It’s mid-June already and we are already keeping busy out in the garden. Since my last update in April, a lot has happened. First off, everything is planted! As always, some things worked as planned and some things had to be tweaked. I added a few items to the landscaping, changed a few things and completed planted the vegetable garden. The only problem is all the little pests that are enjoying what we have done as well – welcome to organic gardening right! Here’s a breakdown of all the details…
The seeds I started in the house back in March were a big fail! Boo hiss…live and learn. So, for the veggie garden I directly sowed seeds and then ended up adding a few established plants I got from the nursery. From seed we have: Kale, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Basil, Green Beans, Zucchini and Spaghetti Squash. For the plants we have: 3 varieties of Heirloom Tomatoes, a Cherry Tomato and a Carmen Pepper. In my herb filled planter pot on the deck is: Rosemary, Parsley, Cilantro, Mint, Thyme, and Jalapeno. So far everything is doing great! May and June have been unusually wet around here and the intermittent heat waves are creating a garden’s dream environment.
The Kale has just about doubled in size. I have already harvested (and enjoyed) some of the Spinach. The Swiss Chard has been a learning process. In the picture on the left you can see the big Chard plants. These were from last year (I planted a couple new seeds in gaps between). They survived the winter and gave me a nice harvest in early Spring. I found that I was continually fighting it going to seed though, so I read up a bit. What I learned was Swiss Chard goes to seed after a full season – plus one harvest. That made total sense from what I was experiencing, so I dug up the old Chard and replanted some new seeds in their place. They have not yet sprouted in this picture. The Basil seeds kind of clumped when they came in, so I also added additional seeds in the empty space there too. The Green Beans (against the back fence line) have officially grabbed hold and are starting their big climb. All the Tomato plants have little yellow flowers open and are progressing rapidly. I got really fun colorful support cages this year and they really brighten up the otherwise green space. The Pepper plant, was quite honestly an accident. I was looking at a Cayenne Pepper plant for my herb planter at the store and I grabbed a healthy plant. When I came home I realized I grabbed a Sweet Pepper plant instead. I have never had luck with Sweet Peppers, but this one is growing great. I am pleasantly surprised with my accidental purchase! Originally the only Squash I was going to plant in this garden was Zucchini, since I have another space I planted with Spaghetti Squash. Instead, I am growing one Zucchini and one Spaghetti Squash in the main garden. Now in the “Spaghetti Squash garden” I also have one Zucchini plant. Since it is the first year using this space, which is on the side of the house, I was unsure if it would support healthy growth. So I decided to split my risk. I still need to build a support trellis for them, as I plan to grow them up and out of the main garden space. I am going to make a bamboo trellis similar to the cute one Brown Paper Belle made; mine will need to be a rectangle shape to support both plants though.
For the landscaping, we had successful blooming of the clematis, roses, and irises. I planted two more butterfly bushes along our back fence and look forward to them growing as well as the established one already there. I plan for them to make a summer long blooming hedge within the next year or two. The mature butterfly bush (4 years old I think) is easily 6 feet tall right now! It will start blooming in the next couple of weeks. Right now the shade loving Astilbe are in bloom with their striking hot pink feathers. I bought some new begonia bulbs and planted them in between the Astilbe but they have yet to show any life. Fingers crossed on those!
In the planters on the deck, the dwarf sunflowers are coming in nicely. The Morning Glories and Moonflowers are stretching high and starting to wind themselves into the trellis. I can’t wait for them to create a flowering privacy screen for the deck!
For the front of the house, this year I tried growing Cypress vines from seed. While they aren’t a complete fail, they are not progressing at a rate I was happy with. We have two trellises on the front of the house and had removed the invasive Bittersweet vine that grew there last year. (*We had used the Native American Bittersweet which was supposed to be non-invasive…HA! I advise against it for use in smaller spaces.) Right now, after a month of growth, the Cypress is still only about two inches tall (if that). I didn’t dig it up, but we did get two Mandevilla plants to grow on the trellises. I love Mandevilla and know they are great growers that will climb well in that sunny location; plus they flower all season long!
I finally bit the bullet and splurged on adding the Sedum plantings I have been wanting for the past couple of years for our sloped front stair border. We chose a beautiful chartreuse Stonecrop and mixed it with a variegated blue toned Stonecrop combination. The Sedums flank Fall blooming Mums and a spiky Ornamental Grass row.
All in all, “it’s all happening!” We are regularly weeding, and it is regularly raining. We are also fighting the good fight against invading pests, but that is a whole other post. Within the next month I expect that we will be eating fresh veggies and our deck will be shrouded with flowers. Until then…happy growing to you!