What’s Growin’ in the Garden 3

I looked back at the pictures from the previous garden update and realized what a difference a month makes. We have had a few more storms and wind, but the plants are much larger and there was not much negative affect from the weather. This article is long on pictures, so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy. 

June 22nd

July 13th

The rest of these pictures are from July unless otherwise indicated.

Pinto bean weed patch, July 13th

This looks like overgrown weeds, doesn’t it? This is the pinto bean patch interspersed with crabgrass and other delectable weeds…. I have begun to slowly pull the plants and harvest what I can. Next year I will know these need a trellis. An error on my part not knowing pintos are a vine like pole beans. I just made the assumption they were a bush variety like the Jacob’s Cattle beans I have been growing for the last few years.

Once the pinto beans are harvested, this area will receive carrot and beet seedlings. I will probably plant a couple of hills of yellow squash and see if we can have a fall crop for fresh eating.

The trellis next to the pintos has the peppers and Missouri Wonder pole beans. The peppers are just starting to produce well. I will be freezing some of them soon. We have found that frozen, chopped peppers come in handy cooking through the off season.

The yellow squash is finished thanks to the annual squash bug invasion. These will be pulled up and replaced by another cowpea patch.

The tomatoes are starting to ripen and we have begun to freeze them. We have two gallons in the freezer so far. Last summer we froze 20 gallon of tomatoes that we turned into tomato sauce. They seem to be ripening late again this year. Last summer many people in our area barely got any tomatoes and most folks we talked to indicated their gardens didn’t do well at all. We’ll see how this year turns out.


We tilled between these tomato trellises about a month ago with the new electric tiller and this is all that has grown there. Without the tilling it would have the same crabgrass overgrowth you see at the opening of the row. I remain very impressed with how this new tiller helps to eliminate grass and weeds compared to the Mantis that I used and liked for years. These amaranth seedlings will be planted between the tomato trellises and in the now harvested corn patch which I’ll show you in a minute.

Amaranth seedlings

Speaking of amaranth, we have harvested some of the heads and are drying them in the greenhouse. I probably picked the first few before they were quite ready, but this is a new learning process for us. There are more heads to harvest from the original growth and we hope the side shoots will now continue to grow and produce more grain. For now we are not harvesting the entire plant, only the top most portion of the main grain head.

How are we going to winnow and clean the grain? Well, we have yet to figure that out. We have some fine strainers that may work and will cross that bridge once the seed heads are dry and ready to work.

The cowpeas we planted right before the last garden article are growing well. They will soon fill in this area between the tomatoes and okra. For now the zinnias are taller, but that won’t last much longer.

Purple hull cowpeas

The okra has been slow to grow and produce this year. It just hasn’t liked the cool, wet spring and the lack of sunshine. One of the nice things about this patch is that it was grown from seed that we saved last year.

And speaking of seeds, much of the garden this year was grown from our seeds. This has been a goal for many, many years, one that we are starting to make some progress on. From our own seeds this year we planted green beans, okra, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, winter squash, turnips, zinnias and marigolds. And yes, you read that right, carrots. As you know, carrots don’t seed the first year, so I had to plant them in a separate part of the garden two years ago. We harvested these seeds last year.

The last of the corn has been harvested and I have a question. I didn’t realize that corn grows suckers similar to tomatoes. I broke them off thinking they would prevent the stalk from producing good ears, but I think some of those plants didn’t produce any ears. Would someone increase my knowledge about the growth and production of corn? We haven’t grown any in a number of years and have never been tremendously successful.


The strawberries have died. Last year after we planted them they grew very well. Then toward the end of summer, some of the leaves started getting brown spots, curling and dying. The only information I could find was that a virus in the soil causes this problem. The solution? Kill the plants and start over somewhere else. I tried inoculating with nematodes to see if that would have any impact, but it didn’t. The plants started growing this year and trying to produce in the wet, cloudy spring, but most of the berries rotted from the excessive moisture. Now, the virus has wiped out the rest of the plants.

We had a plum harvest this year. Here is half of it. Tasted great!

We have some lettuce coming up in the small bed by the back porch. I’m not sure how well it will do in the heat of summer, but fresh salad greens do sound good.

We are blessed to be able to live where and how we wish, and we certainly hope this continues as long as possible. There seriously appears to be very troubled times coming. Plan and plant ahead.

