July Gardening 2020

Green Hubbard squash blossoming

I am planting lettuce like wild and harvesting some each week. We still have to buy most of our lettuce, so I am trying to fix that. We will each usually eat a head of romaine in a single salad, so I cannot plant too much lettuce. I am planting a couple heat resistant varieties of lettuce — Nevada and Jericho romaine. Hopefully I can get enough planted to not have to buy greens anymore.

Nevada lettuce

My dragon tongue beans are already producing. I harvested one supper of beans from my plants. The blue lake beans are just starting to grow beans.

Dragon tongue beans
Blue lake beans growing up the fence

Snow peas are also coming on strong.

My squash and cucumbers have blossoms and are spreading out. Tomatoes are putting on green fruit but we have only harvested a handful of cherry tomatoes so far. I have been tying and guiding the cucumbers and tomatoes up our trellis. I hope the cucumbers will provide some shade for my lettuce as the days get hotter. We get over 100F here in our summers each year with no rain until September.

Strawberries put on several a week but just enough for eating a few fresh off the plant.

Blueberries are getting eaten by birds despite us going out every day to harvest. I will have to put up netting after all if we want any ripe ones.

Blueberries

Blackberries are just ripening. We enjoy a bowlful with some whipped cream each evening this time of year. I am looking forward to when we have peaches too (I only have a single peach this year).

My first Peach

Raspberries are putting on also but we only have a few plants still. They have not established very well yet. Hoping they do better next year.

My passion fruit has started a new vine with leaves after the ear wigs have finally left it alone! This is relieving as it was not looking well at all.

The sweet potatoes are vining out all over. My second row has hardly any sign of life, so planting the first week of June odds far too late. My first row I planted the first week of April but the second I decided last minute to plant.

My red kale has grown to harvesting size. I also planted a mess of carrot seeds next to my row of salsify which is growing up.

Red kale ready for some leaves to be harvested

I purchased some katniss (duck potato) from eBay which I planted on a couple five gallon buckets with dirt and water up to the brim. They have not done too well so far probably because of the heat and them being in containers. Hopefully they pull through or I will have to move them farther into the shade.

Katniss somewhat shriveled from the heat

My wintergreen has put on blossoms but has not grown at all from what I can tell.

My corn was slow starting due to late rainy weather and my irrigation not being setup correctly. I had not caught that two of my sprinklers were set to run for zero minutes each day for several weeks. The corn is liking the heat though and looks healthy.

Some of my onions have gotten huge! Others are still too small. I am trying to figure out what makes the difference as all are watered plenty and get sun. Could be the soil is better in certain areas? Some onions were shaded by my kale and chard which I have since pulled up and transplanted or fed to the chickens.

My potatoes have started dying back but some have recovered since I started watering them more. My rhubarb has finally established after me thinking it was going to die from bugs and not getting enough water.

Rhubarb

I harvested my first (and only) artichoke. My second plant does not look too happy without any buds but my forest looks great.

Artichoke right before harvesting

I have given several arugula and peppermint plants away as mine keep reproducing. Same with garlic. One garlic head was so big a family member thought it was elephant garlic (it is not). Watering it seems to make a big difference in size as I had not watered it the last couple years and most were pretty small.

Garlic head

My apples should be ready next month. Something ate my two cherries. My toddler ate all the red and black currants and tries to eat all the green blueberries. She has sure enjoyed harvesting all the berries this year.

Wild thimbleberries near my house

I planted some leaks as we only used the greens in one recipe. They grew the greens back and are looking strong. I am doing the same with romaine stalks.

My sunchokes are doing well though I have to water them extra as they are in buckets.

June Gardening 2020

After constructing a tomato and cucumber trellis, I have planted several cucumber plants at the base. I bought a lemon cucumber start to get a jump on the season as my ones grown from seed are still fairly small. We will see how the cucamelons do too. Many of my tomatoes have been growing rapidly and we have started harvesting the first of the cherry tomatoes.

Sun gold cherry tomatoes

Strawberries put on so many during June that we picked about a quart a day for a while. We had to freeze several quarts to keep them from spoiling. An evening treat of strawberries and whipped cream with granola is a family favorite! Later in the summer we will switch to blackberries.

Blueberries are starting to ripen. A bird got my two cherries on my tree before I could. Several apples are growing on my three small trees. I even have a single peach still growing. We have started to get a few raspberries too, but these plants have not fully established enough to get a reasonable harvest. My passion fruit got heavily raided by earwigs. I am hoping it recovers now that I have put down diatomaceous earth and check it every evening.

A small peach
Ripening Blueberries

Honey berries have stopped producing for the year as have most wild strawberries. The snow peas are putting on strong though and our lettuce is growing.

We are trying a new variety of lettuce called Nevada Lettuce which is a loose leaf variety resistant to bolting or bitterness in hot summers. So far we have been pleased with the results as long as I can keep the slugs controlled.

Nevada lettuce

My first row of sweet potatoes have come up and are starting to spread their vines out. My second row was planted a couple months later, so it will take a bit.

We had lots of late rain this year which has resulted in a surplus of slugs which ate many of my beans and lettuce. I replanted some and hope to still get a decent harvest. This also cost me several corn plants as they do not germinate well without hot days.

I also discovered my sprinkler timer was not set properly and half of my sprinklers were not coming on for weeks. I fixed this but my corn has not gotten enough water and is still small.

I have cleared out chard and kale to make room for squash. The chard and kale were going to seed anyway and I have relocated quite a few elsewhere. The chickens have enjoyed multiple chard plants a day for weeks.

Zucchini

I tried hatching chicks while one was broody, but none ended up making it due to the other hens stepping on the eggs. One made it to nearly full development though, so I will probably try again sometime.

I bought a couple katniss plants from eBay that have started to put on leaves. I planted them in a five gallon bucket of soil with no drainage holes and filled with water.

My red kale has come up and I tried some Savoy cabbage, but I think it was not early enough to get a harvest this year. My carrots that I planted from my own seed all came up wild, so even though I kept the wild carrots out of the garden, they are plentiful in my area and apparently have all the dominant traits. I will not be collecting carrot seed again as it unfortunately seems to be a bad fit for my area of plentiful wild carrots in pastures around my place. I planted more carrots from seed I purchased.

I also harvested some salsify I found growing wild. They were bitter as it is summer, but I got enough good flavor in with the bitterness that I decided to try growing domestic salsify. I planted some black salsify too. Both should do great in my area as the wild ones seem to.

Salsify (black and white)

My grape plants seem to finally be getting established and several feet of growth. Maybe we will get some actual grapes next year. My kiwi and mulberries still have no signs of life. The late frost killed the kiwi back to the ground in May and it has not recovered.

My green Hubbard squash plants have come up fast. I planted several of them and hope to get lots of squash this year. I have not had Hubbard squash before, but they say it is wonderful and tastes like sweet potato.

Hard white wheat almost ready to harvest