The Midwest has been hit with a number of severe thunderstorms over the past few weeks, making this year’s late June garden particularly challenging. On the one hand, there is a LOT of lush growth, like this volunteer Butternut squash, for instance. It conveniently grew out of a compost pile, so is slurping up nutrients and taking over this new perennial flower bed!
This garden bed is one of our grand experiments. We created several beds over the winter with the following method: lay down a thick layer of cardboard, then top the cardboard with heaping mounds of cow manure and barn bedding. It’s not exactly like the lasagna gardening method I normally use, but it was a way to make best use of the organic matter we had available. This spring, we planted into these (largely un-composted) beds. The spring potatoes have the most lush, large green leaves, and the winter squash and watermelon we planted in May are growing HUGE! I’m not certain that they will survive the inevitably onslaught of squash bugs, but even if one or two plants survive, I’ll be grateful.
Another fun garden experiment has been planting a few new crops. In the upper garden, I have a small plot of edamame. In the lower garden, we’re growing peanuts! So far, the rabbits seem to be as excited about peanuts as we are…
This trombocino squash is another fun crop I’ve added to this year’s garden. What is unique about this squash is that they can be harvested early and eaten like a summer squash, or left on the vine and harvested late like a winter squash. Plus, they are a cultivar of Cucurbita moschata, which tend to do well here in NE Missouri. I have grown them before, in Oregon, and while I’m hoping they will flourish, I have to admit, they are not my favorite tasting. But they are a great crop for kids to help grow:
Harvest-wise, the garden is beginning to come into its most productive time. Broccoli is still sending out side shoots, cabbage has been harvested and turned into sauerkraut, and the cucumbers have just begun to ripen. I’ve already made one batch of lactofermented pickles, but I’m thinking this year that I need to find the perfect canned pickle recipe. Any suggestions?
The greatest challenge of the season has been the onset of early blight on my entire tomato crop (101 plants!). I’ve diligently removed diseased leaves (after taking this photo 🙂 ), mulched the plants, and trained them up trellises, but the fact that it continues to rain every 1-2 days means that the blight has continued to spread. I have a few more organic tricks up my sleeve that I’m hoping will work, and I’ll continue to report!
Despite the rain and the fungus, walking amongst the flowers, herbs, and vegetables remains a delight, and my own form of meditation and renewal.
What’s growing in your garden right now? Share it in the comments, or use #radicalhomestead on Instagram!