I have a very special treat for you today, in addition to our own garden update, we’re going to go on a virtual garden tour of eleven other gardens! I always love seeing what other people are growing, and how they are growing food, herbs and flowers. Plus, on this tour you will visit gardens in USDA gardening zones 3 through 9a (that’s us). That means that some of the gardens are just beginning their season, while others (zone 9a!) are wrapping up their harvests. At the end of our update are links to all the other gardens.
Even though it’s been neglected, our June garden is doing well. As I said last month, we almost didn’t plant a garden this season because I knew we wouldn’t really be able to tend to it properly. But we did and I’m so glad we did.
We’ve had a super busy weekend but I grabbed my camera before church yesterday and went to the garden right after sunrise and took pictures.
This lemon tree is the first thing you see when you go out our back door. It’s just loaded with lemons. Each year we have enough to juice for the year and enough to share. It’s such a blessing.
Two of the grape vines are growing like crazy and have grapes on them. I have no clue how to determine when they are ripe, so I’m just waiting. If you have any tips, leave them in the comments for me, please.
This is the view as we walk to the garden, I just love the cattle panel trellises. I think we’ll be adding a couple more this fall. They aren’t fancy at all but they look beautiful covered with beans, they off some extra shade and I can plant in an area that normally wouldn’t get planted since I have them over walkways.
This is the left side of the garden. Benjamin mowed some of the walkways for me last week but there is still more to do. You can’t see it, but the spot I’m standing in to take this photo has grass that is chest high….ugh.
Bet you can’t guess what these white flowers are…..carrots. I’m not sure how it happened but I forgot that we planted a bed of carrots last fall. Of course, it might have something to do with the chest high grass. I’ve never had carrots flower before since they are a biennial for some reason, they think they’re in their second year. Oh well, at least I can save the seeds and the bees like the blooms so it’s not a total waste.
The herb garden is looking good. We’ve been chopping the comfrey and putting it down on the beds that have been harvested before we put straw on them for the rest of the summer. The calendula and fennel are blooming, I’m hoping they will re-seed for next year.
We weeded the strawberries last week and laid some chopped comfrey and straw down as mulch. So, the plants we planted this spring aren’t doing very well. We only have about 10 plants that lived. I’m going to try to plant some more this fall and see if a fall planting is better for our climate than a spring planting.
These zucchini just make me smile. They shouldn’t be producing as they have been hit with vine borers and powdery mildew. We’ve used bt on the stems for the vine borers and sprayed the powdery mildew with a milk spray….once. The thing is that both of these solutions really need to be applied often to really work, but we haven’t had time to do it more than once. So, every day that we bring in a zucchini I’m grateful.
While all the photos on this site are real, this is a “keeping it real” photo. I can tell you all day long that my garden is a really a weedy mess but if I only show you close up photos or photos of weeded areas you’re not going to believe me. This is the kale and basil bed. Can you see them? You’ve got to look hard, they’re there.
We got some tomatillo seeds in our Seeds of the Month club last year. I’ve never grown tomatillos but thought it would be fun. We have two plants that are full of fruit and blooms. Again, I have no idea how to tell when they’re ripe so if you have any tips, let me know. Or if you have any favorite recipes you want to share, feel free to leave them in the comments.
The potatoes are almost ready to be dug. When we dig them up, I’ll probably can most of them either by themselves or in stew. They don’t store well in our climate to I don’t even try anymore.
The cucumbers are doing well. Gabriel and I are the only ones who eat them so Carl has been taking some to work every week to share. I’ve been asked if it’s worth it to grow things that only a couple of people like….yes, it is and we do it all the time.
Our heirloom tomato plants are doing well but most of the celebrity and the cherry tomato plants have about had it. The cherry tomato plant has been producing for about 6 months, so it’s really ok. The celebrities don’t produce for long, but they produce a lot, so it’s ok that they’re about done too.
This is what our pumpkin/winter squash area looks like. The vines are desperately trying to grow above the grass.
We do have some spaghetti squash and for that I’m happy.
If you’ve gardened for any length of time, you know it isn’t for the faint of heart. Each year has it’s own successes and failures and no two years are ever really the same. There are just too many variables out of our control.
However, there are some things to help ensure you have the best garden you can in spite of the variables. Planning and record keeping can help you transition from one year to the next. And having a plan for eating all the homegrown goodness will give purpose to growing your own food.
