June Garden Greenery

We are back from a wonderful vacation in Ocean City, New Jersey. As much as I wanted to stay longer, gathering shells and soaking in the sun, I knew real life needed my attention back at home. Not to mention a growing garden, and a grumpy cat! So here I am, back to reality, and thankfully, back to gardening. Here is what the garden has been up to.

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The garden enclosure has been busy lately! The shelling peas are giving up their last pods…this was my first year growing peas and I loved it. I will definitely plant these every year. Shelling them is so therapeutic.

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…and right beside them are the bush beans ready to take their place once I clear out the peas. I planted plenty so we should be in great supply for summer and freezing.

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I’ve had mixed luck with my tomatoes from seed this year – some are doing great, some seem stunted. The three tomato plants in my enclosure (Cherry Lizzano, Gardener’s Delight, and Box Car Willie) are thriving, showing nice growth while I was gone. Here’s the Cherry Lizzano earlier this week – he’s even taller now, stretching out over the rungs that are above it in this picture:

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Sadly, the tomatoes I planted in pots on the deck are not thriving as they should (too much rain, maybe? It has been quite wet.) I might have to swing by the garden store and purchase some heirloom tomato plants to replace the Cherokee Purple on the deck. Ironically, The best looking tomato is this guy:

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This heirloom is a volunteer from last year, most likely a Brandywine, having dropped from the deck above. In spite of the partial shade and the less than hospitable ground, he’s doing great. Maybe I should plant all my tomatoes this way.

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Last but not least in the enclosure (I have to come up with a nickname for this structure – enclosure is so boring) are my onions. I have planted these parade onions from seed for three years now, and I just love them.

Moving over to the Grow Camp, I have cucumbers taking hold quite nicely:

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Along with lima beans that are eager to move into their neighbor swiss chard’s territory:

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The eggplant seem to have recovered from their challenges earlier in the season and are growing nicely.

The kale was the first seed to sprout and it’s flourishing as quickly as I harvest it:

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Last but not least in the Grow Camp, my bell peppers are already starting to form. Still waiting on the Jalapenos to take off.

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On the deck in pots this year: Okra. I love okra. But I swore when aphids devoured it my first year gardening that I would not bother with them again. Well, I received several as a gift and could not turn them down. I’m using all the homemade aphid remedies I can think of, and they seem to be helping this year.

 

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How has your garden grown in June? Leave a comment and let me know!

About these ads

Newspaper Pots!

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I recently “potted up” all my seedlings, and this year I tried something new – newspaper pots!

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The little wood tool I used to form the pots is available at many garden centers, and it’s also available at Amazon and Gardener’s Supply.

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After a little experimenting, I discovered it’s best to cut the newspaper just a tiny bit (half an inch) wider than what is indicated on the directions. This way, I could fold down the newspaper about a half an inch at the top to help reinforce the pot.

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As I wrapped the newspaper around the form, I tucked the one end of the pot top into the fold on the other end so it fit nice and snug.

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Next, I folded in the newspaper on the bottom. I found the more little folds I made as I worked my way around, the better. If I just did three or four folds, it flopped open really easily.

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Lastly, I fit my pot into the base of the mold. This helps shape those folds so they stay put.

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And that’s it! I churned out about 20 of these bad boys and put them to good use with my seedlings last weekend. So far, they are holding up well. They seem to retain just enough moisture to keep my “sproutlings” (as my son calls them) happy, without the container breaking down, yet. The plan is to pop these guys right into the next container, be it another pot, or the garden itself, where this container will eventually break down.

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Here’s one of my Cherry Lizzanos one week after potting up.

What’s your favorite seedling container?

Winding Down?

The grow camp and deck garden are starting to send the message that the growing season is coming to a close. After an impressive second wind, the bush beans are spent. I don’t think I’ll be getting much more from them. The tomatoes have also slowed down to a crawl, with only cherry tomatoes still in active production. The eggplant are still producing, even though they were being choked by the cucumber vines (I decided to pull the cucumber plants out today as they were not producing much besides foliage. I did find the cucumber pictured above hiding out under all the vines, though!)

One plant that hasn’t slowed down is my jalapeno! “Spicy,” as the kids have named him, is producing like crazy! I never expected to get this many peppers off of one plant, and this isn’t even all of them!

Fluffers the Cat checks out the harvest.

I have some more recipes to share this week, including an easy green bean side dish and a tomato soup that I created by accident while trying to make tomato sauce! I’ve also been trying my hand at heirloom seed saving. Stay tuned!

P.S. If you want to know more about the furry critter pictured above, you can read his story here.

 

 

 

Summer Garden Gallery

The Little Tomato That Could

Remember this sweet little volunteer tomato that peeked out from under the oregano in my Grow Camp?

Here it was that day when I replanted it:

And here it is now! I’m so glad this plant decided to become a part of my deck garden this year:

This plant can be one of two possible cherry tomato plants I had last year – Sugar Sweetie or Tasty Treat. Whichever one it is I’m looking forward to the first harvest.