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Category: Garden

The garden gets its own category because there’s almost always something going on. We garden in the typical fashion as well as using containers, high tunnels and raised beds.

Gardening at Sunrise

Gardening at Sunrise

Gardening at Sunrise

Tree tops swayed in a breeze before sunrise this morning. I watched them while still curled up beside Steve, reluctant to leave my cozy spot but eager to go to the garden. It’s August in Maine – hazy, hot and humid. Today’s forecast calls for 85°, the dew point around 60°, and the humidity at 80% and rising. Ugh. We’ve had a welcome break from the humidity that sparked a yearning for autumn, but it moved back in under the cover of darkness. Gardening at sunrise in the summer is soothing. Later in the day, when the plants have dried and the sun is high, picking beans and other work is, well, work.

Herbs in the old but newly designed herb garden by the back porch needed a good weeding. The soil needs a lot of help but overall it’s doing okay. Crabgrass, Creeping Charlie and plantain are the worst offenders. Everything but the Charlie goes into a bucket to be composted and fed back to the soil. Right now there’s more empty space than plant and the weeds are taking advantage. There’s a bit more to do but coffee was my butterfly this morning. “Oh look! A…butter…cup of coffee is ready.” The aroma of fresh brewed coffee met me at the corner of the porch and drew me in.

Later this morning

After coffee and breakfast I’ll get chores done. Later, when I’m not gardening at sunrise, I’ll at least be in the shade for part of the day. There are beans, cucumbers, zucchini and oregano to pick in the high tunnel this morning. And then I’ll find my heavy duty gloves and tackle the perennial flower garden in front of the house. I’m taking the wheelbarrow to fill with weeds. Yes, it’s that bad. Embarrassingly bad. I’ll have it under control by the time I’m done, hopefully before the sun makes its way to the front of the house. While I’m weeding I’ll be thinking about what new plants I want for that garden. I added a rhododendron this year but nothing more. Vegetables? Mastered that garden and the high tunnel decades ago. Flowers? Not so much. I’m taking time to think it through and have what I think I want. And if I screw it all up and it’s not beautiful? I have a spade and can move it all around, but I’d rather not.

What’s going on in your garden? Any words of wisdom you can share about perennial garden planning? I have an acre to develop over time.
Sage, gardening at sunrise
catmint, gardening at sunrise
lavender, clay pot, terra cotta pot, gardening at sunrise
gardening at sunrise, bumble bee, sunflower



Garlic Harvest, Curing and Storage

Garlic Harvest, Curing and Storage

Garlic Harvest

Tuesday was garlic harvest day and I was eager to see how well the German Extra Hardy Hardneck Garlic produced. It was supposed to rain so I was up and out early to pull the bulbs…under bright sunshine and without a cloud in the sky. Timing the garlic harvest is tricky. I pulled one head last week to give to my uncle and thought it looked just about ready, and another last night that was perfect.

Tips on Harvesting Garlic

These few tips will make 11 months of waiting for your garlic worth the wait.

  • Tops need to be dying and turning brown. Some of the tops, not all. If you wait until they’re all brown and dry it’s too late. The bulbs will be separating to prepare themselves for next year’s growth. If you pull too soon the immature garlic won’t store well.
  • Withhold water for ten days when the majority of plants’ tops are turning brown.
  • If the soil is too compact to pull the bulbs without breaking the greens, dig them out with a spade or garden fork. Shake the soil off but don’t wash the bulbs.
  • Immediately, and I can’t stress immediately too much, get the garlic out of the sun and into a shady, drafty, cool spot to dry. Spread it out so the bulbs aren’t piled on top of each other, or hang them in . It’s alright if the tops touch.
  • Garlic is cured when the paper covering is dry. You can remove the tops now.
  • Store your garlic in a dark, dry, cool space. Properly cured garlic bulbs don’t need refrigeration.

garlic harvest
harvested garlic, garlic harvest, how to harvest garlic, when to pick garlic

Curing garlic, storaging garlic, garlic harvest

split garlic, curing garlic, garlic harvestTwo heads split, not bad out of 60.

