7.22.2013

What our July Vegetable Garden Looks Like

Here's our empty side yard before we put in the garden this spring.

We moved just over a year ago into our little yellow Victorian house.  Last summer I had a baby and plotted what we would put in this year.  My goal was to grow the most micro-nutrient dense foods (bright colors all the way through) that we could put up for winter and didn't get enough of from our CSA.



This year we broke ground on our first garden plots.  It took longer than we thought to cut through the sod and turn over the soil so we didn't put any seeds in the ground until May 18th.  (Our frost free is May 1st here in Indiana.)



I thought I was going to do all the work with an infant in tow.  Wishful thinking.  It wouldn't have gotten done had my husband stepped in a spent a couple sweaty afternoons cutting out the sod.  Here's the post about finally getting the garden started.

Then we put *everything* directly in the ground as seed.  Next year I plan to do starts for the tomatoes, and eggplant.   We are behind most other home gardens I see.

Here's what our side yard garden is shaping up to the third week of July, two months after planting.  

(Click photo to enlarge)

Jeff made three lovely beds each 22 x 4 feet.  The bed on the left is about one third herbs.  There are 16 square feet of basil for future pesto making, as well as a three dill plants for pickles and a row of cilantro for salsa and salads.  The middle third is Brussels sprouts and two cucumber plants.

We had to replant the cucumber multiple times because something kept chewing off the cotyledon leaves.  Eventually we resorted to putting one of those clear plastic baskets strawberries come in over the tops of the seedlings until they got their first true leaves.

Winter Squashes Galore!


The back third of each bed is a different type of winter squash.  On the left there is a hill of 'Carnival' acorn squash.  Currently there are three fruit larger than my hand developing.

'Carnival' acorn squash just starting to show its yellow color.  

 'Delicata' squash is in the middle bed.  It's like a butternut, but with a thinner skin and a ridged oblong shape.  I am most excited about these for our winter table and while there are lots of flowers on the plants there is no fruit set.  In the beginning squash often start by just flowering male flowers and that's what these plants are doing.  We have spotted a couple female buds so soon we should start seeing some fruit set.

Here's some Delicata squash I bought at a local farm early this spring; plus one cute baby!  The potatoes, onions and squash are all stored in the bottom of the pantry where small hands get them out regularly to play.
June Bug Baby with Delicata squash that were stored through winter last year.  

The squash in the far right bed is a spaghetti squash called 'Tivoli'; a very compact plant almost like a zucchini.  It is loaded with eight larger than softball-sized squash already and they were planted from seed just over two months ago!  I guess we'll be eating a lot of spaghetti squash this winter.  Anyone have some recipes to share?  I hope the acorn and Delicata are equally prolific!  


Tomatoes Abound!


In the middle bed we planted all our tomatoes.  Last year I canned and dehydrated 350 pounds of tomatoes.  I bought 200 of those pounds at the farmer's market.  The rest came from our own meager bushes (they were volunteers from the previous owner's patch) and the CSA.  This year we are growing some of our own.   I have six 'San Marzanos' for making pizza and spaghetti sauce.  This is the plum type tomato that I raved about last year.


We were at an auction last spring and Jeff bought 12 tomato cages for $6.  However, we have 18 tomato plants so we bought an additional six of these lovely blue tomato cages.  They were a little more expensive but we think enjoying the splash of color in our garden makes them worth it.

Here are the other five varieties we are growing and why:
Sun Dried Tomatoes in olive oil recipe 

  • 'Sun Golds' a super sweet yellow cherry tomato that is uber prolific and my husband's favorite.  We dehydrate any we don't eat fresh as sun dried tomatoes.  
  • 'Amish Paste' heirloom saucing tomato that comes highly recommend.  And the seeds were free from my mom!   
  • 'Egg Yolk' this is an heirloom yellow cherry that sounds a lot like 'Sun Gold'. We are doing a comparison to see how they stack up.  If comparable we'll switch to the 'Egg Yolk' because it is an heirloom.  
  • 'Super Bush' I had this seed packet leftover from a couple years ago when we did container vegetables.  This tomato is supposed to be good for patio or container gardening because it is a small compact plant.  So far they are easily the smallest tomato plants of the bunch.  They don't even need the cages we have put over them.  
The two tomatoes up front in this photo are the 'Super Bush'. Directly behind them are the 'Egg Yolk' which are about the same size as all the other varieties we have growing.  All were planted the same day.  As you can see the 'Super Bush' are about one third the size but have just as many flowers.

Eggplant and Summer Squash Late Plantings



In the third bed we were supposed to be growing blue and red potatoes.  However, I was late to order and I missed my window.  In their place we decided to grow some yellow summer squash and eggplants.  We got some really pathetic end of the season plants around the 4th of July from the hardware store.  They were stunted and chlorotic (yellow leaves symptomatic of not getting enough nitrogen and other nutrients) in their tiny pots.  


I bought one Japanese ichiban type eggplant.  They produce small slender eggplants for stir-frying. And then one 'Black Beauty' traditional large eggplant.  That was all they had and we had to dig to find those.  



We also put in some onions.  I bought yellow, white and purple onions from a local truck farmer.  They are the same varieties he grows.  I forget what varieties they are.  We haven't even harvested any of them and I'm already wishing I had planted more.  

Fall Plantings


On July 9th I seeded some carrots and beets for fall harvest.  I chose a strange looking variety of carrots called 'Cosmic Purple Carrots' that are purple on the outside and orange/red in the middle.  This is my first time growing carrots and also my first time growing in sandy loam which should be about perfect for root crops.  

If the cat hasn't flattened all of them, I also have planted 'Detroit Dark Red' and 'Baby Ball' beets.  I put them in an open spot our cat has decided is great for taking dust baths in.  Once I realized he was doing that I stuck some sticks in the ground to make it a less appealing rolling spot.  

Is it time for you to plant fall crops?  Consult Seed Savers Exchange fall planting chart.  

Up next I'll show you how our new fruit trees, asparagus, rhubarb and blueberry bushes are doing!

Go, go fruits and vegetables!

5 comments:

  1. How are you keeping the sod from creeping into your garden plots?

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    1. The sod is creeping in, maybe an inch or two. We have pulled some of it by hand, but the vining crops are climbing out of the beds and we can't easily get to it. Our plan in to re-cut the edges of the bed come spring.

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  2. Gosh, you haven't blogged in awhile! I hope everything is going okay.
    I stopped by to invite you to come check out my blog. I just published my homestading book! I'm so excited! Plus, perhaps I can entice you to enter my book giveaway. :)

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    Replies
    1. I have so many half written posts it is pathetic. I guess that happens when you have an active toddler. Every thing is good, just choosing where to put my time.

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