Until next time – Fern

11 thoughts on “What’s Growin’ in the Garden 3

  1. I always enjoy your articles. They are so interesting, informative and just a good read with all the supporting pics. I grabbed a cup of coffee, as you suggested, and poured over every detail. Everything looks so lush and green. I'm in zone 8 and my tomato vines have fired up from the bottom and the stink bug variation has done a number on the tomatoes. We did get lots of tomatoes for canning and giving to friends before they were ruined. Cucumbers have wilted and died. Squash bugs have killed the first planting, but we did get quite a few yellow and zucchini squash before the bugs took over. As each of these crops were breathing their last, I planted new crops of each. Noticed today on the new squash there are more squash bugs. This time I will try Neem Oil and blue Dawn dish detergent on them. Usually it's so hot that I don't try a second crop but you've inspired me to do so this year. I'll call it my experiment. I also want to plant turnip greens this fall – thinking September.Your zinnias are beautiful. I also have zinnias, sunflowers and marigolds planted around my garden. Not sure if they do any good, but I enjoy seeing them when I'm working in the garden.Thank you for these articles. You inspire many of us out here. It's obvious that it takes time to put these articles together with all the pics. I appreciate each of them. BJ in GA

  2. I'm always excited when I see your opening page change, thanks for sharing. We did well with tomatoes, squash, potatoes and green beans. First time canning them, think we got the hang of it. Recently picked up a Kenwood dual band radio and a President brand CB with SSB. The truck and jeep are set for them. Been reading Franks articles on Ham radio, very informative. Will have to invest in cabling and such for a home base. Have a couple of the Baofeng and Motorola radios and spare batteries. I want to thank Frank for getting me started on the communication path. Will work on license, home antennas and more knowledge. Have a blessed day, Allan

  3. We have been in this location for 11 years and have found that every season is different due to weather, soil condition, insect infestations, etc. There is always something new to learn every year. We have been disappointed more than once when something doesn't produce like it did the year before. Looks like you will have a longer growing season in your new location.We live in zone 7b. Our growing season lasts until late October, so we will be able to harvest from the first patch that is almost to blooming stage. The second patch we hope to plant sometime in the next week should mature indicate maturity in 65 days. That will hopefully give us some harvest time in October before frost. Good question! Fern

  4. Don't know in which gardening zone you live, but you mention cowpeas. Do you think that they will be ready in time to harvest before Winter hits? I'm in zone 6a, but still learning. Only been here a few years, and I grew up gardening in zone 5a, so I feel like I'm learning all over again.

  5. Thank you for the information, Bluesman. We have found that eating corn now days doesn't agree with us. It has been about four or five years since we had any, and since discovering it's affect on our bodies, mainly a reaction to the carbohydrates, we don't plan to eat anymore. The remainder of the crop will be dried and fed to the animals.This has been a good review on how to grow it. Knowing we can produce food for humans or animals, is a good piece of knowledge to have tucked into the back of our minds should the need arise. We will save some of this seed and see if it is viable next summer. There is always something to learn and we appreciate the opportunity to do so while the stores are still open and the air conditioning is still on.Fern

  6. We discovered zinnias and marigolds for the garden years ago, Leigh. They are supposed to be good bug deterrents. Hummingbirds and butterflies love them, so I don't know if they are so much of a deterrent or not.I am very curious how much edible (for humans) amaranth seed we will get. I hope to use some in a bread recipe soon and will let you know how it goes.The small brown paper bags can be found at office supply stores, Amazon, a number of different places. I initially was using plastic, but knew the seeds needed to breathe, so we went to paper.Hope your garden does well and provides much for your table and shelves.Fern

  7. Fern, Your garden looks great. Gardens are oh so challenging , but also very rewarding . You had a question about corn. We do cut suckers off of stout stalks but not spindly ones. It does make for easier weeding and hopefully better corn. We usually get 2 ears of corn on each plant, sometimes 3, but we figure on 2. We don't can any corn ,we eat it fresh, and give extra to needy folks and neighbors. We will grow more and can some when things get dicey.Happy gardening,Bluesman

  8. I love the zinnias everywhere. And your amaranth looks really good. I never processed mine so I'll be interested in what you figure out about that. Your vegetable harvest looks good in spite of ups and downs. It's always something, isn't it? Very impressive seed collection. I like the idea of using small paper bags.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s