Garden Update: June – July 2017

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I had big plans for the garden this summer that have been tempered a bit so far. I was very proud of my spring plantings, and I grew some of the best peas, beets, greens, and herbs I have yet! But, right around mid-May, when I had planned to remove most of the bolting spring plants and sow my summer seedlings, wedding preparations for our mid-June wedding began in earnest.

So, everything was completed…but some days I forgot to water or rushed it, I let the weeds grow too tall and numerous in most places, and I still haven’t thinned plants as well as I should have (I just want them all to live!). I also bought a sprinkler with a timer that I have been using most days–it does a fine job of watering the plants, but not a great one. However, I’m hard pressed to want to spend time installing and cutting a custom soaker hose watering system for the garden of a rented apartment…so I guess I’ll reap what I have sown in that regard!

Meanwhile, a rat, or maybe 100 rats, have taken to digging in the garden. For a time, my buried chicken wire/raised bed contraption managed to keep them out, but they have come. I’m working on resolving that! They don’t seem that interested in eating plants (yet), but they do like digging in places where I dumped spent brewing grain in the winter that perhaps didn’t fully break down.

Despite it all, the plants are alive, and we are harvesting them. I’ve grown a few herbs this year that I’ve been fairly happy with, especially shiso, lavender, basil, nasturtium, and dill. It’s been really lovely having mountains of fresh herbs to heap on meals. We’ve also had a huge supply of delicious greens. Some of the more tender greens, like arugula and spinach, have faded away, but the kale that I planted remains strong. Our little nursery of fruit trees, hops, and grapes is persisting despite some recent crushing city summer heat.

I’m glad that the garden has been forgiving, and I’m still looking forward to some summer crops, just not perhaps in as much quantity as we planned. It has been lovely to have some medicinal and beautiful flowers flourish as well–I’ve never given much attention to growing flowers before, but felt inspired after learning to arrange flowers in advance of our wedding. I’m pleased to be learning more about them since I already want to grow more next year!

Harvesting:

  • Shiso
  • Lavender
  • Genovese basil
  • Nasturtium
  • Sage
  • Dill and coriander seed
  • Beets
  • Purslane
  • Copious amounts of kale
  • (Very) spicy mustard
  • Cosmos
  • Calendula

Coming up

  • More of all of the above! Mustard and beets will probably phase out
  • Tomatoes
  • Chiles

To-Do:

  • Start seeds for fall (What!?! So soon?) including cabbage, flowers, beets, carrots, and cauliflower. I’ve seen some local farmers talking about success transplanting root vegetables, so I think in small quantities, I’m going to give it a try!
  • Harvest and cure daikon and watermelon radish seed pods
  • Weed, re mulch “tilled area” (read: rat digging spots)
  • Deadhead flowers
  • Trim back unidentified vine/weed (pictured above the chainlink fence: I keep it around to absorb Japanese beetle damage that would otherwise hit my grapevines!)
  • Apply fish emulsion to fruit trees once rats are under control…
  • Possibly purchase organza bags to try to deter bird damage to tomatoes
  • Stay on top of harvesting and drying herbs! The more I harvest, the more herbs will grow, and this winter I’m hoping to have even more delicious herbal teas.

Quite a list – but I’m excited that the garden is so alive and brimming with activity! What’s happening in your garden these days? What delicious summer treats are you enjoying?

Happy summer!

 

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