The New Home Economics

Solstice garden update

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The first days of summer were marked by terrible weather–three nights in a row of severe thunderstorms that left much of the city (including us, for about 18 hours) without power. Trees are down everywhere. We were very lucky that we only lost a few branches. Despite that, the weather was nice during the day we were able to spend much of the weekend outside.

Eating snow peas in the garden

We were sitting on the deck watching a monarch laying eggs on our milkweed Thursday night when suddenly, something in the letttuce/pea tank caught my eye. SNOW PEAS are ready! The kids have barely let us have any. I already know none will make it to the kitchen. I’ve eaten 3 or 4 of them, and only by sneaking. The flimsy twine support I made for them was completely insufficient and they are now laying on top of the lettuce, but no mind. Everything is still growing and very much edible.

Broccoli and basil in pots

Things are going swimmingly in my deck container garden, too. I hope the broccoli doesn’t get a whole lot bigger… I may have crowded that a bit closer than is ideal. I will also have to thin out the basil soon.

Overview of vegetable garden on June 21, 2013

Here’s the whole garden. Rhubarb at the bottom. I added a fresh layer of straw last week, and there’s not much to do right now in here except harvest scallions, check the radishes and implore everything to grow faster. We also harvested our garlic scapes on 6/21.

Peppers in garden

Taking it piece by piece, here are the peppers (mixed sweet and hot). I hope they get bigger soon; they have barely grown in the 6 weeks since I planted them. Behind them, as usual, the hops attempt to take over the house. At the trellis to the rear left, cucumbers are looking much healthier but still very small.

Bush beans and Christmas Lima beans

Bush beans (we had a bit of spotty germination), flanked by scallions. Cucumbers on trellis to the right, Christmas Limas on trellis to the left. I didn’t think about it until after I planted, but since both varieties of beans are open-pollinated, am I going to get cross-breeds? Maybe not. The bush beans are Blue Lake.

Tomato trellis

Continuing on to the tomato and garlic area. The garlic will be ready relatively soon, and I’ll be happy to get it out of the way. The tomatoes are growing rapidly right now, putting out blooms and tiny green tomatoes. I also *tried* to plant some radishes in here, between the garlic and tomatoes, but I think they are not getting quite enough direct sunlight. They just do not seem to want to produce a good-sized radish. Such a bummer; I should have planted them in with the beans, which were tiny for a very long time. I’m growing the following six varieties of heirloom tomatoes this year: Costoluto Genovese, Jaune Flamee, Moonglow, Nyagous, Brandywine, and Black Cherry.

Kale, herbs, zucchini, acorn squash

Finally in the last, odd-shaped west end of the garden, we have kale, some herbs (including a lot of chamomile), one hill of zucchini, some acorn squash at the trellis, and a row of shallots in the front.

Corner of the house and garden

Here’s a view from further out. In the very front between the chimney and the rain barrel, I’ve been attempting to grow both asparagus and strawberries for several years. I’ve recently come to realize this is not working well. It’s simply not enough space to get a decent amount of either one. Especially the asparagus; we end up with about 5 spears every spring. And maintaining the strawberries means maintaining a constant war with the rabbits.

Meanwhile on the other side of the rain barrel, my currant bush just keeps putting out fruit, with less light, little care, and no rabbit damage.

Now that I’m a more experienced gardener, the very first portions of my garden are truly ripe for a bit of editing. Perhaps even a full redesign if I can get Adam to cut down an ugly (and completely non-beneficial) crab apple tree. I want to put in plants that are more native to Minnesota and less likely to be taken out by rabbits or to need constant attention with things like acidified mulch (I’m looking at you, tiny blueberries that have never given me fruit). So, stay tuned on that.High season for greens is in full swing, and everything else is soon to follow, if we can prevent trees from falling on us…

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One thought on “Solstice garden update

  1. I know it is the opposite of what they say about tomatoes, but if you put the ripe black cherries in the fridge for a day or two, they will be even better! “Burst of flavor” is how Matt described them last summer. Happy gardening! šŸ™‚

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