Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Tour of the Summer Garden

I haven't given a full tour of the vegetable garden since spring. So it is long overdue. I have eight beds that are 4'x16' and the circle garden that has two beds eight feet long by variable widths.

Bed 1 is the tomato bed. The front row of tomatoes are mostly Heinz 2653. They were supposed to be all Heinz, but some of the seedlings obviously got mixed up. I have one Heinz where a Cherokee Purple is supposed to be and one CP where a Heinz is supposed to be. The one on the front corner is actually a Market Miracle. I didn't have enough germination form the Heinz and I redid the sowing of the MMs so I had extra. The Heinz plants are all starting to die as the tomatoes ripen. They are paste tomatoes and the plant doesn't live long. But puts out a lot of tomatoes relatively quickly. Supposedly it does well in cool weather, but this is the second year in a row we are getting unusual heat.

Bed 2 is a modified Three Sisters Bed. It was planted later than my other TSB. The earlier corn is Spring Treat and is already setting ears. The later corn is Shasta and has tasseled, but not set any ears yet. The beans are all dried beans of various types.

Bed 3 is what used to be my pea bed. I'm now trying to get carrots up, but with triple digit temps possible it is going to be hard. I'll be watering them several times a day for the next couple of days.

Bed 4 is a mixed solanum bed. It has potatoes in one 8' section.

And eggplant, basil, and tomatoes in the next 8' section.

Bed 5 is more of a two sisters bed. It has cucumbers, melons, zucchini, and beans. The cukes I'm growing in the front of the bed are annoying. They don't want to climb my support. The Diamant I used to grow were more prolific and could climb better. If only Diamant seed didn't cost 0.50-0.80 for each seed. I may just buy a large packet of them like I did years ago and use them for several years.

I didn't take a photo of bed 6. It has a floating row cover over it and the butterflies were already out. I got one under the cover last time I opened it up and oh it was a pain to get out. I'm hoping it didn't lay any eggs during that time. But this is where all my brassicas and chard are.

Bed 7 is my pepper bed. I'm getting a few peppers, but it is struggling with bacterial spot. I spray every week with Serenade and it helps a lot, but I don't think it will be a good year for peppers.

Bed 8 is the other Three Sisters Bed. It was planted a lot earlier than the other bed and is sadly in more shade. So the early corn is struggling. It has only set a handful of ears. The later corn which is closer in the photo has more sun and is doing fairly well. Some of the stalks are setting a second ear, but some haven't set one. There are two kinds of squash in my TSBs. I have Waltham Butternut and Black Futsu. The butternut has set just one fruit so far in this bed. The other TSB hasn't had any female blossoms yet. I have some dried beans in this bed, but the first section is mostly my green beans, Kentucky Wonder. I've been picking every day in this heat because if I don't they get too large and tough. Usually they take longer to grow.

One side of the circle garden has my lettuce bed. I don't think that lettuce will be any good after this heat wave, but I'll give it a chance. Last weekend I ripped out the other side when I saw the forecast. In the front is where the garlic used to be and now has carrots seeded.

The other side of the circle garden is my onion patch.

A few of the onions were already starting to fall over, so they got pulled and are drying.

Sunflowers line the other side of the path down the garden. These things are just huge.


  1. What a wonderful tour. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I just love your garden. It is all looking so good. I think your TSB's look very good.

  3. Such a productive space. And those sunflowers--wow! How tall?

  4. Lovely garden and beautiful growth. I wonder how your climbing rose is doing? any blooms this year?

  5. The garden looks great! I am curious about your onions. Mine all flopped over this past weekend and I pulled them all. This is the second year in a row they are smaller than I want. Their shoulders weren't above the soil like yours. Do you start yours from seed or sets and what kind do you plant? How long to you keep your onions outside to cure?

  6. Your garden is amazing Daphne...I love how you have it so well designed!

  7. Beautiful! Gorgeous! I have the same question has Vanessa as I have the same problemo :)

  8. Your garden is looking good Daphne! Boy it's going to be tough on the garden these next few days. I am also trying to get some carrots started...I'm not holding my breath though!

  9. Mrs. Pickles, you're welcome

    Shawn Ann, thanks

    Sue, I think they are about 8-9' tall.

    sarada, my climbing rose has grown from its tiny little start. It isn't up to climbing yet. And yes it has bloomed. Just two, but enough to see what it will be like.

    Vanessa, I grew mine from seed started at the end of January usually. I plant out in early April. The smaller onions seem to stay below ground, but the larger ones seem to push out. Only a day or two. Then I need to find a place out of the sun to finish curing them. The whole process takes about 2-3 weeks.

