The Garden in Pictures: Late June

I’ve been out in my garden a ton lately, getting the fall crops going, transplanting the last of the summer crops, and in general attempting to tidy up from a year of garden neglect.

Here’s where the garden stands as of late June 2013.

Things are starting to really fill in. Many of my beds are still covered, and those housing peppers and eggplant will probably stay that way all summer.

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We are harvesting a wide variety of crops now, finally, including new potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, salad greens, snap peas, radishes, green onions, garlic scapes, herbs of all kinds, strawberries, cherries, raspberries and the earliest blueberries.

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Up Front

The front container display garden is still pretty weak, but a few more weeks and a few fall transplants and it should be more lush.

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This bed was planted in earliest spring greens and kholrabi. This past weekend I yanked what was left of those crops out and transplanted in peppers and cukes. Here’s hoping for some heat this summer so this bed produces! Because of some permanent trellis structure in this bed, it’s a hard location to cloche, so this is a bit of a gamble. Finger’s crossed!

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Main crop sowing of parsnips are under that burlap waiting to germinate. Carrots and parsnips can be slow and erratic to germinate in summer. Covering the seeds with moist burlap or cardboard until they germinate can really help. You gotta remove the cover as soon as the seedlings emerge, though.

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Out front the first sowing of broccoli is basically done. These plants just didn’t do that well. A few have yet to head, but because of our hot-then-cold-then-hot spring, most headed too soon and with small, just-okay broccoli. I’m keeping the existing plants here for the sideshoot production until I need this bed, but then these guys are chicken food.

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Hugelkultur Beds

The hugelkultur beds are, once again, proving their awesomeness.

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This HK bed has winter squash in front and tomatoes behind.

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The tomatoes are already putting on nice green fruits, so I have high hopes for tomatoes this year.

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The cooler-side HK is planted in cabbages and broccoli and the coles growing here are doing far better than those that were planted up front. Nice large plants should grow nice, large broccoli heads.

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I’ve got corn and a few more tomatoes planted in the center HK, and beans up the concrete mesh trellis arches. Everything looks solid.

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Mini Orchard

This will be the first year we get fruit from our mini orchard. It’s looking very promising, though. Pruning isn’t too tough, simply because the trees are short. So there’s no big extension pruner or ladder-business to contend with.

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There are four trees per square, with a big stake right in the middle. The trees are anchored diagonally to each other and around the stake, which seems to work well.

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Strawberries are planted under each fruit tree quartet.

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Also in the mini-orchard area is a four-in-one plum. It’s putting on the most gorgeous fruit right now.

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We parked our heavy duty potato cages around the mini orchard and they are thriving. I need to add straw and compost to the bins – the vines are growing like gangbusters.

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Back Garden

The back garden is ok. Still working on getting it cleaned up. This is an area that is so wet and so mucky I swear the clay creeps up from underneath and takes over my beds. The soil has amazing fertility, but it feels like a perpetual job to keep the soil tilth decent which means I’m working way too hard on this portion of the garden. Tip: if you are working too hard, something’s not working.

I’m still mulling what my long-term plans are for this area, but we have started to convert beds in this area to hidden hugel-style beds as the boards rot out and need replacement. We do this by using the half-rotten old boards as the woody base for the new bed, so it works pretty well to keep inputs and waste minimized.

Despite my complaints about soil tilth, this area is growing some good food.

The first summer squash should be ready in a week if we get some sun. And I adore this stand of parsley – I’ve been putting parsley on everything. Lots of chopped parsley and butter on new potatoes is like getting a hug from nature.

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The pole peas are producing wonderfully, and the beans are to the top of the trellis. Shouldn’t be too much longer before we’re eating beans.

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A few of the beds are kinda a shaggy mess, but it’s too late now to do anything about it. This is one. Bush peas (unstaked – forgot) and bush beans (unstaked – forgot) are getting swamped by a volunteer squash that is so amazingly healthy and vibrant that I can’t bring myself to pull it even though there is a 99.99% chance any squashes it makes will be useless.

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I find my vegetable obsessions tend to go in waves. Four years ago I grew eight kinds of kale. After that was potatoes – every shade and every kind I could find. Then I began my love affair with overwintering cauliflower and grew out four kinds. This year it’s peppers. I’ve got them stuck in everywhere. I’ve grown peppers before of course – Gypsy was a staple for many years – but this year I decided to go all in. I’m hoping the tunnel plus clear plastic on the soil will create a warm enough environment to really get some good fruit set on these guys.

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This is the potato bed that just keeps giving. I sneak in and dig up a few shovelfuls and get a ton of spuds for dinner. I’m using most of these taters for new-potato eating.

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This year I’m growing favas. I grow them about every four years. I like them, but not enough to grow them every year. Once you get past the hassle of the double-layered shelling, they make a great side dish with pecorino cheese. These guys are nearly ready to harvest for the green shelling stage.

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Artichokes still pumping out buds. I’ll let some go to flower because I love those purple puff balls in bloom.

