Sunday, July 6, 2014

Garden Share Collective - July 2014

Garden on the last day of June, Beds 1-3

Since this is my first post for the Garden Share Collective, I'm going to introduce myself. Previously I saw no US gardeners joining in, so I figured I could remedy the situation. I live just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. This is in the northeast part of the country. During the winter we have frozen ground for about 3-4 months of the year. Our lows get to about -20C or so (zone 6b for US gardeners). I live about 8 miles from the ocean as the crow flies, so the ocean moderates my temperatures and I don't get as hot or cold as more inland places. We get an average monthly rainfall of 4" (10cm), with our wettest month averaging 4.5" and our driest 3.5". So we have fairly consistent rainfall, but not enough that I don't have to water on occasion. I would say I keep an organic garden, but I go farther than that as some of those organic sprays are toxic. I tend to use Sluggo and soap on occasion. And lots of row covers to keep the insects from my crops.

Beds 3-8, you get an idea of how close my neighbors are in this photo

I live in a moderately urban environment. Most of the homes by us are three story two family homes on small lots. My house is one of a pair of townhouses. We share the lot that is 1/5th of an acre (9000 ft2, 863 m2). We ripped out a portion of our driveway to give the garden enough space. I have eight raised beds that are 4 'x 16' (1.2m x 4.9m). They are raised with 6" (15cm) tall boards and divided in half with another board. The paths are narrow to fit more growing space in. That is in my side yard, around back I have what I call the circle garden which has a small herb circle in the middle surrounded by larger beds. They are edged in brick. Since we don't get as hot as more inland places, I plant my early spring greens and my summertime warm loving plants in these beds (melons and sweet potatoes).

Circle Garden right outside my kitchen door, July 6th

Our yard is small, but landscaped with some dwarf fruit trees that have been planted over the last four years. I seem to keep adding more. There are five in the yard (two apples, two peaches, one plum) and and six espaliered along the fence (one plum, two apples, one pear and two experimental figs as they really aren't hardy here). I also have a few bushes, raspberries, currents, gooseberries, and blueberries. In addition there are some pitiful strawberries and some rhubarb.

So much goes on in the garden every month. This year I've kept a small garden journal for the first time in years to try to keep better records of when I do important things in the garden. I've always kept a record of when I seed things indoors, but the planting out or the seeding outside never really got recorded. Doing these posts every month ought to help too as it will remind me what I forgot to write down.

Mint pots under the gas meter


  • June 3rd: Put footies on apples and thinned fruit (not much thinning required - not many blossoms this year).
  • June 4th: Seeded outside using doubled over row cover on soil to retain moisture 3 rows of parsnips, turnips, mizuna, beets Bed2W. Seeded outside Red Sails lettuce Bed7E, fennel Bed3W. Fennel did not germinate well. Only two plants came up. Next time use row cover for fennel too.
  • June 6th: Planted corn seed in Bed7W and Bed5W
  • June 8th: Chitted squash seed. Planted melon seed CircleE. Thinned peaches (they were thinned again later but not sure when as I didn't write it down).
  • June 10th: Planted corn seed in Bed5E. Planted chitted squash seed in Bed5W. I'm sure I chitted and planted squash seed for Bed5E as the plants are there and growing well, but never wrote it down.
  • June 11th: Sprayed fruit trees and fava beans with insecticidal soap and fish emulsion for aphid infestations.
  • June 18th: Seeded indoors: 6 Michihili, 6 Napa, 12 cabbage, 12 kohlrabi, 24 kale, 12 lettuce, 6 fennel, 6 broccoli
  • June 19th: First full watering of the garden.
  • June 21st: Seeded about 2'-3' of carrots at the end of Bed 7W Mokum to the south, Yaya to the north
  • June 24th: Second watering. So of course it rained on the 25th.
  • June 26th: Indoor sown lettuce, Little Gem, didn't germinate well so reseeded some of the soil blocks.
  • June 30th: Carrots germinated and row cover to help germination removed.


The last spinach harvest

June always starts with greens and the harvests just build up. From the last spinach harvest to chard, mizuna, tatsoi, Michihili and Napa Chinese cabbage, Fun Jen, kohlrabi, kale, and lots of lettuce. I'm a greens lover so I really eat and grow a lot of greens.

Though greens make up the bulk of my harvests, I have plenty of other things to chose from. The peas came out later in June as did the garlic scapes and broccoli. Then there are the root vegetables. I have carrots, turnips, and bunching onions.

