeds came from domestic sources this year. Some seed companies like Seeds from Italy import their seeds, so those aren't strictly domestic. And other seeds have come from foreign sources in round about ways. Like the Florina seeds that I got in a swap which were obtained from another swap. I have received a few seeds from foreign sources in years gone by but never encountered any problems.

  2. Wonderful tour! I'm really looking forward to hearing about your corn adventures as those are some very interesting varieties.

    Last year I cut off the main stem of the peppers before they were even transplanted and they did indeed branch out; I've done that again this year. And you just reminded me that I transplanted some land cress in one of my beds a couple of months ago - and now I have no idea where it is. I have a feeling in the flurry of activity over the past month, I may have accidentally "weeded" them out.

  3. The garden is looking very good right now. I'm impressed with the size of the Romanesco squash. Hope mine doesn't get that big, I did not plan for that much space.

  4. Wow, what an impressive list of plants you have! How many people do you regularly feed?? you have lots of pepper / chilli varieties that I had never heard of. I thought I was doing quite well until I saw your list!

  5. Thanks for the tour of your amazing garden. With all of the space, you can grow a LOT of varieties. Good harvesting to you.

  6. Thanks for the tour, the leeks and onions look great, can't wait to see your garbanzo beans harvest.

  7. It is always interesting to see what you are growing. I will be watching to see how your pepper experiment goes. I've accidentally lost the leader on a plant and it did just like you are hoping with a delayed harvest. I've given up growing cilantro in summer here. Even the bolt-resistant types bolt immediately, and I get so little from them it's hardly worth the effort.

  8. Re: your tieing up tomatoes...I've been using the concrete wire setup for a number of years... just weave the foliage in and out of the wire. Takes weight off the vines and makes it easy to support the fruit. I prune a lot.
    the eclectic sceptic.


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