The garlic isn’t too strong in its garlicness. I used a clove of garlic and two shallots in sauteed green beans last night and was very pleased with the rich flavor. It carmelized and became almost sweet. I’m making more for lunch every day until I run out of fresh beans.

Best heads will be set aside as next year’s crop. I’ll amend the soil in a new spot in September and plant twice as many cloves as I did this year. This will give us more scapes to devour as garlic scape pesto, and heads to give away.






August Garden To-Do List

August Garden To-Do List

August Garden To-Do List

August already! It seems like we planted the garden a few weeks ago and here we are eight weeks into the warm weather growing season. I’m ready to scream UNCLE! to the weed gods and plow what’s left under. Most of our garden is grown in the high tunnel. I’ll start transplanting fall/winter seedlings in September but before I can do that, there have to be seedlings. There’s a lot to do so I’ve made my August Garden To-Do List. If I write it all down I can think about the project I’m working on without trying to remember everything else at the same time.

If you’re in a warmer or cooler climate (reminder: I’m not talking USDA Hardiness Zone) you’ll need to adjust what you do in August. These are strictly suggestions, not rules.

What is the Average Date of First Frost?

Part of your August garden to do list might depend on the average date of your first frost. Mine is around September 7, a full week later than ten years ago. Anything planted outside now has to take the average date of first frost in mind. If you don’t know the date you might call your cooperative extension, a local greenhouse business or your neighbors. Work backward from that date to find out when you need to sow the fall seeds.
August garden, pruned cucumber vine, pruning cucumbersIn the meantime, here’s my August Garden To-Do List.

  • Late blight travels in on the wind and on our bodies and clothes. Start watching for the telltale signs.
  • Pinch off new tomato and pepper blossoms at the end of the month. Force growth into the fruit so they’re ripe before they’re killed by frost. Peppers can tolerate light frost. You can buy time by having covers (sheets, blankets, tarps) ready to throw over the plants. If you’re not going to cover the plants, pinch those blossoms.
  • Pinch the ends of vine crops to send energy into the fruit/pumpkin/squash/cucumber/etc.
  • Sow seeds for transplants in a cold frame or high or low tunnel. I’ll be using 1020 trays and transplanting into six packs before they’re transplanted into the garden. I’ll be planting:
    • Spinach, beets, boc choi, tatsoi, kale and other cool-weather greens. Note that everything in this list is a green or a root. No peppers, tomatoes or vine crops.
  • Rush tomato ripening in the third week of August by severing roots 12″ from the stem. Use a spade. The plant will OMG! and ripen the tomatoes faster as a means of replacing itself.
  • Sow seeds for cool weather transplants. Spinach, turnip, beets (greens) and other cool-loving plants.
  • Compost spent plants. Browns can be hard to find this time of year. If you’ve been stock piling paper and cardboard, and spent hay or straw now is the time to put them to work. You can also use wood chips and sawdust as long as they don’t come from pressure treated or other treated wood.
  • Water deeply. This is especially important in the heat of August. We get less rain in August than other summer months. Water deep and less often rather than shallow and daily. This really isn’t any different than any other month but since it’s so important in August it’s worth repeating.
  • Get your low tunnels ready.
    • Ribs: if you don’t have them, get them now. If you start with straight pipes you’ll need to bend them.
    • Take your greenhouse polyethylene (aka plastic and film) out of storage or buy what you need
    • I’ll write out a how-to soon, and we’ll talk about how to make and use them.
  • At the end of August – soil test. Do it now so you know how to amend the soil in the fall. Your results will come back faster than if you wait until spring when most other gardeners are sending their samples.
  • Pay attention to the weather forecast if you’re in an area where frost starts in late summer.
  • If you let peas, beans or other plants mature so you can save seeds, check them now, and check them often so you don’t miss the harvest time. If you leave peas and beans too long they’ll germinate this year, and then they’re lost.