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Eggplant and savoy cabbage: I don’t think I’ve ever grown a stranger combination of plants next to each other, but I saw these great organic eggplant starts os super sale and couldn’t help myself….so I squeezed them in where I could.

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We’ve been harvesting small early cabbages for about a month and are looking forward to these big red beauties filling out.

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Greenhouse

The greenhouse was recently revamped with this cinderblock border, which I filled with basil starts I picked up on sale.

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I train my tomatoes in the greenhouse to a single leader around twine.

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There’s a back-wall of cukes growing too. I had gorgeous seedlings of a very expensive hybrid greenhouse cucumber planted and coming up perfectly. Then the freakity-fracking-gurd-dang slugs ate every single one in a single night. So I replanted with shop-bought Marketmore starts and let my heavy-handed son apply the Sluggo. Take that, slimeballs.

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Random Stuff Around the Yard

If you are around Seattle, get your fall and winter stuff going. Mine is just starting to come up.

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Sour cherry tree doesn’t look big enough to have all these cherries on it, yet here they are.

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Potted brandywine tomatoes and basil in the hottest spot in my yard, against the south side of my house. Note the rocks. Those are there to catch and store heat.

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Our established espaliered fruit trees are looking like I need to thin that fruit!

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I predict an excellent year for blueberries, if my son can control himself long enough to let any ripen.

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This is the border where about half our blueberries are planted. I just wanted to show how they are incorporated with a ton of herbs, self-sown flowers and ornamental things.

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This bay tree is getting ridiculous. If I had known it was going to get this huge I would not have planted it this close to my house.

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My son is the official chive harvester. He takes his job very seriously. Too bad his hands are still too little for Felcos.

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More of the ornamental/edible border. This scented geranium is so wonderful I wanted to give it a bit more oomph in the border so I stuck it in this pot. Don’t be afraid of putting potted plants in the (non-container) garden. It can work really well.

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So, that’s my garden right now. Hoped you liked the virtual tour!

How does your garden grow?

Saying Goodbye to Bleary Eyed Exhaustion?
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Gardening with Children

Comments

  1. wow I cannot believe what you have crammed in there in your difficult climate as well! everything looks so healthy.

  2. I’m VERY jealous of your plums! It’s our only tree that has never produced anything. It’s supposedly self-fruitful but there is also have a plum at a neighbor’s house about 100′ away just in case.

  3. What a beautiful site! I’m keeping this up on my screen so I can gaze at it often.

    I forgot to plant kale & chard this spring, but in the SF Bay area I think I can get by with putting it in now. I’m growing way too much quinoa, but it’s so beautiful to watch , I try a new kind every year. Way-intensive to get it ready to cook, but it tastes, finally, just like the ‘store-bought’ at the end of the procedure.

    Thanks for sharing your happy work with us!

    Edie

  4. This is absolutely amazing!

  5. Love this post. WOW. Your garden is amazing! Great job and so inspiring

  6. Lush, beautiful and so inspiring! How much space is the gardening portion of your lot?

  7. I would love to know your yard dimensions as well. It is nice to see what is possible!!

  8. Nicole S. says:

    So awesome! Gives me Seattle garden hope!!!!

  9. Cynthia Atulya says:

    Your apples! I’m getting a few fruit trees for my birthday this week, and apples were already top priority (now that winter is here in Australia it’s a good time to plant deciduous trees) but a low chill variety is in order for this climate. I’ve been tossing up changing my paths from grass to woodchips, I know it would be a lot less work once its done…
    Your place is looking beautiful & bountiful!!
    Last week I sent my neighbour home with a paper bag full of mandarins; yesterday I found my mailbox full of avocados :)

  10. I read your blog quite religiously (I’m not too far away … up in the San Juan’s) and I just wanted to stop in this time and say how I think I love these kinds of posts the best. Not sure why – something about having a *tour* that is so delightful. I’ve recently hooped one of my raised beds, yet realized when I saw your photos that a 4-pole connector might be more suitable … can’t wait to try it. We have quite a bit of wind here & in some ways your system seems more stable. What do you think?

    Thanks for the peek into your growing world!
    Christi

  11. Gorgeous garden. Gives me motivation to keep working with what we’ve got towards what we want out of our little (container) garden. :)

  12. Looks amazing! I live in Vancouver, and we have a rooftop vegetable garden that we work on communally with other people in our building. Our broccoli too went to seed pretty much instantaneously. I think I put out my tomato seedlings too soon and they are struggling . Our raspberries are amazing though.

  13. I *love* drooling over your garden. We skipped a garden this year, but really hope to have one next year when Daughter Person’s “help” is actually helpful and not harmful to gardening. So many fruits and veggies, and ideas!

  14. Maggie Tate says:

    Wow! Amazing – love the virtual tour. So inspiring :)

  15. This is amazing Erica! Mine is doing great too, despite the slug infestation. Throughout Spring and some of June I had to pick the tiny bastards twice a day for two hours each time! I used everything I could but the only thing that worked was picking them up, I refused to use any chemical to eradicate them; it was a tedious and deflating job but I managed. yesterday it rained cats and dogs and this morning I had to go and pick the snails again! Next to my plot there is a huge bramble bush and they seem to be living there in their 1000s! The type I’m dealing with is not the conventional one, it is the small hardie one that can lock itself and dig itself deep in the soil and when it rains it comes out! Do you know that? they look harmless and small but they eat like little pigs; they have finished off a whole line of green beans!