    Hanni, thanks

    Allison, typically onions are cured for a day or two in the sun, then put in the shade. You need warmth and preferably low humidity, but like that is going to happen. Interestingly enough I keep the AC on at my house around 80F so that would be a good place to cure them as long as the heat wave keeps up.

    Robin, it is going to be very hard on the garden these next couple of days. I've got some carrots up, but the first batch all withered after coming up. Sigh. I'll have to reseed that. The second batch seems to be doing better, but after today and tomorrow, who knows.

  10. Very nice. I love the layout. I'm a newbie what is Three Sisters Bed- TSB mean?

  11. What a fun tour! I liked the onions and their curving path best.

    Your heat problems are an example of why gardeners in this part of the country plant early gardens and late gardens but fewer midsummer gardens except for the heat lovers like okra.

  12. A Three Sisters Garden is an old Native American way of companion planting (along with some folklore if you want to read up on it). The three sisters are corn, beans and squash. Each sister helps the other. The corn provides support for the beans to climb up. The beans provide nitrogen. The squash covers and shades the ground and helps protect from predators. Mine is a modified three sisters garden because the beans don't climb up the corn. I have a trellis for them. I've found that my beans can totally overwhelm the corn. Especially early corn which is short. I think to do it right you would have to pick the correct bean/corn pair.

  13. Your onions, as well as everything, look great. Mine got knocked over by a storm in June, a hard gust from the north flattened most of them. I probably should pull them up but they are still green.

  14. I loved the tour. Your garden looks great, even the stuff that you aren't happy with. What's with the weird weather again this year, too hot for you and too cool for me, is this the new norm?

  15. Daphne, Thanks for the tour. You are such an organized person. Wish I had half of your orgnizational skills.

  16. Your garden looks great and I loved the tour. Mine is struggling this year too. The heat and the critters have not been good to it at all.

  17. It's a wall of green! Beautiful! I'd love driving up to that each day.

  18. Daphne, your garden is great. Every bit of space is well utilized.
    I especially like your modified TSB. I tried TSB my first year of gardening. Like you mentioned, the beans strangled the corns. It got very messy and difficult to harvest.

  19. Those onions look positively gorgeous! I have onion envy. :D

    I really have never had good luck with the three sisters combo - but have had much better luck with the two sisters combination of corn and beans. I bet the two sisters of sqush (or cukes) and corn would be excellent as well. Your three sisters bed looks really good though.

  20. I have huge admiration for the sheer prodictivity of your garden!
    What you say about the cucumbers is interesting. Mine refused to climb too. It seems to have been a bad year all round for cucumbers.

  21. That's amazing planning and use of space. I read...and I will read again tomorrow so I can ask a million questions! :)

  22. NellJean, Yeah we take the winter off and you take the summer off. I think the heat this year may beat the heat of last year if this keeps up. I'm just dying whenever I go out. It's so not normal for here.

    gardenvariety-hoosier, thanks I'm hoping I get a good onion harvest. I never know how things will turn out with onions.

    michelle, I hope it isn't the new norm. I hate the heat.

    Norma, thanks

    Carol, some things are really having issues this year. But then something always fails every year. And every year it surprises me with something new.

    Ribbit, well biking. I don't have a car. My husband does, but he takes it to work everyday. I use the bus or bike.

    Sherry, I won't ever let the beans grow up the corn again. Though right now I do have beans that are still trying to take over the corn. They reach out from their trellis.

    Laura, I think this year it is going pretty well. I still have problems with the corn closest to the beans. The beans shade it too much. I think I may try growing two rows of corn all along the front next year and put the squash between the two. Though I may try a bit of both to see how they compare.

    Mark, I never had problems with my last cucumber climbing. I'm wondering if it is the new netting this year or if it is the cucumber itself. I used to make my own netting that was 4" wide. This is 6" which is quite a reach.

    Gayle, I'd be happy to answer any questions.

  23. Looks good, keep up the good work, and try to stay cool!!

  24. Oh Daphne you have an amazing Vegie garden!! More tours please!

  25. Such an efficient use of space and an inspiring garden. I admire how you get production out of every inch.

  26. I absolutely love the tour of your garden! Everything looks wonderful and lush. I am so jealous!

  27. Your garden is looking "great"! Your onions are an impressive size - much larger than what we we able to grow this year. I think I'm going to start the seeds at the end of December this year in the hopes of getting them to grown larger once they're put out.

  28. I didn't plant Futsu Black squash this year, and reading that you did, my mouth started watering just thinking about it. Ah well, there's always another year!

    Your garden design is just beautiful. I will be eager to hear what you think of it after your first full year of gardening.
    Here's hoping for some rain!