In the Garden :: June

The recent rains and subsequent hot, humid weather have caused an explosion of growth in the garden. Although interestingly, I can hardly recognize the amazing growth and changes without going back to look at photos from my “online garden journal” (last month’s entry is here).

Perhaps the biggest transformation has been in the upper garden, where just a month ago, we plowed new land, spread horse manure, rototilled, and then shaped raised beds.  This garden is a bit of an experiment, as I really prefer to create garden space without disrupting the soil layers, but tilling a new garden space is far quicker than sheet mulching.

Upper garden

So, a little tour. Starting in the lower right hand corner of the photo, and moving toward the upper left, we have:

  • Winter squash and corn
  • Two beds of sweet potatoes for winter storage
  • Melons, mostly Banana and Ananas, both of which I wrote about here
  • Pole beans and peppers
  • Heirloom tomatoes, including many of these varieties
  • Beets, collards, chard, and zinnias
  • Peppers and okra
  • Sunflowers

Corn and winter squash

Corn and winter squash. So far, so good.  Last year I had my first run in with squash bugs and squash vine borers, both of which make it really difficult to grow squash without pesticides.

root crops

Beets, collards, chard and zinnias.  One of the biggest differences I’ve noticed in the upper garden is that my rate of seed germination is MUCH higher than in the lower garden. I’m not sure if that is because water retention is better in the clay soil of the upper garden, or if there are other considerations.

Nanking Cherry | Homestead Honey

In the orchard, we have harvested our first fruit!  This Nanking Cherry, which is a bush cherry native to China,  Japan, and the Himalayas, had beautiful flowers in the spring, and in only its second year, has given us a fair crop of delicious fruits!  I’m definitely going to be planting more of these bushes, as they are attractive, extremely cold-hardy, and delicious.

Lower garden

Down in the lower garden, beds are so full and lush, and we’re starting to enjoy dinners directly out of the garden. So far, we’ve harvested:

  • Basil, parsley, sage, chives, and other herbs
  • Garlic scapes
  • Salad greens including mizuna, lettuce, arugula, dandelion, lambs quarters, purslane, kale, mustard, and more!
  • Broccoli, cabbage, and kale
  • Peas

Melon in the lower garden

One of the kids’ garden beds, full of heirloom canteloupe and watermelon.  They carefully divided this bed in two (you can see the wooden stick laying in the middle of the bed), so they would know who gets to harvest and carry the ripe melons from the garden!

What’s growing in your garden right now?


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  1. Your garden is looking lush and healthy! It’s inspiring!

  2. There is possibly nothing more beautiful than the sight of a lush garden. Just gorgeous. Love how you planted the upper garden on the diagonal. Was there a reason you did it that way? And planting the winter squash in groups with the corn… brilliant. Very much enjoyed the tour.

    • Teri Page says:

      Thank you Karen!
      Yes there is a reason why we shaped the raised beds on the diagonal: it’s hard to see it in the photo, but the land slopes a bit to the south (left in that photo), so we wanted to make sure our beds would not be washed away by heavy rains (as we have seen happen to some gardens here – without raised beds). So the beds are roughly following the contour of the land.

  3. I love these virtual garden tours! :-) And I have garden envy right now, LOL! But seriously, how lovely everything looks, Teri!
    The bush cherry sounds interesting. We’re keeping a list of fruit trees / bushes we might want to plant someday, and it’s good to know what is hearty for colder climates.

    • Teri Page says:

      Thank you Tracy! Sometimes the garden gets a little ragged looking toward the end of the summer, but right now it’s very lush!

      Add the Juneberry to your list of fruit trees/bushes. I just tried one a few days ago, and it was delicious!

  4. Looks like your garden is doing well. Squash bugs are the worst, aren’t they? I organic garden and have found that spraying soaping water on my plants helps with the squash bugs. The other method is to keep checking under the leaves and squash the copper-colored eggs before they hatch. Now if I could just figure out how to keep cucumber beetles at bay I’ll be all set!

    • Teri Page says:

      I spoke too soon, Kelly! I found several clusters of eggs and at least 4 mature squash bugs this week. I managed to kill most of the adults, by hand! But thank you for sharing the trick of spraying soapy water. I have found that water in general makes them come out of hiding, and then I can catch them and squish them by hand. My daughter (6 years old) has already been well trained in killing the eggs, and she and I do daily checks!

      As for cucumber beetles, I know hand killing is not quite as easy. I know some organic growers use sticky traps, trap crops, and even kaolin clay applications! Best of luck!

      • I have not tried this myself but have read and heard of other people doing it, what are your thoughts on guineas in the garden? I have heard they get rid of all your pests and don’t mess with your plants.

        • Teri Page says:

          I have no experience with guineas, other than hearing them make a lot of noise at our neighbor’s house! My experience with all fowl is that they will eventually mess with your garden. I prefer to fence them out, although I’m sure there are creative ways to protect plants and still allow free-ranging fowl. Let me know if you try it out!

  5. Wow, things are looking amazing in your garden! My squash started to wilt + die around the end of May, and I thought I had squash vine borers. After a little “surgery” on the stem, I found that wasn’t the case, so I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out what happened.

    What zone are you in for gardening? So many of your plants are double the size of mine here in Massachusetts!

    • Teri Page says:

      We had some wilt last year too. I believe it was a bacterial wilt, perhaps spread by cucumber beetles. I never figured it out for certain!

      We are in Zone 5 – I believe we’re now 5b – but we’ve had some extraordinary conditions for growing – really heavy rains, followed by hot humid weather. Plants are just taking off!

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