Trench Composting

If you have more greens than you can compost (kitchen waste, for example) you can buy the food/plants and let the soil dwellers do the work. You can feed the microherd and earthworms while they feed the soil. Trench composting is a big time saver. Dig a hole, drop in the greens, back fill the hole. You can mark the spot with a stake if you’re not making a row so that you can find it in the spring. Plant your spring transplants in the rich soil.
August garden, garlic bulbs

Pull Garlic

It’s probably time to pull the garlic. Choose the garlic you want to plant for next year’s crop before you cure your harvest for storage.

Pull Onions

My onions are starting to die back and fall over. The onions won’t grow much more now. I’ve been pulling one as I need it for about a month. As time passed the flavor improved.

Cover Crops

If you’re done with garden space for the year you should amend the soil as needed. We almost can’t add too much lime here. Go to your soil test to see what you need. When your soil is ready, plant a cover crop for winter. You don’t want to leave bare ground for erosion or nutrient loss. If you have a lot of weeds you might want to choose a cover crop that smothers weeds. Cover crops serve a lot of purposes. You’re cooperative extension should be able to help you weed through (see what I did there?) your needs and options. While you have them on the phone, ask what to add to your August garden list.


Coming Home to Food

Coming Home to Food

Coming Home to Food

I spent last week in the Adirondacks, tucked away in Cabin 3 at a women’s writing retreat. There’s always something to learn, and learn I did. A lot. I don’t have Pam and Deb giving me ideas on what words to write in the next five, ten, 25 minutes so I have to create or find my own prompts. There isn’t anyone to cook three meals a day for me now. But then there’s the garden. The garden had a to-do list waiting for me when I pulled in the drive at almost ten o’clock Friday night. Coming home to food we’re growing re-grounds me.

Walking through the yard, garden and high tunnel early this morning was a nice way to slide back into homesteading. The raspberries were ripening when I left. I picked two and a half quarts Saturday morning before being stung by a yellow jacket and quitting for the day, and today there are three or four or more quarts waiting to be picked. I picked one cucumber, sprinkled it with sea salt and promptly devoured the whole thing. I pruned most of the cucumber vines Saturday morning but more are waiting for me. Coming home to food re-energizes me. I’m ready to get back to the garden today.

So Much Food!

The zucchini will have to wait until Tuesday; growing another inch or two will give us more to eat in Tuesday night’s supper. The peas, well they’re not waiting. I’ll have to pick them today. I’m over peas, thank you very much. I’ll pick them one more time, throw down some lime, climb up on the tractor, and rototill the weedy, pea viney mess into the soil like I planned to do last week. Next week I’ll plant the fall peas…or not. I’m not sure I want to deal with more weeds this year.

Come for a walk around the homestead with me. We’ll start outside the high tunnel.

Watching Food Grow

July in the High Tunnel

The high tunnel is my favorite garden. It provides food year round when I keep it planted for winter, as I’ll do this year. We’re about to tear apart a raised bed that isn’t raised anymore, rebuild it and fill it with good soil that we’ll amend in the process. Seems like we grow as much food in 1,000 square feet as we do in the wide open garden. I’m experimenting this year. Corn in the high tunnel? It’s growing, and so I think it will work.

Tomato Variety Reviews – To grow again or not to grow again

Tomato Variety Reviews – To grow again or not to grow again

Tomato Variety Reviews

These tomato variety reviews appeared as a post in the old blog. It’s worthy of updating a little and giving it a spot here.

Tomato season should have some sort of national event and cause for celebration. It takes months to get from the tiny seed to a ripe tomato. Planting, watering, transplanting to larger pots, transplanting into the garden, more water, weeding, staking and tying, pruning. It’s a lot of work. It’s worth it when that first tomato is ripe and ready to pick. This is the only time of year that I’ll eat tomatoes. I’ll wait, sometimes impatiently, for really good tomatoes. My tomato variety reviews should help you choose and maybe avoid varieties for your garden and kitchen.

