June Garden Update

I started to add ‘Warts and All’ to the title, since it seems like many of the photos I took indicate weeding or other work is needed. Regardless, here’s what some of the gardens look like as we near mid-June.

The potatoes in the lasagna bed are starting to bloom. The foliage looks good, and so far the only pests have been a few flea beetles. I have high hopes for the potatoes in this bed.

The onions are doing nicely in their new bed, but the bermuda grass is creeping in. I’m trying to keep it beat back until I harvest the onions, then I can dig out the rhizomes. Bermuda grass is my least favorite weed, in a virtual dead heat with nutsedge. Well, I’m not exactly fond of poison ivy either, and we’re ‘blessed’ with all three of them!

The Wild Garden (formerly the Butterfly Garden) is starting to look nice. The Salvia coccinea in front of the birdbath is starting to bloom, and the sedums behind it have spread nicely. There is bronze fennel on either side of the sedums, to give the Swallowtails something to feed on. I’ve got parsley and dill plants for them too. Last year they skipped all the ones I planted for them and went straight for the carrots!

I’ve got several butterfly weeds growing in this area now. This Asclepias tuberosa has attracted a few visitors already. I’ve also got Asclepias incarnata growing just behind the sedums, and common milkweed is down in the bottoms near the labyrinth (someday) area. Milkweeds for everyone I say!

The coneflowers are just now starting to open, and the black-eyed susans won’t be far behind. This Echinacea is ‘Ruby Giant’.

Moving down to the main vegetable garden, my wife and I got the two rows of caged tomatoes mulched with paper last week. I need to add more paper between the rows, and cover it all with some aged straw. Keeping the soil moisture from fluctuating too much is one of my keys to avoiding blossom end rot. I use 5ft tall concrete reinforcing wire for my cages. They are about 2ft in diameter.

We’ve also got some paste tomatoes that we are supporting with a stake and weave system this year. This is the same method we use at the food pantry gardens. I’ll keep adding binder twine for support as the tomatoes grow taller.

The metal t-posts are doing the real work here, with the bamboo stakes giving me something else to wind the twine around. With these and the early tomatoes planted by the greenhouse, we’ve got 37 plants this year, with almost as many different varieties.

The spaghetti squash has already set a few squash, and the vines are running all over the place. The variety here is Small Wonder. The winter squash are just starting to bloom. Uh-oh, I see more weeds!

spaghetti squash

The summer squash are all coming on right now. We have straightneck and crookneck yellow squash, plus green and striped zucchini. The squash seem to be loving the compost I added before planting.

summer squash

One of my favorites is this Papaya summer squash. It is very prolific, with the taste sort of like a pattypan.

Papaya summer squash

The sweet potatoes are growing in a ridge between the summer and winter squashes. We’ve got the Beauregard and Centennial varieties planted this year. The area will be a solid mass of foliage before long. I need to get some mulch down while I still can! No compost here, or fertilizer, since the sweet potatoes like it somewhat lean, and the soil is plenty fertile enough without amendments.

sweet potato vines

The Purple Queen beans are making pods, and the first harvest won’t be long now. This will give us our first taste of fresh beans in 2010. Is that a weed in with the bean foliage?

Purple Queen beans

The beans are still blooming, with beautiful pinkish-purple blossoms. This has become my favorite bush bean, worth growing even if it wasn’t edible! The beans turn a dark green when cooked.

This row of brassicas has been feeding us for some time. I’ll leave the broccoli to produce side shoots until it’s time to plant the fall crop, which is usually early August. I grow two crops of brassicas in one spot each year, then rotate to another bed the next year. I’ll follow the bush beans with turnips.

The pole beans are reaching for the sky. They are planted on the north end of the garden plot.The first to the top of the trellis was Kwintus, but Helda is not far behind. None have started blooming yet. For support I have Trellinet netting supported by metal t-posts and bamboo stakes. This is the third season for the netting, and with care I might get another year out of it. I sunk the metal posts every 5 feet.

