This post is about the details. Since my garden is very close to its summer peak, now would be a nice time to show more details. Close to peak you ask? Yes, I'm in Texas; 100+ degree weather is just around the corner, almost nothing grows in that. So I tried to plan things so that most of my crops produced mostly in June and July. It's June, so let's see how my plan is working.
The Kid's Garden
I really should stop calling it this because they help in all the beds, but aren't really old enough to have their own bed yet. They are currently learning how to properly harvest without yanking up the whole plant and how not to trample the plants while harvesting.
Spinning Gourds to make fun toys for them.
Birdhouse gourds...another fun family craft.
This is a new bed this spring and has virgin soil. It is going to be a legume cover crop in a week or so, but until I could plant that, I decided to practice growing spring broccoli and lettuce and cabbage. The lettuce has bolted and the broccoli is heading and bolting at the same time. This cabbage is heading, but may bolt before the head is done. I would say that I am done with spring planted brassicas.
Bed 2: Peppers, Okra, and Eggplant
The okra had a rough start as it was being eaten as fast as it could grow. I finally decided to cover it with tulle and that gave it the relief it needed to put on size. The harvest has started to trickle in. Okra gumbo, seafood gumbo, and fried okra are in my future. All Smiles.
The eggplant is beautiful and it is producing nicely. Here are 3 on one plant. Most plants have 2.
The fish pepper is fairly slow growing to me, but it is beautiful and could be planted in a front bed without standing out. I have a lot of small peppers that aren't starting to color at all yet. A couple plants are scarce; so multiple plantings is probably a requirement. Some plants aren't as varigated as others either. I'll only save seed from the most varigated plants.
The carnival mix peppers have been impressive. I would call these prolific. They aren't 24" tall and several of them have over 5 bell peppers on them. They are producing more than we can eat. The purple and cream colored ones color up fast. The red and orange ones are still fully green. It will be interesting to see how much these produce by the end of summer. Here is a look at 6 on one plant; they range from about 3-5" long and about 3" across.
Bed 3: Summer Squash
This bed has been under serious attack by cucumber beetles and squash bugs. Those beetles are the worse. I need to find a way to extinguish them! I think we have fought the squash bugs off fairly well by handpicking and hunting for their eggs. At one point, it looked like this bed was a goner, but it has really bounced back in the last few days. What did we do? We reburied all the dying stems. I would guess that new roots have been laid and that is what is causing the rebound because all the nice, new growth is just beyond where we reburied the stems.
Bed 4: Beans
I thought that beans were easy to grow. At least the peas were last year. The beans have bean rust and are a huge disappointment. The pole beans have no leaves. The bush beans are just now catching the rust. I am researching what to do. The picture below is nice compared to what the beans look like today. We just had two days of rain and the beans are a total loss. We will be clearing them out today. Even the pods are a loss.
Bed 5: Tomatoes! Heinz, Roma, Cherokee Purple, and Black Cherry
This bed has been a pure delight thus far. I pulled one tobacco worm very early in the season and I haven't seen one since. I haven't even seen any damage from them. Though, I have seen plenty of spiders. So I would say nature is at balance in this bed. The leaves (for the most part) are still healthy and green. Only the black cherry looks like it may be trying to get a little sick. But, these look good and should make it to mid-July with no problem.
Well, that was the case anyway. Now we've had two days of rain and check out my -were green- tomato leaves now. The good news is that this yellowing is not widespread. The bad news is that I can't prune these out without exposing my toms to the sun (sunscald). I need these to produce over the next month because by mid-July it will be too hot for them to flower (100+).
Bed 6: Winter Squash
Perhaps Bed 3 is rebounding because all the squash bugs moved to this bed. Now this bed is looking sick and on its last leg. There are plenty of winter squash out there for us; we just need them to mature. We have more than we would eat in a year as is. The only one lacking is the acorn squash. There are only two of those out there. So now, we will employ the methods used in Bed 3 in this Bed.
Below you see one of the damaged vines. We sprayed with BT and buried it. I am not concerned because this is what my summer bed looked like before it was re-buried. Also....Check out my YES!!!! post.