Garden: June Wk 1

Right. So the Big Mission this year was control for the backyard. Last year we left for a 2 week trip to Alaska in Mid June, only to return to a jungle of weeds that we never got in front of. The backyard was not a pleasant place, and we have vowed to make a better show of it this year. So here are some shots of the garden in June. I know, all gardens look great in June, but I am taking solace in how well they are doing thus far.

Here is Bird taking her time picking the Forellenschluss lettuce from Cook’s. Bird is an enigma. She’ll take carrots over cookies, apples over ice cream and will eat her salad, heck even plain lettuce, completely before touching mac and cheese or her PB & J. Like her Father, she is especially smitten with this variety for its appearance and taste. The leaves are large and firm which makes them a dream to harvest as leaf lettuce and they are heading up nicely. We have about 12 plants going right now that I transplanted out 2 weeks early (Mia’s pic below) and they have kept us in salad for 1-2 meals a day for 2 weeks, and are still going strong. We have 2 more rounds of this lettuce to go (I started the seed all at once, but staggered the transplanting which is having a similar effect on harvest times. My “nursery” bed is very low on nutrients due to neglect which essentially puts the transplants on hold until they hit the garden-they stay alive, but don’t thrive.

Once we got back from Yellowstone I quick put my transplants from Seed Savers (my starts were murdered by yours truly when I left them out on a windy spring day…) into the garden. Last year I had 14 tomatoes and had used large wire cages for all my indeterminate heirlooms. It was an unmitigated disaster because I didn’t prune them and had them spaced to tightly-I basically had a tomato “hedge” that became weedy and suffered from lack of sidedressing

during July. I spent the winter keeping an eye out for an alternate method of growing my heirlooms and stumbled across the idea of Tomato Teepees in Cook’s Catalogue. They used 7′

bamboo, and bamboo sounded alot better than my ugly wire cages! Unfortunately my local independent nurseries only had 6′, and even Local Harvest (which I use like a sustainable Amazon) came up empty. I was preparing to resort cobbling together mine out of firring strips from Menard’s when I stumbled across these beauties at K-Mart of all places! Beautifully stained (I will not ask what with…) and a full 7′ long. They came in packs of 6 for a very reasonable $5. I bought them out.

The idea is to space the plants in a 2′ square and then prune the vines to a more or less single trunk that will be tied to the bamboo. This should allow me to grow almost double (24 v. 14) the plants in the same area due to going vertical almost twice as much (6′ v 40″) with commensurate increases in yields. Time will tell!

I also broke with my desire to stay with only one variety of Tomato for seed saving. With me now marketing veggies to the local coffee shop, I needed to grow Roma’s and Yellow Pears for them, while also keeping with my Amish Pastes for our sauces-in all I have 6 varieties. Ditto for the peppers-we went from one (Anchos) to 3 to include an early and late red bell for the shop. I hope to still collect seed from my radishes, peas, carrots, and lettuce though for practice!

Here’s to the optimism of June in the Garden!


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