Herbs are big in June. The last of the cilantro gets picked before it all bolts for the summer. The lavender blooms. And there is basil, dill, fennel, mint, oregano, parsley, tarragon, and thyme, all harvested in June.

June has not been a great month for fruit. My strawberries were sad. Last year the raspberries died off a lot from lack of water. So the patch is small. I remedied that with a soaker hose through the bed. So what is there still looks very nice, but there aren't a lot of canes. I've picked rhubarb for a couple of cobblers. And I've gotten a small handful of currents. I would say I've harvested only about a pound of fruit or so last month. For next year I have to remember to harvest some of my gooseberries in June and not July like this year. I have a tendency to wait until they are falling from the bush before starting to pick and they are better in pies I think earlier.


Soup frozen for winter

I like to eat my garden fare in the winter, but as I mentioned before our ground freezes solid for the winter. So June is a big month to preserve things. I froze chard (1 serving), spinach (15 servings) and Chinese cabbage (7 servings, and 4 2c packages for soups). And dehydrated herbs. Every year I restock my herb jars and the mint in my tea cabinet. My yearly totals as of the end of June are:

  • Spinach: 24 servings
  • Chard: 1 serving
  • Kale: 28 servings
  • Chinese cabbage: 7 servings, 4 soup packets
  • Rhubarb Syrup: 4 jars
  • Mizuna Soup: 4 servings

Grilled Chinese cabbage


And just so you know I wrote this at the end of June for what I need in July. So if I do anything on the list before it gets posted, I'll note that and the date.

  1. Net fruit trees so the squirrels and groundhogs don't eat them all.
  2. Check fruit trees for aphids and spray if necessary.
  3. Check espaliered fruit trees once every two weeks and tie up and pinch back.
  4. Pinch back strawberry runners.
  5. Harvest and dry garlic in the first week of July.
  6. Plant yellow mustard immediately after pulling garlic.
  7. Check onions at the end of July, sometimes I harvest and dry them in July and sometimes August.
  8. Harden off fall brassicas starting July 7th.
  9. Transplant fall brassicas, lettuce, and fennel by mid July.
  10. Seed storage carrots (SugarSnax and Bolero) as soon as fava beans get pulled but before July 15th.
  11. Seed fresh eating carrots (Mokum and Yaya) as cabbage gets pulled. Bed6E leave room at end for peas.
  12. Seed fall peas Bed6E.
  13. Seed beans if I'm going to grow a fall crop Bed3W.
  14. Uncover zucchini when SVBs are gone (or when I get tired of hand pollinating or when they have gotten under anyway - the latter being the most likely).
  15. Keep preserving chard (need 15 more servings - updated July 1st need 9 more servings)
  16. Preserve broccoli (need 12 servings, but could make up with kale later in the season - updated July 2nd 19 servings of broccoli frozen so done with this).


  1. I love watching your garden grow and enjoyed the overview. You are very organized.

  2. Hi Daphne; I'm glad you joined in. Perhaps more USA gardeners will follow suit now. I actually learned a lot about your garden from this post that I didn't previously know. You are so organised!

  3. Welcome to the Collective Daphne :-) I LOVE your garden, so productive and pretty. I look forward to following your progress.

  4. This was a wonderful summary of what you grow - your "to do" list is so organized. My list is still in the early learning stage, and every time I turn around I am correcting the timing, etc., on something or other it seems.

  5. You have a beautiful garden that produces a lot!! Nancy

  6. Lovely to see your garden Daphne. I'm in sub-tropical New Zealand at the moment, but next year we're planning to move to Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and I'll have to get used to very cold winters, snow, and frozen ground. I'll be reading more of your blog to get educated about gardening in those conditions. Welcome to the Collective!

  7. welcome to the garden share! i can't beleive we never had a US gardener before. it's wonderful to see your suburban backyard and how much you have squeezed in. you sound quite self-sufficient.
    and i just read sue's comment above. you're moving sue?! what about your garden?!

  8. Great garden and you are super organised, i love that to do list. I really need to work on mine its so flexible. Great to have you on board

  9. Hi Daphne, I've often read your comments on Mark's blog but not been familiar with your garden until now. The differences in people's gardens across the world is fascinating - we're all growing similar food but have to find different ways to use it according to climate. I'm fascinated that you preserve your herbs, it's not something I've ever thought about although I grow many varieties. Lovely to read your account, welcome to the Garden Share Collective.

    1. If you live where the ground doesn't freeze you wouldn't have to preserve your herbs. But here it is really common.