Monday, June 27, 2011

A Garden Update

The garden is growing so well, and we are all very pleased with how it is doing this year! It has been one of our best years yet . . . not without some problems and some crop losses, but overall, the garden is doing amazing. How thankful we are to the Lord for this blessing!

We have been harvesting lettuce from the garden for quite awhile now and are loving the fresh salads with homemade dressing. Surprisingly, the lettuce made it through our two weeks of 90+ degrees temperatures that we had awhile back, and it didn't bolt and it's flavor stayed delicious. We have also begun harvesting zucchini, and the yellow squash and green beans are not far behind. I love this time of year when
we can enjoy the fresh produce from the garden!

A full view of the garden (though there is another section of it behind the flower gardens, and the empty, front left section is planted now.) All of the 'white blobs' in the back are our fruit trees that are covered in tulle to protect them from the cicadas. (Speaking of which, their numbers are drastically decreasing now, so hopefully we can take the tulle off soon.) The green bean plot is also fenced with electric to keep out deer and then around the perimeter of the garden is a fence to keep the chickens out . . . they had been enjoying the garden a little too much!

The gardener's best friend . . . thanks to the hoe (and lots of hand-weeding) our garden is just about weed free!

The green bean plot #1 (we planted another several rows last week.)

The green beans are blossoming and there are little beans on the plants now. Most of this first crop will be going to a lady that we know who I grow green beans for each year . . . so far, it looks like it is going to be a bumper crop!

Swiss chard - what beautiful plants these are!

This is cucumber trellis # 2 with slicing cucumbers planted along each side, three varieties of lettuce underneath, and marigolds on the end. The cucumbers have been one of the crops that we have lost a lot of plants of so far due to all of the cucumber beetles. I have been going out every morning and handpicking around 50-100 beetles off of the plants (as well as the zucchini and yellow squash plants), and little by little, their numbers are decreasing! I have also been replanting the cucumbers that are lost so hopefully we'll still end up with a crop of pickling cucumbers (we have two trellises for them.)

Tiny pickling cucumbers . . . on one of the few plants that had survived the cucumber beetles.

Me watering the newly planted cucumber seeds (to replace the plants that were lost) just as the sun began to peek over the treetops . . . and after spending about an hour picking off cucumber beetles and squash bugs

After losing all of our tomato plants last year due to disease, we are thrilled with how well the plants are doing this year! We have about 40 of them in the garden, and Dad has about 30 in his raised bed, planted in buckets, and planted in the orchard as well. In hopes of minimizing disease spread and fungal problems, I planted all of the ones in the garden four feet apart and then mulched them as soon as I could. Both of these things seemed to have helped as the plants overall seem very healthy!

And the tomato plants have tomatoes on them now! Lots of them in fact. :) We're all looking forward to enjoying fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes, and I am looking forward to canning them.

Daddy and I looking at the garden one recent evening (and the 'white' at our feet is tulle covering the newly planted pickling cucumbers - it's working to keep the cucumber beetles off the plants!)

Zucchini . . . we've been enjoying zucchini pancakes lately which are so good! And now with the summer squash almost ready to harvest, squash casseroles will be enjoyed this week.

Yellow squash

Jalapeno Peppers

Our s . . . l . . . o . . . w . . . l . . . y growing watermelon

Beets, beets, and more beets . . . now if the moles would just leave this row alone for awhile! We're having some mole trouble this year, and they have caused some damage in a number of our beds. Dad's been 'mole-hunting', though, and so far has gotten three in the garden! It looks like there are still a few more out there, though . . . .

One of the basil plants that is in the tomato rows

One of our worst parts of the garden this year . . . the onions. They ended up with the same fungal problem as last year, though spraying with an organic fungicide held it off for quite awhile. The onions were able to get some size to them and are still growing a bit. And thankfully, there should be enough for using in canning, even though they will be on the small side.

Other things planted in the garden that weren't in the photos are: dill, green onions, bell peppers, parsley, and carrots. The carrots are kind of a disappointment, though, as right after planting them, we got about a 6" rain which washed most of the seeds away. So there are a few straggling plants scattered here and there. I did go back and replant all of the empty spots and hopefully those will sprout and grow!

I have also planted winter squash in numerous locations on our property next to the brush piles. They were mulched around with grass clippings to keep the weeds down around them, and the plan is, for the squash plants to grow up over the brush piles. Our volunteer plants of last year that did this did very well growing over the brush piles and had hardly any problems with disease or bugs. It will be really interesting to see how this experiment goes! So far, there are 18 'hills' of winter squash planted, and I would like to do about 14 more which is one of the things on my 'to-do list' for this week.

