June 20, 2013 - As the Garden Enters the Summer Season (part 1)

Tomorrow summer officially begins.  You couldn't tell from the weather we've been having!  It's been about 20 degrees below normal for the last ten days......cloudy, windy and rainy.

I spent most of today in the garden, trying to catch up a bit in between rain storms.  I transplanted, weeded, hoed, pulled out old plants, raked and did general garden cleanup.  Then I took pictures.  Lots of pictures!  So many pictures, I thought it would be best to put them in two posts.  So here we go, with the summer garden!

 The small garden behind the shed had garlic, the main lettuce bed and a container of potatoes.  All the remaining mature lettuces were pulled this week, so today it was filled with transplants.  These lettuce plants had been started in the main garden, but sparrows were keeping them badly nipped.  Back here they are protected by the netting covered structure, so hopefully they can recover and grow.  Tuesday the garlic was pulled (back where the straw is).  It was still small, but beginning to dry and flop over, so out it came.   In its place I planted three rows of carrots.

 The garlic, drying on a screen in the shed.  Not a great harvest, but considering they all came from a couple of grocery store bulbs that were rotting, not too bad.  These won't be weighed until they are completely dry.

 To the right of the shed garden, we head into the main garden.  Here I have flowers, a couple of leftover pepper plants, some tomatoes, parsley and dill.

 To my right I see the four Super Fantastic tomato plants, with a few carrots interplanted.

 Yes, I have tomatoes.  But will it ever warm up enough for them to ripen?

 This was the Walla Walla sweet onion bed, but most of them have now been pulled.  There are about a half dozen larger ones at the back of the bed, and a few salad onions in the front, but my onion harvest is only going to be a fraction of that of previous years.  It just hasn't been a very good year for my root crops.  I do have a few radishes left in this bed, and a nice row of Red Sails lettuce.  The sparrows don't bother the red lettuces like they do the green.  Today I planted a few beet seeds in the center of this bed.

 Walla Wallas hanging in the shed to dry.  I won't be giving any away this year!

The earlier blooming Sweet Williams were all cut back this morning.  I was going to scatter some Cosmos seeds here, but when I opened the packet there were only about six seeds left.  I tossed them into the loosened soil, if they grow they grow.  At least the tomato plant here has a bit more breathing room with the flowers cut down.

 A wheelbarrow stuffed full of Sweet Williams will be headed for the landfill.  My compost pile doesn't get hot enough to kill the seeds, and I don't want volunteers all over the garden next year!

 My "Toni Hollyhocks" are blooming.

 As is my very first coneflower!  These budded last year, but never did bloom.  I was planning on pulling them out this week, but they came through for me!  The plants are rather ugly (and huge), but the flower is so very pretty.

 Dark Red Norland potatoes.  

 On the left are the Yukon Gold (from my saved seed) and the not Yukon Gold potatoes that were mislabeled at the store.  Unfortunately, the ones from my saved seeds evidently have blight, which is spreading to the others.  I've been digging the ones from my seeds, but so far I've only found a couple of potatoes under the others.  It seems they are not only the wrong variety, but they are going to give me a very sparse, if any, harvest.  On the right are my only two mature broccoli plants (all the others were consumed by cutworms).  There are a few carrots in there somewhere, but not growing well.  More Red Sails lettuce that will be ready by the time the other ones are gone.    I have a bare spot at the front, where a cabbage was just removed.  I have no idea what will go there, maybe more beets.

 I've pulled the cabbages from this bed, they were used to make sauerkraut this week.  There is still an oddball in the bed, along with some young broccoli transplants.  I've cut off mature cabbages, leaving the roots in the ground, and had them grow multiple mini-heads.  But I've never before grown a cabbage from seed that developed three heads on one plant!    I put in a few cloves of garlic that had begun to sprout.  It should be fine to use as green garlic this summer/fall.

A three-headed cabbage!

 This is the first time I've ever grown leeks.  They seem to be doing OK.

The strawberries on the left are just beginning their second crop of the year, and they are beautiful berries.  They're way bigger than the early berries, and much easier to pick as they are up higher on the plants.  There are a couple more Celebrity tomatoes back against the fence (I have 8 of them in all), some yellow bush beans between the strawberry and raspberry beds, and cantaloupe in the pot in front.  Marigolds are just beginning to bloom.

 The cantaloupe plants have blossoms.

 Next to the raspberries, I have another Celebrity tomato, a row of mixed sweet peppers, a few more carrots, parsnips in various stages of growth, and parsley.

 I love the cosmos at the end of the raspberry bed.  I think I'll plant them all over my garden next year.

 Three hills of butternut squash are threatening to take over the garden.  I'm trying to aim them toward the fence, so they can climb.

 Zucchini in the back, yellow crookneck squash in front.

 We'll be eating crooknecks soon.

And zucchini, too!


  1. What a quandary-the cool temps are good for us, but not for tomatoes.
    Gosh, your garden is really looking fantastic. I wish mine would get going..but our delayed planting (June 5 this year!!!) and cool temps since haven't gotten things off to much of a start. Like I said, I'm happy. Garden isn't. Sigh.....

    1. Sue, this weather is ridiculous! Actually, you'd think the root crops would love it, but they haven't done so great.

  2. Your garden is so far ahead of mine. I did plant a lot of things later this year to get the timing right for vacation. But even in a normal year for us we don't have large squash plants until July sometimes. Our onions are never harvested until late July or early August. Well except for fresh ones, but the ones I dry are late. My cosmos - or should I say your cosmos in my garden - haven't started to bloom yet. I'm waiting to see how tall they are compared to the zinnia that share the bed. I put some of both in the back and front because I just wasn't sure. So far they are neck and neck which was what I was hoping for. I love them all mixed up together.

    1. Daphne, I used last year's zinnia seeds and only 1 germinated. One! They were volunteering in the garden, in places I didn't want them, but the seeds that were kept carefully cool and dry inside were no good. Go figure! I do love the cosmos most, I hope they volunteer for me next spring. I had to keep the area hoed where they were planted last year, as those morning glories reseeded there. I swear, I'm sure I must have removed a million morning glory seedlings by now! I may never be rid of them.

  3. Looking great! I love the cosmos too. I have a few. Those vine squash, they sure can take over can't they!

    1. Shawn Ann, last year I started lopping off the vines when the plants had about a 30-foot spread! At least they could grow through the corn patch then, but this year they're headed for the summer squash and bush beans, so I'm going to try to divert them up the fence. Would you believe I still have two lovely butternuts out in the garage, from last year's plants? I can't believe they've lasted so well.

  4. I find it so bizarre that last year at this time you (and the rest of the country) were having a huge heat wave, while my little corner of the nation was still cold. Now you are dealing with chilly weather and while we've had a few days of rain and cool temps, the spring and early summer here have been much warmer than normal. Mother Nature is cooky that way.

    1. Anywhere, it's getting to be a real problem trying to outguess Mother Nature, LOL! I'm looking forward to this weekend, with temps that may possibly get up into the 80s, but it is supposed to start raining on our desert again by tomorrow night, and drop back into the 70s. I guess that's preferable to the 90s and 100s!

  5. Granny Love the update! Things here are quiet a bit behind with cool wet temps. Suddenly yesterday we had heat and if this keeps up, we be a 3 weeks I till we start with summer harvest still.

  6. nBoer, I look back at the harvests in previous years, and this year seems so sparse! Weight-wise it's about the same, but there just isn't as much variety. Not as many carrots or beets, no summer squash. On the other hand, the peas and berries have done better, so there's something to rejoice about in this year of odd weather!