Bobcat Beef Steak Tomato

Bobcat is a big favorite. This F-1 hybrid beef steak variety has a lot going for it. It’s an easy to control determinate that has done very well in the high tunnel. I wasn’t going to plant any tomatoes outside this year but had a few extras and plopped them in the ground. They’re not ripe yet but the sprawling plants are growing well. The tomatoes I’m picking average 8-10 ounces and are ripening evenly. I won’t need six plants next year. This variety, as is typical of determinates, is producing a lot of ripe fruit at once. They’re so prolific that I used them in the stewed tomatoes I made and canned over the weekend. A slice and a half is all you need to cover a sandwich. This is as close to perfect as a tomato can be and deserves second place in the tomato variety reviews.tomato variety reviews, JetStar tomato, Bobcat tomato

Vilms Heirloom Paste Tomato

Vilms is an heirloom paste tomato. It’s a little more tart than I like for a paste tomato but very good. I knew I had more tomatoes ripe than I had time to can over the weekend so I relied on the information I read and left them on the plant. The claims that Vilms holds well are true. Three days later, the tomatoes show no signs of over ripening or stress. A fun aspect of Vilms is its mismatched shapes. Some of the plants are producing pear shaped fruits while others are plum shaped. I thought I’d made a mistake by mixing up seeds of two varieties but that isn’t the case. I went back to read the description. Vilms hasn’t shown any signs of blossom end rot in spite of a very dry July that limited how often I could water without stressing the well.

Luci 2103 Tomato for the High Tunnel

Luci 2103 is a great F-1 hybrid variety for high tunnels. It lived up to Fedco’s claim of being able to replace Buffalo. The seeds are less expensive than I used to pay for Buffalo. Luci ripens uniformly, has strong stems that do well with clipping to strings, is easy to control to two main stems with pruning and not at all fussy. A few tomatoes cracked when I over watered but that was my fault. I like Luci a lot but I’ll stick with Jet Star.

Casady’s Folly Heirloom Paste Tomato

Casady’s Folly is a huge failure. If I’d started growing heirlooms with this variety I would have given up the first year. Fifty percent of the fruits were small, about an inch long, and all but a few had blossom end rot. I’ve never grown a tomato as susceptible to blossom end rot as Casady’s Folly. No other variety in the high tunnel has BER. This variety has thick, tough skin. During a hot spell, the blossoms dropped, something I don’t often see in tomatoes. The flavor is great but this variety is too fussy to deserve a spot in my garden. tomato variety reviews

I grew my favorites this year, Jet Star is my all time favorite for a small, found, red, always dependable tomato. I like it better than Early Girl and other “choice” varieties. And Opalka, the paste variety I can’t do without. Opalka peels easily without being dunked in hot water. It’s meaty, has excellent flavor, is a large tomato at 3” x 5” and a heavy producer. If water stressed, it might have a little blossom end rot but that seldom happens.

Old Favorites

Juliette is my dependable grape tomato that is excellent in salad, stewed, and in sauce. If it were larger and peeled easily it would replace Opalka as my favorite paste variety.

Tomatoes haven’t been planted in one of the tunnels for the past two years but they’re growing this year. An orange cherry tomato, smaller than most cherry varieties, is blocking a wide path in the tunnel. I stopped stepping over it and started walking on it when it was wider than my legs can reach. Abuse hasn’t slowed this plant. I have little idea of what it might be. I grew Sun Gold for several years but that’s a hybrid variety that wouldn’t grow “true” as a volunteer. The fruits are half the size of Sun Gold. This tomato isn’t prone to cracking. I didn’t plant it, don’t need it and don’t take care of it, yet it’s doing exceptionally well. I water it when I think of it by tossing the hose to it. I’ve over watered many times and not one tomato has cracked. tomato variety reviews

I never tire of tomatoes even though I don’t eat a lot of them. I love to grow them and am fascinated by what I get when volunteers grow. What’s your favorite tomato? tomato variety reviews

Self-Seeding Vegetables – Garden Volunteers

Self-Seeding Vegetables – Garden Volunteers

Self-seeding Vegetables – Garden Volunteers

Self-seeding vegetables are probably more common than you knew. We’re usually pretty good about cleaning up the garden at the end of the season so we don’t give self-seeding veggies a chance to replace themselves. Most gardeners who grow tomatoes have missed one or two during fall clean-up. When that happens, you find a clump of seedlings commonly called “volunteers” in the garden the following year.