As mentioned earlier in this post, Leah and I planted our second batch of green beans the other day. We had Mandy and Lassie out with us, and they (and we) enjoyed that . . . though they didn't exactly appreciate the fence that separated them from us . . .

Lassie watching us through the fence

Meantime, Mandy was enjoying a good roll in the freshly mowed grass. Lassie must have decided that she was more interesting than us . . .

And went over to investigate. It's fun watching these two interact together!

Me raking aside the soil in order to broadcast the seeds

And Leah tamping it down after the seeds were planted and the soil was pulled back over them.

Leah and Mandy having fun together during a break from planting

Yes, pleasant summer days are here . . . the garden is growing, produce is beginning to be harvested, preserving is just around the corner, and we are enjoying it all so much . . . except for maybe the bug picking. :) I am getting a little weary of that, but it sure seems to be helping!

Does anyone else have a garden this year? If so, what all have you been harvesting so far?


Linking up to the "Homestead Barn Hop"

22 comments:

  1. We have a small garden in our backyard and a dear neighbor lets us use part of his garden to plant as well. We currently have string beans, tomatoes,cucumbers,zucchini,yellow squash,eggplant,corn,peas,peppers,and watermelon. I also have several herbs as well. I understand the weeding part as I have been doing that constantly for the past few weeks! The weather here has been in the 90's and very humid but hopefully we will get some needed rain soon. I really love the way your garden looks and I'm sure you will be enjoying a good harvest soon. I really enjoy your blog and the pictures of you and your family are really nice. I can see in the photos the happiness and closeness that you share. Have a wonderful day!!
    Angela :)

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  2. What a blessing your beautiful garden is! Here in Texas, our garden is about done for the summer. Would you be willing to share your homemade dressing recipe?

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  3. Oh Sarah...your garden is truly doing quite well!

    Here in my small space, our zucchini, beans, tomatoes and peppers are doing really well. The lettuce has bolted, so I am waiting for the seeds to use next year.

    The herbs...they are just growing and growing :)

    Thank you so much for sharing...

    Maria

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  4. Hi Sarah,
    Sounds like you are really having a problem with the bugs. So far, all is well here. We are harvesting cucumbers, zucchini, squash, cabbage, lettuce and spinach. The heat really got to the potatoes, so I don't know if I'll leave then to grow much more. We are finally getting some rain, here and there. I've been watering, but it's not like getting a good soaking rain. :-)We pulled up the netting fence around the garden, so we could mow and didn't put it back Sat. night. Something, I'm thinking Peter (as in rabbit!) got to one of my cabbages, so the netting will go back up today. :-)
    You have a beautiful garden, and I know lots of work is going into it. The Lord will bless your efforts.
    Enjoy your day,
    Blessings,
    Miss Anne ♥

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  5. What a beautiful garden! I came over from the Homestead Barn Hop and I just love your blog! My garden is doing pretty well, but not without its troubles. We planted our tomatoes a foot apart and they a seem to be doing okay, but some are turning yellow on the bottom leaves. What problems did you have with them last year?? Do you think it was because they were closer together?

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  6. Wow, your garden is AMAZING.... It looks like the Lord has definately blessed your garden. I'm new to your blog and I am excited to look around..

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  7. Unfortunately, we haven't been harvesting anything from our garden yet, Sarah! The Michigan growing season is very short and the only fruits and vegetables available are asparagus and strawberries.

    In our garden we will hopefully be harvesting zucchini, lettuce, dianthus, cilantro, and lavender in the next week or two. But we have enjoyed all of our delicious herbs (parsley, oregano, chives, catnip, basil, and rosemary!) We look forward to all the yummy produce we'll have soon as long as we can keep disease at bay!

    ~Bianca

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  8. What an amazing garden!

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  9. Gorgeous garden. I love the way you made your trelaces.

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  10. I'm so glad the Lord has been good to your and your family. Your garden looks fabulous. Ours is doing good as well. We have a lot of different fruits and vegetables. Soon, my mother and I will have to start canning tomatoes because a bunch are going to come off the plants. Well, I hope you have a good week in the Lord. God Bless. Dorinda

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  11. Welcome to my blog, Angela, and thank you for your sweet and encouraging comment! And I am glad that you enjoyed your visit here.

