The Current Garden

I figured it was time for an update on our garden, especially since the weeds are giving the vegetables a run for their money. When it was too wet and rainy, I couldn’t do much weeding. Now that it is hot, humid and dry, we are really busy with a number of projects, so I still have accomplished little weeding. I get a little done in the mornings when I go out to pick greens for the chickens, goats and pigs. That’s about it for now. The last few days have been in the 90’s with high humidity and intense sunshine. I know, I know, I really wanted some sunshine, and I’m glad we have it, but it sure has turned off hot rather quickly. Here are some pictures of our growing masterpiece, weeds and all.

 Not only are the turnips not a hot weather spring plant, these are having to compete with a lot of grass. I pull as much grass as I pick turnip greens for the chickens in the mornings, but it is still starting to overtake the bed. These pictures were taken around 5:00pm, when the lighting wasn’t the greatest. The wilting of these greens tells me it’s time to water the garden. A week ago I never thought I would be saying those words.

 

Collards, carrots and zinnias. I sprinkled the collards with diatomaceous earth a few days ago and I think it is helping with the slugs and worms.

 

Frank made the perfect DE (diatomaceous earth) dispenser for me out of an old fiber canister. Works great!

We have about 20 volunteer potato plants in this area of the garden where we grew them last fall. Even though we are not eating potatoes right now because of the high carbohydrate content, we view these as our seed potatoes for future consumption on a limited basis.

If you look at the size of the blade of grass in this picture, you’ll realize just how small this pepper plant is. Surprisingly, it is growing. There are a few more that survived the cats and the last flooding rainstorm. I need to plant more seeds and see if they will direct germinate in the garden.

The Buttercup winter squash hasn’t taken off as quickly as I would like, and one hill rotted from the rain, but it is starting to vine out and produce. These are really good, sweet squash that are great keepers. They taste similar to a sweet potato.

 

The tomatoes are blooming and have been worked into the trellis on the right. They are healthy, sturdy plants that are growing vigorously. The Buttercup squash is on the left in this picture, with carrots beside the tomatoes on the trellis to the right.

  

We have lots of zinnias growing here and there throughout the garden.

 This small trellis was supposed to have cucumbers growing on it. Instead, I must have planted some yellow squash seeds that we saved last year. The cucumbers I planted while it was still raining, are still in a tub on the porch. See the empty space on the right? That is where I planted the cucumber seeds I saved last year. Only three of them germinated. All of the plants on the left are from a packet of seeds I bought.

 The planned yellow squash patch is between the tomato and green bean trellises. The grass and weeds are especially happy here.

 Some of the squash is happy, and some are heat stressed and need watering. I applied diatomaceous earth to all of the squash mounds in an effort to impact the vine borer and squash bug populations. I planted nasturtiums around the squash hills this year, which are very pretty flowers, and supposed to be bug deterrents.

 



 The green beans are growing well and blooming, but the heat is getting to them as well. Some of the bottom leaves are yellow today. There are carrots growing down each side of this trellis, in spite of all of the grass and weeds. I’ve been able to clear out parts of the weeds, but there are still more than enough to pull in this area.


The Cushaw winter squash grows very well here. It took off early despite all of the rain and is producing a number of young squash. It is hardy and healthy.

The cowpeas have more than enough grass to keep it company. Some of the seeds I replanted made it and some of them didn’t. There are supposed to be two rows of okra growing in between the cowpeas, but the rain either washed away the seeds, or they rotted. I will be replanting them next week.

 I may be able to harvest a head or two of cabbage after all. They got a hefty dose of DE after it quit raining and since then I haven’t seen much more damage. I’m tempted to harvest the largest head just to see if the worms and slugs are hiding out inside where I can’t see them.
 

The Michilli cabbage has been disappointing. It didn’t do anything besides grow loose leaves that were rather tough, then start bolting to bloom. I have used these as animal feed instead of human feed. Now I am pulling up the plants a few at a time and feeding them to the pigs. I will plant some cantaloupe or honeydew here.

  
The only thing that is planted in the new part of the garden for now are pinto beans on this trellis. As time allows I will till some of this area and plant sunflowers and cowpeas.

  

There is enough spinach for salads, even with competition from the grass.

The beets are doing well. There are some here and there in the cabbage patch as well as some back down by the collards and turnips. But there aren’t enough, and I need to plant some more.

I attended my bug class today and learned a few interesting things I will share in another article. It was geared more towards habitats for pollinators than beneficial garden insects, so in that respect I was disappointed. But, on the other hand, I learned some useful things about beneficial insect habitat that I will be able to incorporate into our garden and landscape environment.

