Friday, July 1, 2016

End of June Garden Tour

Time is flying and I haven't done a garden tour in quite a while. I'm still trying to get the garden transitioned from spring to summer and have even started on the fall/winter veggies.

I'll start with Bed #1. There's a few summer veggies started here already, the Romanesco zucchini started producing on June 15 and the cucumbers growing on the trellis at the back have produced just a little bit so far.

June 28

The chard lingered for quite a while and was still producing some good leaves but it was time for them to make room for summer veggies so out they came. The tunnels had been protecting a variety of greens and roots through the spring, but they had to go as well. So I spent the better part of a day this week harvesting what I could and clearing out much of the rest.

June 28
June 30

The basil got to stay but the chard made room for a trellis that has one tiny Tromba d'Albenga seedling hiding from the birds under a water bottle cloche. There's one more seedling coming along to replace the second plant that I had sowed but which failed to germinate.

June 28
June 30

The last of the carrots got pulled, the arugula was bolting so it went into the compost, and all the bolting volunteer cilantro hit the pile as well. The tunnel in the back had the last of the Buck's Horn Plantain which got cut and then the plants were pulled. There was some lettuce still sizing up so I covered them with a mini tunnel. Once I've harvested the lettuce that space will sport another trellis where I'll be experimenting with Kiwano Horned Melons and Vine Peaches. The two cloches in front are protecting seedlings of Discus Buttercup squash, a bush type winter squash.

June 30

There's the last of the lettuce shown above. Below is the end of the bed before the big clean.

June 28
June 30

And there's the end of the bed after the big clean which wasn't cleared out quite so drastically as the mid section of the bed. The trellis in the rear will support Candystick Dessert Delicata and Honey Nut Butternut winter squashes. Last year I grew 4 plants of each variety and this year I've cut that in half. I'm still getting through the last of the Delicata squash from last year! I left one blooming cilantro plant to help lure in the beneficial bugs and tossed another cilantro plant that was full of seeds into an open area where it can drop some of those seeds to get more volunteers going. The right rear part of the bed is a patch of Aurelia basil and in the lower right corner I'm letting the Palla Rossa radicchio resprout from the roots, at least for a while. This corner of the bed is where I'll be growing some melons but I haven't gotten any seedling started yet.

June 30

Bed #2 is where the tomatoes and peppers are coming along. Some of the tomatoes have set little green fruits and the peppers have started to bloom.

Bed #3 is where I'm growing primarily beans and corn this summer.

Snap Pole Beans

The birds, as usual, always the birds, have been pecking at the bean seedlings so I have to cover them up. The beans that will hopefully climb this trellis one of these days are Rattlesnake, Golden Gate, and Brinker Carrier, all snap beans. Beyond the beans are two newly set out Zuni tomatillo plants. I got them in a bit late and I'm not sure if they have been stunted by sitting in pots for too long, but if they don't take off I'll rip them out and put something else in there. There's also a couple of Monticello Poppy plants that I allowed to volunteer. The seed pods are maturing and starting to open up so I'll get some fresh poppy seeds soon.

Monticello Poppy Seed Pod
Puhwem corn and Black Coco beans

Next down the line are seedlings for Puhwem flour corn. Puhwem, also called Delaware White, produces soft white kernels that are perfect for grinding into cornmeal or for making posole (hominy). On the other side of the bed are Black Coco bush dry beans.

Hopi White Tepary Beans

And then there's a patch of Hopi White Tepary beans. Most tepary beans produce short plants that are allowed to sprawl, but this variety is supposed to get tall enough to train up a trellis. This variety produces a small white dry bean, although for a tepary bean it will be more plump than is typical.

Hopi Chinmark Flour Corn

I've got one more patch of flour corn started, this one is Hopi Chinmark. The kernels of this variety vary from all white to white with pink stripes to all pink to pink with white stripes. Doesn't it figure that the critters like to dig up the variety of corn for which I have a very limited supply of seeds, thus the fake snake... Beyond the corn to the right is part of my little patch of bush snap beans. Those are already producing and you can see some of the beans on my Harvest Monday posts.

Greek Gigante Beans

And at the end of the bed is one more trellis of beans, these are Greek Gigante beans, a huge fat white dried runner bean. It's been a few years since I grew these and I need to both renew my seed stock and fill up the bean jars in the pantry again. On the other side of the bed I'm trying to get some seedlings of Blue Speckled Tepary beans going. I've lost a lot of seedlings to birds and bugs and now I wish I had used my usual method of sowing the seeds in paper pots first. The newly emerging seedlings are most vulnerable to attack from sow bugs and I can keep the losses limited by setting out seedlings started in paper pots. But I was in a rush to get things started and couldn't get around to making the pots so I direct sowed. Someday I'll learn!

