June 2013 Garden Update

June Garden 2013

This year’s garden didn’t do as well as I’d hoped. I think the biggest mistake I made was to fill our raised beds with straight leaf mulch instead of mixing in soil. It looked so rich and composted, I thought it would do well. But it seems to have been lacking nutrients and minerals that plants would normally find in the soil. When these beds are cleaned up, I’ll mix in some dirt for next year’s garden.

As you scroll through my pictures you’ll notice a recurring theme: WEEDS. Yes, I know. They’re everywhere. Lord knows I try, but I just can’t keep up with them. I often tell myself that I think having some weeds helps. It does seem that some bugs are attracted to the weeds before they bother the plants, so maybe there’s something to leaving a few in. A girl can rationalize, can’t she?

Along the garden fence I have a few things planted. One day, I’d love to have lots of flowers lining the garden entrance.

Garden June 2013 Stevia

Here’s the Stevia. I harvested a bunch a few weeks ago, and dehydrated it to turn into a powder to sweeten baked goods with.

Garden June 2013 Catnip

This Catnip plant always comes back nicely. Catnip has the opposite effect on humans as it does on cats, and make a good sleepy-time tea.

Garden June 2013 Herbs

Here I’ve just potted up some mint and a little oregano. I have a different variety of oregano in my bigger herb bed, but I’ve mixed them up and don’t know which kind is which anymore.

June Garden 2013 Grapes

Last year I planted grape vines along the garden fence, thinking I could train them to sprawl along the top. But I’m afraid they’re going to get too heavy for the fence we have here, so I’ll be moving this vine to our grape trellis in Fall, when the grapes are done producing for the year.

garden june 2013 celery

Here are some of the celery plants I started from seed and potted up. I also have two raised beds in the front yard full of them. The stalks are very small though. I’m not sure if I let them grow longer if they’ll get bigger, or if they’ll just go to seed. We’ll see. I might even let them go to seed on purpose because I use celery seed in several recipes. The kids and I have cut a stalk of celery here and there, but they’ve been pretty bitter. Too much sun, maybe? This is my first year growing celery so I’m still experimenting with it.

June Garden Tomatoes 2013

My tomatoes are looking pretty good. If you look closely, you might see the little green tomatoes growing in there.

June Garden Onions 2013

My onion bed is looking good. The other day I was cooking dinner, and I needed an onion. I looked in the fridge and pantry, but I couldn’t find any fresh onions. My first instinct was to call my husband and ask him to pick some onions up from the store on his way home, but then I remembered… I’ve got a bazillion onions in the garden! It was so great to be able to just walk out there and pull up what I needed. It’s funny how old habits die hard.

garden june 2013 cabbage

The cabbage in the raised beds didn’t do nearly as well as the cabbage I planted along the fence in the front yard. Again, I think the leaf mulch was the culprit. The cabbage worms have finally found their way to my little cabbage heads. I’ll be harvesting these guys today to put up before they’re completely destroyed.

garden june 2013 cabbage head

garden june 2013 green beans

We planted our green beans about a week or so ago… late in the season… so they’re just coming up. This was the broccoli bed, but the broccoli didn’t make it so I figured I’d fill the space with something else. Before I planted the beans, I mixed in a good amount of soil and compost to go with the leaf mulch. Hopefully these plants will do better.

garden june 2013 mustard

I planted the mustard specifically to let it go to seed. I use mustard seed in pickles and salad dressing, so I wanted to experiment with growing the seeds myself. I’ve been picking the lower leaves to give to the chickens. I haven’t found a way to eat mustard greens that I like yet.

garden june 2013 Dill

A little bit of fresh dill growing.

garden june 2013 cucumbers

The sugar snap peas have pretty much finished up, and cucumbers are now taking their place on the trellis.

garden june 2013 carrots

The carrots did awful! I had such high hopes, too. I planted several different varieties, but again, the leaf mulch was a bad choice. We have very few carrots coming in. At least it’ll be fun as we harvest them to see what colors we get.

garden june 2013 peppers

The pepper plants are scrawny. But they’re blooming, so maybe I’ll still get some peppers after all!

garden june 2013 Squash

The squash plants are super tiny also. But it looks like we’ll still get some squash from them, so we’ll see!

garden june 2013 purslane

The kids planted the watermelon bed, but purslane has pretty much overtaken it. Since learning what a super food purslane is, though, we’ve of course welcomed it to harvest with our other garden produce.

garden june 2013 white grapes

We’re getting our first white grapes. That’s exciting!

garden june 2013 tomatillos

Here among the weeds are tons of blooming tomatillos. I’ve never grown them before either, so I’m anxious to taste them.

garden june 2013 raspberries

Oh, and our raspberries are starting to ripen! The kids have had fun digging through the branches to find red berries. They don’t seem to mind the thorns too much.