If volunteer seedlings are offspring from hybrid plants, you won’t get the variety of the parent plant. If you grow a single heirloom variety, also known as open-pollinated varieties, your volunteer seedlings will be the same as the parent plant. If you grow more than one variety you’ll probably get hybrid seedlings.
self-seeding, tomato, tomatillo

Tomatillos are self-seeding and so good at it they can become weeds. One missed tomatillo can lead to dozens of seedlings. I planted them in the high tunnel in 2010 and haven’t had to since. I let one volunteer grow to give meenough tomatillos to make salsa verde, and pull the rest.

self-seeding, tomato, volunteer tomatoes

Garden Tip: Self-seeded tomatoes will tell you when to plant the rest of your tomato seedlings. If the soil is warm enough for volunteers it's warm enough for the seedlings you grew or bought.Click To Tweet

This spring I have beautiful seedlings in the grass in front of a high tunnel thanks to a self-seeding lettuce in the tunnel. A thunder storm moved through with wind strong enough to blow seeds out the door.  Lettuce is great for school gardens because you can start a cold-tolerant variety in early spring, eat the lettuce before the school year ends, and leave it to self-seed over the summer. Kids can enjoy lettuce again in the fall, and I’m sure there’s a science fair project in there.

Onions, leeks and scallions (alliums) are easy to let reseed. They are self-seeding biennials that will overwinter, break dormancy in the spring and put their energy into flower to produc seeds. The flowers are beautiful in shades of white, pink and purple. They require little care other than weeding and watering. Mature seeds are located in the flowers. They seeds will scatter when the breeze blows. I let my onions grow where they fall and thin as needed. They do well in the spot they’re already growing so I leave them there year after year, amending the soil with compost before the seeds drop.

Self-Seeding Root Crops

self-seeding, beetsBeets are another biennial that will self-seed if the beet root survives the winter. I let one or two overwinter in a high tunnel. The plants get big and fall over so they’re in the way. But for a short time, I don’t mind stepping around them.  They’re hardy and germinate while the ground is still cold. This spot in the high tunnel hadn’t been watered for weeks. I planted the oregano, Spicy Globe Bush Basil and sage, watered them well, and a few seeds germinated. They’re crowding the plants I put there but they aren’t hurting anything. I’ll pull the beets to eat soon.

Radishes are one of the simplest vegetables to self-seed. The radish root will probably split as the seed stalk begins to grow. Don’t pull the radish, it will be fine. The flowers are small and pretty. They stand out in the garden and attract pollinators. Each pod on the stalk has seeds.  After the pod dries you can crack it open and shake the seeds onto the ground.  I haven’t found that any of the varieties of radishes I grow need cold stratification.

Carrots are biennials I let self-seed, but it’s a longer process than the other plants I use. The plant resumes growth, sends up the seed stalk, flowers and is pollinated, and the seeds are collected from the flower. I tend to forget about them, my enthusiasm for seed collecting waning later in the season. I’m seldom disappointed when a hybrid reverts back to the parent.

Self-Seeding Vine Crops

Pumpkins, zucchini and squash are my favorite self-seeders. It’s fun to watch them grow and figure out what the parents might be and what they’ll look like, how big they’ll be and whether they’ll taste good. If they aren’t worth eating, they’re at least an interesting fall decoration.