    Anyway, now the vegetable plot is blooming. I have been harvesting zucchini and even sharing with my landlady and some of my friends! Today I picked my first green beans and they were delish with organic butter and lots of chopped Italian parsley from my garden too. I still harvest chard and spinach! The tomatoes are gorgeous, I planted 24 plants, only one died and the rest are producing like crazy! in 2 weeks or so I will be feasting on them too.

    I better shut up :) Your vegetable garden is wonderful and you are a natural grower, well done :)
    Oops, before I go, will there be “No Spend Month” this summer, hehe? I hope so, I’m ready.

    • Sorry for the post again, I have a query. I think I read on your blog about how to improve your soil, some kind of homemade stuff you add to improve the soil, if it is lacking in some minerals? I looked but couldn’t locate it! I’m not sure if I read that on another blog though. Can you help? Thank you so much.

  16. Super duper beautiful!
    We built a rebar trellis this year based on your helpful post sometime back. The morning glories are crawling up.
    Thank you!

  17. WOW!!
    *looks out window* Umm…I may be doing something wrong, LOL. You give me hope though.
    Cheers!

  18. I love your blog. You are doing things so nicely in your garden and blog I’ll strive to imitate it. I’m quite happy with my little garden and visiting your blog is sort of an extension of my own.
    I’ll visit frequently.

  19. It looks fabulous.

  20. Spectacular garden, indeed!

  21. Your garden is inspiring… I want to be like you when I grow up (I have a fraction of the space, but even so I could cram much more in than I do).
    I especially love your edible/ornamental beds… I love that a garden can be useful, productive AND beautiful to look at!

  22. What a gorgeous garden! We just moved and I am hoping to transform our yard into a beautiful and productive space over the next couple (or several) years – you are inspiring!

  23. Just wondering what sort of greenhouse you have? I am day dreaming about adding one and just starting to research options. Thanks!

  24. Where is the picture of the giant army?….the army that you are planning to feed with all of this. Lol! You are amazing! Garden is beyond beautiful.

  25. Lisa Cotter says:

    I’ve been harvesting snap peas, lettuces, radishes, & strawberries. We have many green tomatoes on our plants, plus ONE that is turning orange! A few zucchini coming along with several cucumbers, those horrible slugs have been Sluggo’ed from our garden. We have several peppers plants in flower & so far one actual pepper. My melons aren’t very happy & I’m not sure why, not a lot of growth from my seedlings. Haven’t harvested any potatoes yet, but only have a few plants. Love how your potatoe cages are doing. Tons of broccoli plants, but sadly I planted them to close to each other. Five of my cabbage plants lived and are starting to head. Love that idea of winding the tomato plantup the string, thanks for the idea.
    Everything looks so amazing and yummy!

  26. Wow, your garden is amazing! SO big with so many beds! I’m especially super excited about your fruit and espaliered trees. How cool. We thought of doing that with apple trees but instead just planted a couple of semi-dwarfs. :)

  27. Your blog is better reading than most of the ‘inspirational-style’ gardening books I’ve read. SO PRETTY! Thank you for taking the time to document all of what you do. I would love a chicken-centered update at some point! How are they? How’s the coop/ composting working out?

  28. That looks beautiful. We moved to five acres six months ago and are starting from scratch. There is good news and bad news on our garden.

    Bad News: I only seem to grow deer food. Lots of different kinds of deer food.

    Good News: I’m damn good at it.

  29. This is fantastic.

    Wow… it looks like master work to me.

  30. Your early broccoli failure makes me feel better- we had the same hot-cold-hot in Portland and my early broccoli was the saddest possible, and I thought it was because I didn’t water enough, but if it wasn’t just me… ahhh, weather, taking away my self-blame :) You rock!

  31. May I ask how you removed that much grass? Did you sheet mulch (or something else) the entire thing at once? Or bit by bit as you built more beds/areas?

    We’re starting from scratch at a new house with five acres. I’d love to have zero grass in the 100×50 foot garden area I’ve fenced off, even though we’re not ready to plant that whole area yet. Just not sure the best way to go about that. Thanks!

  32. Such a gorgeous garden! Your soil looks amazing. I really want to try some hugel beds, but I don’t know where to get the wood. I kind of hugel-ed (not a word, I know) my blackberry bed, which I later realized was a complete waste of effort, because blackberries are invasive WEEDS. Why baby them?!?
    Can you tell me what your potato bins are covered with? What’s that cloth? My initial attempt to grow potatoes UP, using a bin lined with straw, didn’t work too well.

  33. Just found your blog and I’m so excited to see your orchard. I’m trying to talk myself into taking the plunge and doing that in my side yard. I’ve been perusing Dave Wilson’s info all week. I’m so excited to see it work for you!

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