Gail of Green Living


Summer Garden in June

Purple Hulled Peas

Let’s start with the GOOD things about my garden in June.  These purple hulled peas are growing in a pot about 14″ in diameter.  I can’t remember how many seeds I planted, but I know they are way more crowded than any seed packet would advise.  The first picking last night yielded only 1 serving, and I just need 2 at a time, so maybe next time, it will be better.  They are a beautiful summer plant!

Pumpkin

Now, this seems like a really odd-looking pumpkin, but it just might grow up to be a tall, skinny dude someday.  Two other small pumpkins have not made it as far as this one, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  The vines are resting on cardboard, because the ground underneath is full of tree roots and weeds.

Blueberry Bush

This is a ripe blueberry I ate right after the picture was taken.  It was the best one ever!  I have netting all around both bushes now, and I might get to eat the last 1/2 dozen on the bushes.  The Mockingbirds and Bluejays LOVE them, too, and they were clearly the winners this year.  My grandson ate two and I’ve had one.  I wonder how many bushes a city dweller needs to have enough production to matter!

Better Bush Tomato

Well you can see that I’ve had to cover the tomatoes with bird netting as well!  But I’m getting more tomatoes again.  They aren’t very big, but they are good.  This bush shows the result of heavy rains and heat…yellowing leaves and new growth.  So they won’t win a beauty pageant, but I’m counting on a nice bumper crop later in the summer.

Cucumbers

After enjoying several great cucumbers, all of a sudden, the leaves all withered and died.  I think it was too hot, but I’m going to try again.  This is the second crop getting started.

Parsley

Now parsley is usually not a big thing on my maintenance routine.  Usually, if I just keep it in the shade during the summer, it makes it.  However, about six weeks ago, I had bright green and black striped worms (and you can see where they stripped off the foliage), and after using the HOD method of worm control, I didn’t see anymore.  I’ve been seeing butterflies in and around it the last few days, so I am prepared for another round of worms any time now!  Someone tell me why butterflies like parsley.

I also found a very large hornworm on one tomato plant this morning.  Two things tell you to look for one and they leave clues about the location…no leaves left on stems of one area of the plant and worm “poop” directly below where that rascal is munching!

In Houston near the Medical Center, we need more consistent, but less heavy rains.  I hope your garden is doing well.  I hope to hear from my friend who has her garden in Maine every summer!  Her blueberry picking experiences inspired me to get my bushes!

Advertisements


Spring Garden: Final Exam

I know you must have been wondering what happened to my garden; it’s been doing pretty well, thank you!  I decided to give the Spring Garden a Final Exam, because the high temps these days are close to, if not at 90.  I’d say anything past 90 degrees constitutes summer weather and summer garden.

Green Bell Peppers

This bell pepper plant is really doing well.  You can see on the left, a red/green one, and tucked behind a leaf at about 3:00, is a nice-sized green one.  They have thin skins, few seeds, and I find them to be a great snack.  Because the leaves are not uniform in color, I’ll give this a B+.

Cucumbers: Straight 8

Cucumbers are producing well, and I have extras to give away all the time.  They grow so quickly, so you have to watch the vine daily to keep track.  The leaves toward the patio are yellow, and I’m sure that’s because of the heat it generates.  Another B+ here.

Blueberry Bushes

Blueberry bushes are doing great!  I planted them in “Blueberry Mix” potting soil, and I’ve only watered them, for fear of messing up the ph.  Last week at the Eastside Farmers’ Market, I asked a man selling gorgeous blueberries what I should do about fertilizing, because they are in containers.  He said to just treat them and feed them like azaleas.  So I need to pick up some azalea food.  The foliage is a gorgeous color and they are both growing well.  I’m giving them an A, but it’s not because of anything I did, except start them in the correct soil.

Organic Basil

The basil is beautiful with good color, large leaves.   The maintenance issue is pinching off the beginnings of flowers, because I don’t want them going to seed so quickly.  Anybody need basil for pesto?  A+

Sweet Millions

The squirrels are winning when it comes to tomatoes.  In the last two weeks, they have stripped almost all my green tomatoes off the bushes.  I have bought netting in hopes that at least it will slow them down.  The Sweet Million tomatoes are absolutely delicious, and the early ones were large, but now, they are more the size I’m used to having.  A+, despite the annoying squirrels!

Bush Tomatoes

All of the tomatoes here are Better Bush except the one in the left Dragon pot.  It is an Early Girl Bush.  The Early Girls were really producing, and then, the Better Bush started catching up.  The Better Bush have a better homegrown taste.  The smaller ones were planted about a month later than the large one.  Early Girl Bush, B+, Better Bush, A.

Onions

There are no more than half-dozen onions left after the pill bugs had their early spring feast, but these are looking really good.  I’m going to give them a B+, and it’s on quality and not quantity, for sure.

Purple Hull Peas and Yard Long Beans

The cucumber vine was working so well attached to the eave of the house, I decided to use another trellis, this one for Purple Hull Peas on the left and Yard Long Beans on the right.  These are both summer plants and I have a feeling that the beans will be more suited to the container than the peas.  I can’t remember how many plants it takes to generate a “mess” of peas, but I’m sure I will know soon!  These are both beautiful plants, planted in rose mix with expanded shale (See post from March 10), and I do need to water less. I’ll give these an A+, because they are such healthy plants at the moment.

Pumpkins

I wanted to plant pumpkins, just for fun, not expecting any great result.  I used a galvanized tub, mixed compost with rose mix, planted seeds from last year’s pumpkins, and they really came up and grew.  There is one tiny pumpkin, but I doubt it will mature, because the stem is not green anymore, so I think the nutrients are not getting to the pumpkin.  I elevated the tub, and put newspapers on the ground for the vines, because the ground in that spot is quite hard, full of weeds and tree roots (despite the tree, it gets lots of sun), and I didn’t want the vines to get mixed up with the weeds.  Newspaper makes a good mulch.  Because it does yearn for water at times, some of the leave have turned yellow.  I’m giving this plant a B.

I imagine that remaining garden posts will deal with summer heat and hopefully, not another drought like last year!  How is your garden growing?



Early Spring Garden–More Real Food

Straight 8 Cucumbers

Last year, my cucumbers were productive and tasted wonderful, but I would give the planting in the pot a D+.  When summer winds started blowing, the tomato cages blew over with the heavy cucumbers and after about four “recoveries”, I gave up.  This year, I planted organic seeds indoors, then transplanted them into two large pots, but the big difference is that I placed the pots on the south side of the house, and …

Cucumbers with bamboo trellis

I hung a bamboo trellis from the eave of the house.  We will see how well these cucumber vines fare this year.  They should get plenty of sun.

Pinto Beans

I promise the seed package said these were bush beans, but they are climbing up the tomato cage.  Unlike the cucumbers, the beans will not be heavy.  And they will not even be around very long, because Pinto Beans are not fond of hot weather.  But I hope to get enough to eat at least one meal.

California Wonder Bell Peppers

This is last year’s bell pepper plant.  I pruned it recently and it already has blooms.  These peppers are so delicious, with thin skin and few seeds.  I am adding epsom salts to make the leaves green again.

Don’t forget that your container plants require plant food more often, and only use organic.  There are so many now, and no one needs chemicals!