Cucumbers are self-seeding if you leave them on the vine to ripen. We pick them when they’re long and slender and typically green when we’re going to eat them. If you want to let them self-seed or want to save seeds, let a cucumber grow. It will turn from green to yellow and possibly to orange depending on the variety. This is the third year I have seedlings resulting from the original seeds I planted two years ago.


July Gardening Tips

July Gardening Tips

July Gardening Tips

July is another busy month in the garden. My peas are producing now so later this month, when they’ve worn themselves out, they’ll be replaced. It sounds harsh, doesn’t it? One of the first seeds to be sown, watched and waited for, cheered over when they broke through the soil’s surface, and then unceremoniously ripped out or rototilled under, and replaced. These July gardening tips should help you get focused and cut down the time you spend walking in circles. What? That’s a middle-aged forgetful thing? Well I can’t deny that!

July Gardening Tips, broccoli side shoots
july gardening tips, plant peas in july, summerJuly’s Garden To Do List

Here’s my list for July. Some things will be done weekly or as necessary depending upon the weather.

  • Weeds – Catch up and keep up. No weed is too small to pull immediately.
  • Mulch – Does anything need more mulch now that it’s had time to settle? Is there anything that hasn’t come up through the mulch that you need to check on? Pull all weeds from the mulch and drop them on top, making sure the roots can’t reach the soil. They’ll die and add to the mulch and eventually add to the soil.
  • Hoe up the potatoes. Pull more soil over the plants for as long as possible. Eventually they’ll get larger than the amount of soil you have available.
  • Prune and tie tomatoes to their stakes. If you haven’t mulched the base of the plants, do it now. Mulch (oat straw, for example) creates a barrier that prevents some blight spores from splashing onto plants.
  • Look for pests in and around the garden and then deal with them. Look for eggs on the underside of leaves and holes, wilting and other damage on leaves.
  • Fertilize as necessary.
  • Build a compost pile. You can use cardboard (rip it up), shredded paper (newspaper, junk mail), spent hay from livestock, and straw.
  • Lay down a two inch layer of large sheets of cardboard on a new garden spot. Weight it down and leave it until next year to kill grass and weeds.

lettuce seedlings, july gardening tipsBigger Projects

  • Replace early crops. The root crops planted in early spring are probably about done by now and leave empty space. Add a compost to the soil and replace them with another crop. Peas with a short amount of time to maturity are an option. They’ll grow during the hottest part of the summer here, bloom as its cooling down, and produce in the cool weather. They tolerate light frost and snow. Is the broccoli producing enough side shoots to warrant keeping them or are they ready to be pulled?
  • If you’re not going to plant something you’ll harvest in emptied space you need to cover the soil with something. Dutch white clover will help fix nitrogen in the soil and can be turned under later. Forage radish will grow, go to seed, and then die. You leave it there for the winter. The root (radish) that’s grown 12-18″ down will die, feed the soil, leave open space for rain to drain, and improve the soil for next year.

Do you have July Gardening Tips?

Do you have July gardening tips to share? Please leavJuly Gardening Tipse them in comments and I’ll add them to the post along with a link to your blog.

Growing Peppers in Your Garden

Growing Peppers in Your Garden

Growing Peppers in Your Garden

One of my favorite parts of gardening is growing peppers. I don’t favor them because they’re one of my favorite things to eat. When it comes to eating, peppers are good but they don’t agree with me, something I try to not take personally. I love growing peppers. There are so many shapes, flavors, uses, sizes and even colors that they never get boring, and peppers aren’t fussy.

Growing Peppers – Tips

  • Pepper seedlings don’t require drastic hardening off. Hold back a bit on water and move them outside in dappled sun to adapt to sun and breeze.
  • Pepper plants are more susceptible to cold early in the season than later, so don’t rush planting. Transplant them into the garden after the danger of frost passes and the soil warms.
  • Peppers like to be crowded. Plant them 18 to 24 inches apart depending on variety.
  • Give them fertile soil, sufficient magnesium and calcium, water deeply once or twice a week, and let them grow.
  • Don’t give peppers too much nitrogen. You’ll get a lot of plant with few peppers.

