Every Monday, I try to give you a weekend garden update so you can see the progress of our garden.
I was feeling a little smug and self-satisfied yesterday when I walked around the raised bed vegetable garden. Then, when I went to water last night, one of the sweet potato vines had mysteriously turned brown and died in less than 8 hours.
So much for feeling smug.
Weekend Garden Update
First, the vegetable garden looks great except for the aforementioned sweet potato vines. I’m thrilled with the progress of the tomatoes. Most of the labels fell of the darned things or became illegible form watering even though I used permanent marker. I have now have 7 varieties of tomatoes growing in my garden and darned if I can figure out exactly what’s what. I guess I’ll know from the tomatoes once they are mature!
I did plant:
- Tomato Black Krim
- Tomato Chocolate Taz
- Tomato Margolese
- Tomato Hungarian Paste (for future spaghetti sauce-making experiments!)
- Better Boy
- Early Girl
- Sweet 100s
The beans are flourish too, despite an infestation of white fly that would give my father conniption fits if he were still alive. He sprayed his garden religiously with malathion (cringe – I DO NOT suggest doing this!) to keep white flies at bay.
I just let them do their thing…we still get green beans.
I have Blue Lake bush green beans planted in two beds, and heirloom storage soup beans Jacob’s Cattle, a Virginia heirloom, tucked under the oak tree in the big bed.
The beets are growing strong and look to be ready to harvest in about two weeks. The onions are great, and the carrots are fine. The garlic is disappointing again. I haven’t had a great garlic harvest since the first year I grew it when Patty gave me some Italian elephant garlic. I need to try that again.
The strawberry crop this year was good, but not as good as last year. We had 4 cups of berries, enough to can 8 half-pints of jam. I’ll treasure every mouthful.
Outwitting the Bugs
I am growing acorn squash in two different places. My goal is to outwit the squash beetles which love my garden. Not only do they destroy the plants but they spread a fungal disease that kills off the plants.
I also have heirloom French melons similar to cantaloupes growing in the big bed along with the sweet potatoes. I planted fewer sweet potatoes and no white potatoes at all…although the ones I tossed into the compost pile are growing like weeds! I plan to just harvest them from the compost pile.
The interesting thing about the potatoes is that the ones in the compost pile are being ignored by the Colorado potato beetle. The potato beetles not only ate through the potato leaves but attacked the tomatoes,too. They’re easy enough to pick off with your fingers and dunk into soapy water, which kills them, but it’s a pain and time consuming and I don’t have the time.
Peppers and eggplants are still alive, and I even have some young peppers on the plants, so it’s all good.
Borage! Everything Old Is New Again
The big news from the weekend garden update is the borage. Have you ever heard of borage? I must have read about it in a magazine or book or something because when I saw it in the catalog this spring, I just had to have it.
The little blue flowers are edible and the leaves can be eaten raw, like lettuce, or cooked like other greens. Every book describes the flavor as ‘cucumber like’ but I nibbled on a flower this weekend and it was astonishing! Sweet like honey! No wonder the bees love it.
I’ve been clipping borage recipes from the internet….soup, salad, you name it. I can’t wait to try it. Very excited by this herb.
I lost all of the hyssop and Russian tarragon seedlings I had planted, so I put the remaining seeds into one bed. The parsnips still aren’t growing! I have had excellent results with parsnips before so I can’t quite figure out why the seeds aren’t germinating this year. Brand-new package of seeds, well-watered, good soil, warmth, well, they should be growing.
Ah well. As part of being a weekend garden update, I couldn’t leave you today without sharing this picture of my baby fig trees. We’re nurturing them along in pots; I have always wanted fig trees, and this year, I indulged and bought two. Baker Creek Heirloom seeds threw in an extra “Chicago Hardy” fig. Here’s to hope!
I hope you enjoyed this weekend garden update. Temperatures are soaring into the high 90s today so if you need me, I’ll be watering the garden. And watering it. And watering it some more….
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.