Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A July Garden Update

The warm summer days of July along with the abundant rains earlier in the month have made the garden grow prolifically! As it was planted late this year, we just recently started to harvest the first summer squash and cucumbers which means delicious summertime dishes made with fresh vegetables are back to being dinnertime staples.

Part of yesterday's harvest

Here is some of what the garden is looking like now . . . both the good and the bad. :)

Pole beans, Cosmos, Zucchini and Yellow Squash with Tomatoes way in the back

The cucumbers have done amazing this year! And for the first time ever, way outgrew the trellises that I have always used for them.

A pickling cucumber

When picking the the cucumbers, there is a constant hum of honeybees among the plants . . . pollination certainly isn't an issue this year!



Bush green beans on the left, tomatoes in the back (and the 'red' among the plants is ties holding the plants to the cattle panels) with sunflowers behind them, and then part of the 'bad' of the garden in the front . . . the poor pepper plants! They were hard hit by a fungal disease and have really been struggling. They were also planted in a section of the garden that has poorer soil which we're thinking now is too heavy for them.

Amish Paste tomatoes

The crookneck yellow squash plants which are in the foreground are huge this year! Up past my waist and still growing. Behind them are the cucumber trellises and the bush beans off to the right and the pole beans in the back.

The bush beans are just starting to put on beans

Beets that are ready to harvest and can

A growing watermelon

While this photo looks promising with the melons, this is another not so good part of the garden as just in the last few days, the cantaloupe plants made a dramatic change and nearly wilted away. We're still trying to figure out the cause to that one, and we're thinking it may be a soil borne disease.

A Lemon Yellow Squash

This photo is from last week and is the last of our blueberries. The plants are finished producing now, and the delicious berries either found their way into baked goods or are in the freezer waiting to be used.

Our poor strawberry bed . . . the plants had been doing so well and were tall, thick, and lush. But then a deer decided that the bed would make not just a good snack, but a good full course meal. :) Thankfully most of the plants are starting to rebound!

A few apples are growing! It's exciting that some of our young trees are starting to produce.

 A few of the peaches that the late frost spared us.

With all of the produce that has either reached maturity or is close to it, we'll be starting the first canning of the year this week!


  1. Everything looks prolific indeed, Sarah! Have fun doing the canning, preserving, etc. We still don't have a garden here in Texas, and I've been dreaming about the one we had in Michigan. I did do a fun experiment this weekend, though...we saved our watermelon rinds instead of throwing them out, and I made Watermelon Preserves! They turned out so delicious...tasted like Christmas in a jar!:-) We thoroughly enjoyed it on toast, and the leftover syrup will be awesome on pancakes!

    ~ Betsy

  2. Hi Sarah,

    It appears your garden is doing well this year. One of our neighbors 10 miles north of us nets her strawberries to keep the deer out.
    We planted fruit and nut trees this year. Seeing photos of your fruit trees producing brings me excitement to know that in a few years we will also enjoy homegrown fruits.
    Have a wonderful time canning with your family.

  3. Your garden looks awesome! I love the trellises. We have a few huge gardens, and it is always a battle to keep them weeded, so I can definitely appreciate all the work that must go into keeping your garden looking so nice. Also, your peaches look delicious! We had a prolific peach harvest last year, but unfortunately the frost did get our trees this year, nearly killing many of them....but we're getting a great raspberry crop!

  4. What produce! You have so much of so many vegetables. I wonder what you will be doing with it all? I am wondering what I'm going to do with the tomatoes that are coming on, I have never had such a heavy crop.
    I would love to know more about the Amish paste tomatoes,I've never heard of them.