We often have a killing frost in early September followed by several weeks of warm, frost-free weather. A sheet or other cover over the plants is usually enough to protect the plants from frost. This will help you continue growing peppers into the autumn season.

I start pinching blossoms off the plants in mid to late August. The plant will put its energy into growing peppers already formed rather than making more.

I always grow Revolution bell peppers. Their thick walls, heft and wide bottoms make them perfect for stuffing and freezing for winter meals. The pepper doesn’t disintegrate before the filling is thoroughly cooked. It’s excellent in salad, salsa and spaghetti sauce. If I’m using a bell pepper rather than a hot variety when I make and can spaghetti sauce, I choose Revolution. It holds its shape during the canning process. On the Scoville Heat Scale, Revolution is a 0. This one is not a hottie.
revolutionRevolution requires approximately 72 days to maturity, a short amount of time for a mammoth sized pepper. Revolution is Phytophthora Blight and Bacterial Leaf Spot resistant. Grasshoppers and flea beetles like peppers but don’t seem to want to do enough damage to Revolution to kill the plants if you choose to avoid using pesticide.

Hot Peppers

Poblano Pepper, growing peppers
I was reminded of the heat some of the peppers I grow can pack. I weeded around and pulled a few Poblano peppers that had blossom end rot. I touched my finger to an open spot on the pepper and touched my finger to my tongue. Hot. Holy cow hot. I finished weeding the Poblanos then moved on to the Jalepenos and Serranos. I brushed a mosquito off my cheek. Instantly, my cheek stung. I hadn’t swatted the mosquito, just a light brush against my skin, and then I quickly realized the stinging sensation was burning. My face didn’t have protection of latex gloves.
growing peppers, Serano pepperAccording to Scoville, Jalepenos are mild. They rate 2,500 to 8,000 units. I withhold water to my peppers. I want intense flavor for the Mexican recipes the peppers will be used in.
Jalepeno pepper, growing peppersGrowing peppers – everyone can do it!

What Can I Plant in My Garden Mid-June

What Can I Plant in My Garden Mid-June

What Can I Plant in My Garden Mid-June

The ground is warmer, rainy season is hopefully over, the sun is higher and days are longer. Seeds germinate faster. A seed that might take 10 days to germinate in the spring could take three now. By mid-June the weather starts to stabilize and the nights should be consistently at 50° or higher over night. You can plant a lot in the garden mid-June.

You can transplant seedlings and start seeds. I have a post on seed starting.  Days to maturity aren’t set in stone. I take about a month off the days to maturity estimate for the variety when I’m transplanting seedlings. It’s a good guesstimate for me. For seeds I start counting when the first real leaf is formed. garden mid-june garden mid-june, season extension, eggplant seedlings

Start with the day’s date on the calendar. Mark the average first frost date on the calendar. Add the days to maturity to the day’s date to get the estimated harvest date. Allow more time for harvesting crops like tomatoes and cucumbers that can be picked for months. If you’re going to use season extension like a low tunnel to protect plants from frost and add some warmth at the end of the growing season, include a few more days for that. Keep in mind that the shorter day length doesn’t allow for the fast growth plants have when the days are very long in June and July. garden mid-June.

  • Beans – bush and pole
  • Melons
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
What Can You Plant in the Garden in Mid-June? A lot!Click To Tweet

Root Crops to Plant in June

Carrots are usually dug all at once so you don’t need many days after the maturity date, and conveniently, carrots and other root crops taste better after being hit by frost. You can blanket roots with a thick layer of straw to delay the ground in freezing and harvest longer before pulling the entire crop. In some areas where the ground doesn’t freeze you can harvest all winter. garden mid-June.