    What a blessing that you not only have your own small garden in your backyard, but that your neighbor lets you use part of his as well. That is really thoughtful of him! You have a lot planted, and I am sure you can hardly wait until it is time to begin harvesting all of that delicious produce. I hope that your gardens produce abundantly for you! And that you get some of your needed rain soon. We just got a good soaking rain the other day for which we were grateful.

    May you have a wonderful day as well!

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  12. Thank you for your kind comment, Melissa! It sounds like Missouri and Texas have very different gardening seasons. Enjoy the last bit of yours!

    I would be happy to share the dressing recipe . . . enjoy!

    Ranch Dressing

    --1 cup mayonnaise
    --1/2 cup sour cream
    --1/2 tsp. dried chives
    --1/2 tsp. dried parsley
    --1/4 tsp. garlic powder
    --1/4 tsp. onion powder
    --1/8 tsp. salt
    --1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

    In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, chives, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

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  13. Thank you, Maria, for your comment! Even though your garden space is small, that must be so nice to be able to have all of the different things planted. I am sure you will enjoy when you can begin harvesting from those. I am so glad that everything is doing so well for you! That’s neat that you will be saving your lettuce seeds . . . I have not saved those before, but I am planning to this year. It will be interesting to see how that goes!

    Thank you again, and enjoy all of that up and coming garden produce!

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  14. Yes, we are having quite the problem with bugs this year, Miss Anne. It’s amazing how many there are . . . and just when I thought their numbers were beginning to decrease, there seems to be a whole new influx of them. I think I will be picking bugs for awhile!

    It sounds like your garden is doing very well for you, and how nice that you have been able to harvest so much produce already. There’s nothing like fresh veggies from the garden. I hope that you get a good soaking rain soon . . . I can relate to the watering as I was doing the same thing for quite awhile until we received a good long rain the other day. We were so thankful for it!

    That’s too bad that ‘Peter’ got into your garden and ate one of your cabbages . . . at least you have the fence that you could put back up to prevent any further escapades from the rabbits.

    Thank you for your sweet words! And may you have a blessed day!

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  15. Welcome to my blog, Missy! Thank you for stopping by and also for your sweet comment. :) I can relate to your garden doing pretty well, but not without troubles. It has been the same here for us. Gardening certainly provides lots of opportunity for learning!

    I am sorry that you are having a problem with your tomatoes! Have you looked up online for the probable causes of the symptoms? The internet is my best friend when it comes to figuring out and treating pests and diseases. Last year with our tomatoes, we had bacterial spot and then I believe a blight as well. The plants began looking poorly about the time they began setting on fruit, and we were only able to harvest a very small number of tomatoes before the plants all died. Since both of the problems that the plants had were funguses, and since we have very humid weather here in the summer, having the plants close together probably prevented them from drying out and thus increased the growing and spreading of the diseases. So that is one reason why I wanted to try planting them further apart this year. The distance would also help to prevent disease from spreading from one plant to another. I hope that helps to answer your question!

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  16. Thank you for your kind comment, Heritage from the Lord! And welcome to my blog. :) I am glad that you stopped by! Yes, the Lord has blessed the garden this year, and we are thankful to Him for how well it is doing.

    I hope that you enjoyed your visit here!

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  17. That must be nice to be able to be enjoying asparagus and strawberries right now, Bianca! I love those early season crops. You have a lot planted in your garden, and I hope that everything produces abundantly for you! And that you are able to keep the diseases at bay. :) Isn’t it wonderful enjoying fresh herbs from the garden? Some of the ones you mentioned we grow as well, though I have yet to be successful with the rosemary. I need to try that one again!

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  18. Thank you, Daisy, and welcome to my blog!

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  19. Welcome to my blog, Alana Jo! And thank you for your kind comment . . . we are really liking how these trellises work (it is our second year for using them), and they are so easy to build as well!

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  20. Thank you for your sweet comment, Dorinda! It was nice to hear from you again. :) I am so glad that your garden is doing well for you all. And how fun that you and your mother will be canning tomatoes soon. Enjoy that time together and putting up all of that delicious produce!

    I hope that you have a blessed week as well!

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  21. Your garden is doing so very well this year, dear Sarah. Thank you so much for sharing it. God has truly blessed.

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  22. Thank you, Miss Linda! And you’re welcome. :) We are so thankful to the Lord for how well the garden is doing so far!

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)