Bed #4 was home to overwintered alliums, spring brassicas and a few other odds and ends.

Dazzling Blue Kale

Dazzling Blue kale is a mixup of Lacinato and Redbor kales that resulted in a kale that looks like Lacinato but has purple/red midribs. These were spring sown plants that I'll allow to grow through the year until they bolt next spring, barring severe aphid infestations or unexpected bolting. I've already got seedlings for brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and romanesco broccoli started to grow in this bed for fall and winter harvests. Along the edge of the bed is an experimental planting of I'itoi bunching/multiplier onions.

I'itoi Bunching Onions

I'itoi onions are an heirloom onion grown in the southwest. They are believed to have been brought to the region by Jesuit missionaries in the late 17th century. One onion can produce a bunch of up to 100 small bulbs. Mine aren't nearly that productive, but I'm not surprised, my starter bulbs were tiny shriveled things that really took a leap of faith to even plant. These are nearly ready to lift and I can't wait to try them. The flavor is supposed to be something between a green onion and a shallot. I've already decided that I will be saving a number of the best bulbs to plant this fall. They will get to occupy a space that I would normally save for garlic. I won't be growing garlic again because I've been losing my garlic to rust the last few years and I'm just not going to fight that battle again. So these productive little onions will make a nice replacement for the garlic because the will be going into the garden when garlic should be planted and ready to harvest when the garlic would be done.

Batavia Broccoli and Pink Plume Celery

The far end of the same side of the bed is where some spring sown Pink Plume Celery and Batavia broccoli are growing.

Batavia Broccoli and Apollo Brokali

On the other side of the bed next to the Dazzling Blue kale are the remnants of the winter sown Batavia broccoli and Apollo brokali. They are struggling to produce secondary shoots so I'll probably pull them out soon and replace them with some of the new cauliflower or romanesco broccoli seedlings.

Onions and Shallots

Beyond the broccoli/brokali is the onion bed. Most of them have behaved fairly well this year. There have been a few bolters and I keep finding one here and there, but for the most part they are starting to produce bulbs and the necks are weakening and flopping over so I'll start lifting them to cure pretty soon.

This other end of the bed is where I attempted to grow garlic for the last time. It was supporting the good bug population with volunteer blooming carrots and cilantro and was also where I let some Rishad cress produce a seed crop. Now that it's cleared out I'm going to put in a tunnel and grow some summer lettuces and greens. When the onions come out I'll sow parsnips and carrots and more brassicas.

That's the latest garden tour, thanks for coming along!


  1. You're welcome, I enjoyed the tour very much. The birds, always the birds. Are they house finches? Just when the fruit trees start to ripen they start to peck. Very frustrating, isn't it? I have yet to figure out a way to cover a tree. Sad to see so many Asian pears half eaten rotting on the ground.

  2. You're getting an amazing amount of clean up work done. That's so interesting that you tie up the tomato plants to the fencing, it looks much easier then the Florida weave I'm working with. And I'm right there with you on the birds, they're so destructive.

  3. I love that feeling of clearing out a bed that often has ratty, overgrown, diseased or pest ridden plants and starting fresh. I'll be doing that with my strawberry bed very soon.

    Those bunching onions look promising - am looking forward to hearing what you think of them taste-wise. I'm having a first ever issue with bolting on my Golden shallots this year and am wondering if it's the excessive heat and/or the up and down weather we've had since spring. And the bed of tomatoes and peppers is very impressive!

    1. I would guess that problem with the bolting shallots is the up/down weather, the same problem I had last year and the year before. This year the weather hasn't gone to quite the extremes as the last couple and the onions and shallots aren't bolting as much.

  4. Re the garlic rust: I wonder if it is one of those things that will naturally disappear if you just don't grow garlic for a year or two? Your garden demonstrates very nicely how with a bit of care and planning you can get a huge range of crops from basically the same space - biodiversity in action!

    1. I tried taking a year off from the garlic a few years ago and the next year the garlic was pretty clean and I got a good harvest. The following year and this year the rust was back worse than ever so I've decided to just give up on it. I think the space will be better utilized devoted to something else.

  5. Thanks for the tour. It's good to hear the Delicata is keeping well for you. I've got two plants each of Candystick and Honey Nut planted and so far they are looking good. I would love to have a glut of Delicata some day!


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