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Heidi Mae’s Garden: Bring on the Heat!

Hello, Virtual Gardening Friends!  Temperatures have been climbing steadily since I last checked in.  For some plants, this is not good; my peas finally browned out and I pulled them out this week.  However, warm season veggies like tomatoes, peppers and peas, love that nighttime temperatures are staying warm.  I’ve harvested quite a few cherry tomatoes and a few San Marzanos.  Here’s a pic of the garden as of July 9, 2013.  You can see a newly-constructed shade thingie over the favas.  These poor beans are really hating on the hot temps here, so we’re trying to help them out with some shade.  Keeping my fingers crossed for at least a few beans!

the garden 7-9-13

The beans are blooming and will set in no time.  I plant Royal Burgundy bush beans.  The flowers and beans are beautifully purple–making harvesting easier.  They turn green when cooked.  Aren’t the flowers pretty?  Here’s a pic of the bean and potato bed as well. The dill plants itself and comes up everywhere!

royal burgandy flower

beans and potatoes

Peppers are setting, sizing up and getting pick-able!  Here are examples of Big Bertha bell peppers, Big Jim chiles, and Goliath jalapeno; aren’t they pretty?!

big bertha

big jim

goliath jalapeno

Cilantro is in full bloom.  I cut some of it back to give my poor Goliath jalapenos some light and space, but I’m leaving some of them to seed another crop for this fall.  Green onions are also in this bed–they’re getting huge!  I planted another pack of them this week; this time planting in “bunches” instead of individually, just to see how that works.

cilantro

onions

Beets are doing great, but needed thinning.  I pulled quite a few, washed and chopped the greens and sauteed them with garlic–yum!

beets

Tomatoes are topping their tomato ladders.  The grafted San Marzanos are loaded with green tomatoes, and starting to ripen near the bottoms of each plant.  Grafted Mortgage Lifter has set tomatoes, as have the Aunt Ruby’s German Green and Cherokee Purples I planted from seed.  The warm weather has the seeded tomatoes almost caught up to the tomatoes I bought in gallons from the Greenhouse.

tomatoes

san marzano

I have some squash planted in pots in the garden, and quite a few out in a perennial bed that had some big “holes” from perennials that didn’t survive last winter’s cold.  They’re beautiful plants with pretty blooms that look rather nice in among the perennials.  This year I planted baby round zucchini–a ball-shaped heirloom–just to see how I like them, and to see if I can stay ahead of them easier than regular zucchini, and patty pans–golden scallops–the one that look like flying saucers, and buttercup–an acorn-like winter squash that is easier to stuff because it has a flat bottom.  I got these out really late, and have just now picked my first round zucchini, along with the first squash bugs.  Yay zucchini, boo bugs.

baby zucchini

zucchini

buttercup

That’s about it for now.  My basil needed pinching back today, so I’m enjoying a refreshing basil lemonade as I write today.  What’s one of your favorite garden snacks?

Here are quick links to the other posts from Heidi Mae’s Garden this year:

Getting Started

Sprouting

Goodbye Cool Season, Hello Warm Season

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Filed under General gardening, onions, squash bugs, tomatoes, Uncategorized, vegetable gardening

Heidi Mae’s Garden: Getting Started

If you’re new to gardening, it can be helpful to have a gardening buddy to help you know what to do, and what to expect.  Even if you’re a gardener from way back, it’s fun to compare notes about what works and what doesn’t.  So, here I am!  Your online gardening friend, Heidi Mae. (Mae isn’t part of my given name, but one given to me by one of the greenhouse owners, and it just stuck.)  I’m one of “the girls” who work up front at the cash registers at Mt Garfield Greenhouse.

happy and tired

 

I’ll share what’s happening in my garden in a sort of step-by-step way with pictures of what I’m doing this year.  My garden changes a bit from year to year, as I like to try new varieties of veggies and I like to rotate crops in my raised beds.

ready to amend

I live in the Whitewater area.  The soil here is NOT garden-friendly, so my fabulous husband constructed these beds, we lined them with plastic to keep the alkali from leaching up, and we filled them with 3-way mix from Mt Garfield Greenhouse.  Some of the beds are made from 6×6 lumber, some are plastic build-it-yourself kits from gardeners.com.  The wooden ones work the best–you’ll notice in some of the pictures that the plastic ones bow out–I don’t like that.  I also have an assortment of containers that expand my plantable space.

I garden organically, using companion plants to help with bug eradication, as well as hand picking some of the beasties and squishing them–eeewwwww.  More on that in a later post.  The pictures and happenings in this post took place April 25, 2013.  I keep a garden log to keep track of where I plant what and when I can expect to see germination.  I also record what varieties worked and which ones I should skip next year.  I start some veggies from seed and some from plants.

journal

seeds

Every year, I amend my soil.  3-way is a fabulous garden soil, but veggies rob nutrients from it each growing season that need to be replaced.  In the past I used a combo of Soil Pepe, Mesa Magic, and Earthworm Castings; the last few years I’ve been using Happy Frog Soil Conditioner.  I like that it’s organic and I like the boost it gives my plants.  I distribute it out among the beds and containers–a bit of  process because those bails of Happy Frog are heavy!  🙂

conditioner divided

Then I spade the amendment in (troweled in in the containers), and smooth the surfaces with a rake.  Then they’re ready to plant!

spade in conditioner

beds are ready

I planted my potatoes on the outside edge of one of the beds, a different one than they were in last year.  The outside edge because they’ll be growing for the whole season and they’re kinda out of my way there.  I dug a trench as deep as the garden and spaced the potatoes in it.  I’m lazy and leave them whole.  You can cut potato sets so that each section has an “eye” to create more potato plants.  If you chose to do that, be sure to let the cut edges dry overnight before planting so the raw edge won’t rot.  Anyway, then I just cover them up, pat the soil on top of them and mark the row.  Later, I’ll plant green beans next to them.  Beans and potatoes are companion plants–the potatoes keep bean beetles off the beans while the beans keep potato beetles off the potatoes.

planting potatoes

marking rows

I also planted snap peas, lettuce, spinach, radishes, onions, cabbage, and beets directly into the garden.  These are considered cool season crops, pretty much unaffected by late spring frosts.  Each veggie was seeded/planted, marked and watered in.

cabbage

watering in

I have rhubarb, planted years ago, in a half wine barrel.  I scratch in a bit of amendment and time-release fertilizer each year, but otherwise leave it alone.

rhubarb

I lost a lot of strawberries over the winter, but those that had rooted in the gravel outside the garden as runners survived!  I dug those up and placed them in the container where the others had been, scratched in some soil conditioner and fertilizer and watered them in.

strawberries

Amending and planting just this much took the better part of my day.  I was sore (sooo out of gardening shape!), tired and happy.  There’s just something wonderfully satisfying about starting a new garden each year.  I can hardly wait for a fresh salad or a radish sandwich–an old Iowa favorite from my childhood.  🙂   The next post from Heidi Mae’s garden will be about the veggies I started in my unheated greenhouse.

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Filed under amendments, General gardening, soil, Uncategorized