Homestead Garden Tour
Joybilee Farm (British Columbia, Zone 3)
Homespun Seasonal Living (Montana, Zone 4b)
Homestead Honey (NE Missouri, Zone 5b)
Family Food Garden (British Columbia, Zone 5b)
Learning and Yearning (Pennsylvania, Zone 5b)
Reformation Acres (Ohio, Zone 5b)
Homestead Lady (SW Missouri, Zone 6)
Timber Creek Farm (Maryland, Zone 7b)
Grow Forage Cook Ferment (Oregon, Zone 8a)
A Farm Girl in the Making (Washington, Zone 8a)
Preparedness Mama (Texas, Zone 8b)
How is your June garden going? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Saturday 2nd of July 2016
Where did you get those Heavy Duty tomato cages?
Monday 4th of July 2016
Hi Joni, the cages are "tote" cages. We have a friend who has an oil field related business and his raw product is delivered in plastic totes with these cages around them. I've seen some commercial lawn care business with them too, the're fertilizer and other chemicals come in the plastic totes. We had to remove to bottoms but is was easy.
Sunday 26th of June 2016
Hi Angi! Love reading your encouraging posts. I am in my 2nd year of square foot gardening with VERY mixed success. Eventually I am trying to grow enough organic produce for my family. Question- living in a subdivision on about a quarter acre lot- is this realistic for a family of 6? I looked at my pitiful harvest last year and thanked the Lord we weren't solely dependent on me for sustinance! But that was a function of inexperience more than space. Thanks for reading this-
Sunday 26th of June 2016
Hi Mia, I'm so glad you find encouragement here. Yes, I absolutely believe that it is possible to grow enough organic produce for a family of 6 on 1/4 acre. You will need to do some intensive planting (meaning plant your plants closer than the packet says to), you can also do some vertical gardening and succession planting. If you live in a cold climate you can use row covers and still grow greens even in the snow. Cathy from Mother of a Hubbard blog (http://www.motherofahubbard.com/) has some great posts on this. Also, if you decide to put in fruit trees you can espalier them and train them to grow on fences or sides of buildings. Another small homestead blog is The 104 Homestead (http://104homestead.com), she grows a lot of produce on 1/4 acre plus has chickens, ducks and dwarf goats! One more, Amy from TenthAcre Farm (https://www.tenthacrefarm.com/) grows a lot on 1/10 acre. She also has an urban permaculture book coming out soon that I think will be very beneficial to people who are growing food in town.
Personally, one of the things that has helped us grow most of our vegetables is changing the way we view produce. We eat a very seasonal diet. We know that we won't eat zucchini from August through April unless it's the shredded zucchini we froze. So, we just substitute broccoli, cabbage or other greens(if possible) in recipes that we want to make that have zucchini during that time...or not make those recipes. The only vegetables we buy at the store and only sometimes during the year are potatoes, carrots, lettuce and tomatoes (for salad), other than that we just make due. It's taken us several years to get to this point but each year we do a little bit better - both in our mindset and in our food product.
I, too, am thankful that I don't have to depend solely on our garden for produce for our family! It's a blessing. Hope this helps.
Monday 20th of June 2016
I really enjoyed this garden post and it's nice to see the weeds among the plants. I have a lot of those too by the end of our growing season. Just trying to keep up!
Monday 20th of June 2016
Keeping up is all we can do sometimes, isn't it? Happy Gardening!
Merrilyn (Merri) McElderry
Monday 13th of June 2016
What a glorious garden the fairies are happy!!! So much to see and levels of things. Canning potatoes wow that sounds good, and spaghetti squash mmmm...How are the bees doing Angi are you still doing the honey? I just moved this week 250 miles south of NE MN and am now in Northfield Mn where the gardens look about like yours. lush and green with lovely tree cover and lots of heat..and sun I love it here. Please email me the book of BENEATH OLD GLORY you needed I think you need# two email me at willowhouse @q.com------- and I will get a few from Mary Lerner. Thanks for the wonderful full of love and joy blog you place out in the world for us to rejoice over and see a very happy woman and family!!! Much love, merri
Tuesday 14th of June 2016
The bees are doing well. Gabriel has been busy with school and he's working at a ranch for the summer so he hasn't harvested any honey yet. He has a list a mile long of people who want to buy honey from him. I'm so excited that you have finally moved and are enjoying the area. I'll email you with the book number. Thanks so much!
Isis Loran- Family Food Garden
Monday 13th of June 2016
I love all your trellised plants! I also enjoy seeing the real weed photos, it's far more realistic as gardeners deal with it every week. We all know that in only 1-2 weeks of no weeding it becomes an invasion ;)
Tuesday 14th of June 2016
I hear you about the weeds, and sometimes life just gets in the way of weeding.