What We Are Growing in Our Garden (June Recap)

By Julie Sews - 11:37:00 AM

Wow has this post been late this year!  We have been so busy here this year working on home projects (maintenance and remodelling), that I haven't had time to post about our garden. It's also been amazing weather here (believe it our not our summers can be very hot here but this year it's been upper 70s instead) that I've been rather compelled to hang outside rather than hang out inside in air conditioning being a nerd.  I do apologize for those who do follow our garden every year.

What We Did Different With our Garden this Year 
Our garden July W3 2014
Garden A (right side of our garden) July W3 2014
Garden B (left side of our garden) July W3 2014

Every year we learn a little from the year before, no matter how long you've been gardening.  Since we are finally learning what plants work best for our garden and us and how much to grow, we have been able to focus on aesthetics this year (or in other words making our garden pretty).  In order to accomplish this I tried to focus on height tall to short, and symmetry.  I planted low plants in the front, with the prettiest front and forward (lettuce, and kale), and high plants (tomatoes) in the back.  And last year we placed our trellises lined along our pathways.  I really liked how that looked it has nice symmetry and frames the path along with the strawberries we planted a few years ago. 

What We Are Growing This Year

This season we are also scaling back a bit, since I planned on being busier this year.  We planted half the green beans (pole) that we did last year, and no peas (too much time needed for picking, and no cauliflower (not enough space).  We also planted less kale 6 plants instead of 10 (I found how much we planted last year to be too much for our needs).

I decided last year after being engulfed with more tomatoes than I could keep up with to preserve that we would grow less plants (24 vs 41 although with our helper plants were at 32) and only Cherry tomatoes and Romas.  Why?  Well because I use to preserve tomatoes by making marinera sauce, but have over the years determined that dehydrating tomatoes (AKA sun dried tomatoes) is the easiest way to preserve tomatoes, they also take up the least amount of space, and are less likely to go bad. All you need to do is slice them up, and Romas are the easiest tomatoes to slice since they have less liquid and also faster to dehydrate.

I also plan to not record the weight of harvest any more in order to shorten the time dedicated to our garden.  I feel it's a helpful  tool if you are trying to grow as much food as possible, but that is no longer my goal due to time constraints.  Instead our goal is to grow what we really love, eat often, and gives us the most benefit to work. 

  • 32 or more tomato plants (6 cherry, 18 Roma, plus 8 or more helper plants assumed to be early girl, big, or better boy).  
  • 8 bell pepper
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 4 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 serrano peppers
  • 6 broccoli
  • 6 kale (2 red russian, 2 curly, 2 dino)
  • 6 firecracker lettuce (red leaf lettuce)
  • 6 romaine lettuce
  • 6 spinach
  • cilantro (self seeded)
  • 3 rows of cucumbers (approx 30 plants direct seed)
  • 1 row of purple pole beans (approx 35 plants direct seed)
  • italian sweet basil
  • thai basil (direct seed)
  • turnips (direct seed)
  • beets (direct seed)
  • parsley (direct seed)
  • mustard and arugula (self seeded)
  • spearmint
  • catnip (self seeded)
  • chives (perennial )
  • strawberries (perennial)
  • asparagus (perennial )
  • rhubarb (perennial )
  • raspberries (perennial )

Our Garden in June

What We Harvested in June
  • cilantro
  • kale
  • lettuce
  • spinach
  • mustard greens
  • arugula
  • strawberries
  • chives
Strawberry Crop
Our garden is really doing well so far this season.  To catch you up to speed with what happened in our garden in June.  We had a good strawberry crop this year (the middle of June to the end).  We have lots of June bearing strawberry plants all over our property, most notably along our pathway to our front door.  I made strawberry jam, and we pigged out on strawberries with chocolate dip, sometimes paired with Muscato wine.  A fabulous combo by the way.

The great thing about having June bearing strawberries is they're harvested when there isn't much to do in the garden except weed, pick peas, and harvest lettuce and cilantro. 

As soon as I finished being a strawberry farmer for the 2 weeks out of the year, I started the very badly needed chore of weeding.  Boy did I need to weed!  I have never let our garden get this bad.  I should have took a picture first, but it looked like an overgrown jungle.  Every square had so many weeds and the worst was our brick path ways in our garden.  The crab grass covered nearly every crack and was as high as my knee.  The roots were also so long that I could only pull out the roots for half.  Now the weeds are coming back again in the cracks, so I plan to weed again soon and actually attempt to fin a more permanent long term solution to prevent weeds from cropping up in our cracks.  I have a multi prong plan already in place.  So look for a post to come soon on that! 

Lettuce and Spinach
We planted spinach, firecracker (red leaf lettuce) and Romaine lettuce this year from transplants we bought at our local farmers market.  We planted almost all of our plants at the same time this year (around May 20), including our lettuce and spinach.  In hind sight I think this was a mistake.  Our spinach never grew to harvest-able amount.  It bolted in July as a very tiny plant.  I think it didn't have enough time to grow before it bolted.  Our lettuce had enough time to grow before it bolted but not long.  I think if we had planted it sooner we would have been able to harvest more.  I think around mothers day is the ideal time.  I just always forget I can plant some things early.

I was so busy I did not harvest any lettuce until it started to bolt (about end of June/Start of July).  I knew from the past that after it bolts it taste really bitter, so I harvested it as fast as I could when I first noticed signs of bolting.  Upon harvesting I noticed earwigs had made a home in our lettuce.  I had to shake them out of our lettuce and inspect it thoroughly before bringing it inside.

Our concrete raised bed July w3 2014 Mustard left and Arugula right bolted
I leave our concrete raised bed on our driveway to just mustard and arugula greens.  I love them because they are pretty hardy greens with a little kick to them (fantastic on sandwiches and burgers and mixed with lettuce in salads) that easily self seeds.  Because of the invasiveness of these greens they need to be self contained.  As long as you do that these greens are amazingly easy to grow and they get to seasons a year in zone 4.  It's now time to plant a second crop!  While it self seeds as you can see in the picture above most of the arugula seeds will fall on the asphalt and not in the beds. 

What are you growing in your garden this year?  What's your favourite veggie to grow?  I'd love to hear about it.

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