It is 94* today with high humidity and little to no breeze. I hope this is not an indicator of how the rest of the summer will be. After having cool, rainy weather for so long, this quick onset of hot, summer weather has been difficult for gardens, animals and humans. I some ways it reminds me of how the events in the world, and particularly in our country, are heating up. If we’re not all careful, vigilant and prepared, we could suffer heat exhaustion or have a heat related crisis, in more ways than one. Remember to protect yourself from the heat, meaning the temperature and the climate of your neighborhood, city, state and country. It could be a matter of survival.

Until next time – Fern

16 thoughts on “The Current Garden

  1. I don't know if your beans would need the extra support or not. I guess it depends on how heavily they are planted, what kind of wind you get, along with other factors. After you try it out this year, you will probably be able to figure out whether it was needed or not. Keep hacking away at the weeds. You may beat them yet. No rain so far, so I put out the sprinkler yesterday and this morning to give everyone a drink. Thank you for sharing.Fern

  2. We live in a great zone for gardening, Kymber. Only the hottest, driest of years give us fits with our crops. It's one of the reasons we live in this area. Sounds like your garden is off to a great start as well. Happy growing!Fern

  3. The Buttercup tastes great, grows prolifically and is a good keeper. A couple of years ago we had a tub full in the kitchen that lasted almost all winter. I don't think you will be disappointed, Sandy. They make a great pie, too. I really hope we don't get as hot as we did a few years back. We had to hibernate inside with the AC going almost constantly. Thanks for sharing. Take care.Fern

  4. My little Mantis tiller is my favorite weeding instrument, M.E. I won't be able to use it around the winter squashes much since they are vining out quite well, but I can use it everywhere else. You're right about being overwhelming. That's a good way to describe my weeds right now. Thank you for sharing.Fern

  5. Hi Deb. Thanks for sharing your ideas and knowledge. I don't consider that to be pushy. I have read about nasturtiums being edible, but we have never eaten any. This is the first time I have successfully grown any, as well.I have read the Deliberate Agrarian with Herrick Kimball for a while. It is a great site, full of all kinds of information. I don't want to depend on plastic for a mulch. Once things calm down here a little, I will get out there and make a dent in the weeds, then mulch with an old bale of hay we have waiting for just that purpose. Thank you for the information and ideas. Fern

  6. Your garden looks great; thanks for sharing all the pictures. I'm having weed issues similar to yours; I was out with the hoe on Saturday getting pretty discouraged. It happens every year, but usually a little later in the season. My okra is up and my beans are on their trellis–mine look about like yours, except I put lengths of rebar on top of the t-posts to provide extra support… maybe that isn't necessary?I hope the rain going forward for you is just enough, at just the right time.

  7. Fern – between all of that rain and now the heat, i'm surprised you have any garden and especially one that looks so good! weeds are always a problem (except for SciFiChick who always had impeccably weeded gardens!!!). our spring was late this year but i think by the end of this week we'll be all caught up. and i'm like M.E. Masterson above – i love seeing other people's gardens! keep up the good work and as Sweet Sandy above says – you'll have a great harvest this autumn!!!your friend,kymber

  8. Fern and Frank,As long as it rains the weeds and grass keep growing. It's a constant battle of pulling weeds 🙂 I've never heard of the Buttercup winter squash, I'll have to investigate this squash more. I love sweet potatoes, and if the squash tastes close to a sweet potato, I'll be happy. Zinnia's and sunflowers are favorites here at our place. Every year, we put seeds out to grow these flowers. The butterflies, and bee's just love them. Your garden looks wonderful, with all the plants and blossoms ;-)I already picture a nice harvest for you and Frank.It's been very hot and humid, I won't complain too much because I still remember the heat we all had here 3 years ago with temperatures close to 120 degrees.

  9. We didn't have near the rain amounts that you folks did down there but has still been wet enough to slow down the vegetable growth and speed up the weed production! Not sure how that works but it does. It always reminds me of asking my grandma when I was little how I would know if it was a weed or a good plant and she said that if it pulled out easy it was a good one! The good news is that I have been weeding so much I can touch the ground with my knees straight again! (always looking for the silver lining!) Here's hoping the weather evens out a little for you fairly soon.

  10. We heavily mulch with old hay or straw, and life is much easier. We don't have to water as much or need to weed very often.

  11. I love seeing others gardens. Looks like yours is coming along despite the weather changes. It is hot here today got up to 93* and the humidity is out of this world. Enough to choke a frog!I like debs idea of mulching… I have even considered that myself to keep the weeds from overtaking the vegie plants. For now my tiller is my go to tool! doesn't do much for around the actual plants but it helps with the overwhelmed feeling. Much easier to get out and weed when I don't see so many of them. LOL!

  12. the entire nasturtium is edible. flowers pretty in salad or on plate.at 'the deliberate agrarian' mr. kimball writes about using black plastic mulch, which is a new practice for him. not to be pushy , but you might consider adding the plastic, or something like it, as you plant the new areas.that grass is very aggressive.adding the plastic as you go, and then mulching the older areas as you go, will save your back next year, too.pushy deb

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