I’ll finish with two shots of the new shade beds we started this year. The first bed has a berm built up to try and slow down the runoff water. We’ve got azaleas, hostas and ferns planted so far.

The second bed is around the big elm tree, and has azaleas and an oakleaf hydrangea planted. We’ll add other plants later.

Well, that’s it for now. I’m tired just looking at all the work that needs to be done. I hope you enjoyed the tour!

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12 Responses to June Garden Update

  1. vrtlaricaana says:

    I have enjoyed the tour very much! You have a beautiful garden. Purple beans with purple flowers are my favorite. It’s too bad that all those purple veggies turn green when cooked.

  2. Robin says:

    What a nice tour of your garden. I can’t believe that you have beans & squash already! I’m jealous 🙂 I just planted my one and only variety of beans two weeks ago….purple pole beans, my favorite!

  3. Your gardens are fabulous! Weeds? Where? You have such a wonderful mix of flowers and vegetables, all of which are way ahead of mine.

  4. Ali says:

    Your garden is looking great! Gorgeous plants…. I’m curious, do you have the wretched green cabbage worm in your part of Indiana? At Henbogle they have been especially bad this year, ugh. Row covers on everything, not pretty but effective.

    I love the Wild Garden. What a good idea! I had Swallowtails on my parsley last year, and planted plenty again for this year, but should really just do a separate buffet bed for the butterflies.

    • Villager says:

      Yes, I’m afraid we do have cabbage worms, though they are worse later in summer and fall. I use Bt to keep them in check. A bigger pest in the cabbage is SLUGS! They crawl up in the leaves, where there’s no Sluggo.

  5. LynnS says:

    Thanks for the photo-tour!!! All of your garden beds are wonderful and before you know it, your new shade bed will be lush and the accomplishments will make your efforts worthwhile.

    The birdbath and sedum are a great combo!

    I am in awe of your squash — so large, so soon! Do you have any problem with the vine borer there? It’s heartbreaking to find their damage, always after it’s too late, and every year I seem to lose 2 or 3 squash plants to them. Have any ideas or companion plant ideas to knock those pests into oblivion?

    • Villager says:

      We do occasionally lose one to squash vine borers, though last year I sprayed the stems with neem oil to control squash bugs and I had no problems with either of them. I’m doing the same routine this year, so we will see what happens. I avoid spraying the blossoms, and the pollinators seem unfazed.

      Neem oil has become my spray of choice when I have to spray. The cucurbits all need some help here to keep cucumber beetles and squash bugs under control, and the eggplants need help with flea beetles early in the season. Neem oil definitely acts as a deterrent in those cases.

      Of course, as a Master Gardener I can’t officially recommend that, because it’s not on the list of Purdue recommended chemicals for those insect/plant combinations. One reason I am semi-anonymous here is so I don’t have to jump through those hoops.

      Ironically, after I got in trouble for spraying Neem oil on the eggplant at our MG display garden last year, the county extension agent told me he had given up growing eggplant because of the flea beetle problems. He should try Neem oil – we must have harvested 30-40 pounds of eggplant last year and the only control I used was neem. We also had a bumper crop at the display garden!

  6. Ali says:

    Good reminder about the MG thing. I am not official yet, still need to get my hours in, but I’ll have to keep it in mind.

  7. Angela says:

    You’ve been working hard! Thanks a lot for this beautiful and informative tour.

  8. Debbie says:

    Wow thanks for the heads up on Neem oil. This is my second year for a garden and I only grew some cabbage and beans last year and a few green onions. This year I have four beds and am attempting squash, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes. I saw my first squash vine borer moth yesterday, I was told if you put tinfoil around the vines up about an inch it would foil them moth into not laying the eggs. Any thoughts on that. All my vines are wearing the latest jewelry (tinfoil necklaces). I would sure hate to loose the plants. Thanks

    • Villager says:

      Debbie, I’ve not heard of the tinfoil method. I’m going to put out some yellow sticky traps to try and trap some cucumber beetles, and they are supposed to trap the squash vine borer moths too. To be honest, the borers not been a big problem for me, and the only things they got in 2008 were a couple of winter squash vines.

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