  • Carrots, radish, turnip, parsnips and beets do well in my garden when planted in June. Their tops can take frost and light freezing, and the root is sweeter after the soil cools. garden mid-June.
  • Potatoes. Commodity farmers often kill the potato tops with chemicals so they can harvest on a schedule. You can leave your potatoes in the ground until the tops die naturally.


ministro, cucumber, seaweed, mulch, garden mid-juneYou can transplant seedlings and plant seeds this month. I love, love, love Ministro cucumbers. It needs only 49 days to maturity and is a full sized cucumber on a long vine that keeps growing and growing and growing, and then it’s done, worn out. A second planting of Ministro seedlings should keep you in cucumbers until after the first light frosts. Cover them with a tarp or blanket to protect them from frost.

Cole Crops

Broccoli, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts can handle the cold. Cauliflower is almost as hardy and will appreciate a light cover such as a sheet late in the day to hold a little warmth overnight. I grew harvested broccoli, cabbage and kale into late October last year if I could beat the deer to the side shoots.

Don’t hesitate to plant more in the garden mid-June. Groceries are terribly expensive and really, nothing matches home grown vegetables. If you can extend your growing season into mid or late fall, why not!


Planted Today- June 7, 2016

Planted Today- June 7, 2016

Planted Today

I planted today! A lot. I got a lot done. There’s a little more I’d like to have planted today but it rained, and I was getting cold dressed in just a t-shirt with my jeans.  It was cool and cloudy when I started working in the high tunnel, then the sun came out and warmed the tunnel to well over 80°, five degrees above my melting point. I moved outside to the regular garden. The sunshine was brief, followed by sprinkles of rain, followed by a breeze, followed by rain, followed by hot and sweaty me getting wet and chilly. Water dripped down my bangs, into my eyes and down my nose. Gross. That’s enough.

There’s plenty of time for things like the winter storage carrots next week. I still have the next and last succession planting of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage (red, storage) and Brussels sprouts to seed. The pole beans will be planted next week. So much to plant still.

I’m listening to the pouring rain fall steadily. It’s raining so hard there’s a small stream running down the side of the road. We need this rain for the garden and pond, and for the lakes, ponds and streams that are lower now than they usually are on July 4. The cedar in the wood stove crackles and snaps as the fire catches. Just a small fire, enough to take the damp chill out of the house and make it cozy while I sip my wine and listen to Jason Isbell. Supper? hmm… Undecided still. I should have cut Swiss chard and spinach but since I didn’t, and since I’m not going back out until after supper, that’s not what we’ll be eating.

Here’s my list of what I planted today. * indicates varieties that are new to me.

  • Purple Top White Globe turnip
  • Cherry Belle radish
  • Early Wonder Tall Top beets

The turnip, radish and beets were scattered together over a bed.

In the high tunnel:

  • Top Hat OP Yellow corn*
  • Costata Romanesca OP zucchini
  • Jackpot zucchini

Back outside:

  • Harris Model parsnip
  • Sweet Annie

Musque de Provence, planted today

Wyatt's Wonder, Renee's Garden, planted todayPumpkins:

  • Wyatt’s Wonder
  • Cheese
  • Route Vif D’Etampes
  • Lumina White
  • Winter Luxury Pie*
  • Musque De Provence
  • Baby Pam
  • Long Pie*
  • Champion
  • Spookie (courtesy of Renee’s Garden)

Some of the pumpkins will be eaten by us and others by the deer, and some are for decoration. The decorative pumpkins will be fed to the chickens and ducks or the deer next winter.

Winter Squash

  • Seminole*
  • Burpee’s Butterbush Butternut*
  • Waltham Butternut
  • Marina Di Chioggia
  • Galeux d’Eysines
  • Jarrahdale
  • Sweet Dumpling
  • Blue Hubbard.

If we have a wet summer I’ll cover the root ends of the blue Hubbard plants with a low tunnel to keep them from taking up too much water. Blue Hubbard tends to be wet, and we prefer dry squash. We grow dry squash but we like the flavor of Blue Hubbard, especially when dry.

The rain has turned from pouring to monsoon, back to pouring, and down to a steady rain. The seeds are well watered now. I won’t have to water again anytime soon. What did you get planted today?