  5. Your garden looks lovely, Miss Sarah! We, too, had a visit from a doe in our strawberry bed...before I had a chance to spray with the organic spray that I make. Thankfully, the berries were all she nibbled on...and, like yours, are starting to "come back". Looks like you will be very busy with canning and freezing this summer and fall...
    I always look forward to the harvest.
    Sweet blessings,
    Mrs. Laura

  6. Hello Sarah! Your garden looks wonderful. I just wish I could have a taste of all you have grown this summer! It's hard to keep a garden around here with the local animal population thinking it's a buffet line. So are we being selfish for NOT wanting to share with them? Well it has been enough for everyone so far so I shouldn't complain. Wishing you a wonderful and blessed weekend!

  7. Beautiful garden, Sarah! I admire your hard work :). I hope that it continues to produce well for you.

  8. It looks so lush and inviting. I know a mountain of work has produced this effort. Enjoy the fruits of the earth.

  9. Thank you, Betsy! And I certainly am. :) We’re doing more today with putting up corn that we got from someone at the farmer’s market and also freezing our beans and zucchini and if I have time, canning pickles, too.

    Maybe next year you’ll be able to have your first Texas garden!

    What a great idea to make Watermelon Rind Preserves. I was wanting to do something with our rinds this year, and I’ll give these a try!

  10. It is so far overall, Mrs. B, and I hope yours is as well!

    Netting the strawberries to keep deer out would be a good idea. We’ll be putting up an electric fence around ours so that will help.

    How exciting that you planted fruit and nut trees! Sometimes the wait can seem so long before they start producing, but it is very worth it. :) I hope your trees grow well for you . . . and quickly!

    Thank you, I am!

  11. Thank you, Bethany! Ah, yes, how well I can relate to the weed battle. :) One thing we started doing in recent years is mulching heavily with straw or old hay and it helps considerably in the amount of weeding. Right now, we’re not having to weed really at all!

    That must have been nice to have such a good peach crop last year, but disappointing this year. Here in Missouri, pretty much the entire peach crop was wiped out due to the frost. That is a blessing, though, that you are getting a good raspberry crop! Enjoy!

  12. That is a blessing that you are getting so many tomatoes, Elizabeth! It’s always better (to me anyway!) to have more than you know what to do with than not enough. :) Enjoy your delicious bounty!

    Much of our produce will be canned or frozen, and of course, we’re enjoying it fresh from the garden as well. And then whatever excess we have of things that we can’t can or freeze, we either give away, sell some at the farmer’s market, or give to the chickens.

    The Amish Paste tomatoes are a large, meaty tomato that work so well for tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, barbecue sauce, etc. Because of their meaty flesh and fewer seeds and less moisture content, it takes a lot less time and you get a lot more product for the amount of tomatoes!

  13. Thank you, Mrs. Laura! Sorry to hear that a deer visited your strawberry bed as well. At least it only nibbled. :) That’s great that the plants are starting to come back!

    Yes, it’s going to be a busy summer and fall of preserving . . . and a much enjoyed one. Enjoy your harvests!

  14. It was so nice to hear from you again, Angie! And thank you. :) If you lived closer, we’d be happy to share some of the produce with you so you could enjoy it, too!

    Your comment about the local animal population and the buffet line made me smile. A garden just seems like one big welcome sign to them, doesn’t it? I’m glad you’re still having enough for you even though they are enjoying the fruits of your labors, too. :)

    Thank you! I hope you had a wonderful and blessed weekend as well!

  15. It has been a fair bit of work, Suze! Though with all of the mulching, it is less than what it has been in previous years. Now most of our focus is just on either picking bugs or harvesting produce!

    Thank you! We are and will. :)

  16. Your garden is full of great-looking crops. It’s fantastic, and probably one of the best veggie gardens I’ve ever seen this year. Your gardening skills are quite superb! Perhaps, you could share some tricks and tips for some aspiring gardeners? Have a happy harvest!

    Gwendolyn Reyes @ Tapestry, NJ

  17. Thank you, Gwendolyn, for your kind comment! Gardening is a lot of fun to do. :)

    I am not really sure we have any tricks or tips other than mulch, mulch, mulch! That makes a significant difference in the appearance of the garden, the time it takes to maintain, and the disease problems, too!


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