I did plant a little bit of corn, but it isn’t coming in yet. So that’s pretty much it for the garden right now.

How has your garden done this year? Learn anything new along the way?

27 thoughts on “June 2013 Garden Update”

  1. I have an organic cure for your “cabbage loopers”. They are the worms that love cabbage. Make garlic tea!
    Use 3 garlic pods. Peel them, and add them to a blender with 2 cups of water. Blend until very fine. Strain your “tea” through a coffee filter. You now have your tea concentrate. Add 1/4 cup of concentrate to 2 cups of water and pour in a sprayer. Liberally spray your plants. Bugs hate garlic. All of them! I have found the tea works even after rain. Keep your concentrate refrigerated. Use as needed. For a little extra kick, you can add fresh jalapeΓ±os to your concentrate.

    Save the cabbages!

  2. Hello,
    Nice garden!!! mine didn’t grow much this year either!! My brocoli is taking up A LOT of space but not producing any buds yet… we shall see.

    I was wondering where you got your stevia plant? I would love to get some for garden too…

    Good luck for the end of the season.


  3. We made a bigger garden area this year, and we planted alot more (variety)than we have in the past. I have decided to stick to planting items that grow in abundance and we eat alot of in the future. For instance, the “three sisters” which is corn, beans and squash. This would make the area we have much more efficient. I would also plant tomatoes and cucumbers because we eat alot of them, but then maybe 1 or 2 “fun” itmes like melon or vine peach. Right now, the garden is just too overwhelming for me. We have too much going on and most of the items I’ve never grown before. Oh, and the weeds? Forgetaboutit! We have the fruits we like to eat (cherries,concord grapes, pears, plums, red raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries) getting established for the past few years, but the garden is just too overwhelming for me this year. Time to keep it simple! πŸ™‚

    • Meg,

      I TOTALLY know what you mean. I’ve been bad about planting a bunch of stuff we never even eat, just to see if we can grow it. Then I don’t know how to even use it, lol. I need to focus on planting a lot of the basics instead of a little bit of a lot of stuff that we might not even like. Sounds like you’ve got a nice variety of perennials planted. Great job!

  4. Celery will get much bigger than that. typically I don’t eat it as stalks but use it in chicken stock wow adds so much more flavor than store bought — i’ll never go back (tip: dry some for the winter in the sun). But you can blanch it with dirt or newspaper to tenderize it…much like grass in the yard if you leave something on it too long.

    Also, celery is related to the carrot and parsley (etc.) family of plants which are biennials. Therefore you won’t see seeds from this year but maybe next year if it survives the winter.

  5. You said you were having some trouble with your celery? Celery needs LOTS of water kind of like watermelon. My hubby and I noticed that when we watered our celery a lot, we got good harvest, when we didn’t the stalks were scrawny. Your garden looks a heck of a lot better then ours right now!! It’s our first year in our new home so we are still getting a feel for the dirt and what’s going to do well and not so well so we’ll see what we get!

  6. I’m sorry to hear about your trouble with your raised beds, but am glad you posted about it b/c I have had the same issue. Half my stuff has died and the other either bolted or is so tiny I can’t believe it hasn’t died. I put a thin layer of topsoil on mine and still didn’t help. So when everything officially dies (I still can’t bear to kill what’s left even if it won’t grow…lol) I am going to mix in some green mulch and let it break down over the winter and try again.

  7. Your garden looks great. We had a wonderful garden, best we had had in years. On Saturday, our neighbor hired someone to spray his beans. The wind was blowing strong from the southwest and our entire place got spray drift. It killed all my hard worked in garden. πŸ™ These were heirloom seeds that we were growing organically. I am so sad. Waiting to hear what they will do about this. I hope you get many blessings from your garden.

  8. Have you seen “Back to Eden”? You can watch it on backtoedenfilm.com for free. Our family has seen it several times and started making changes to our gardening last year. It’s going to take a while to get the amazing results, but it will be worth it! We’re already seeing drastic changes for the good!

  9. So much work in your huge garden! Maybe you could make a drawing of your garden and label plants on the drawing to know what’s what. I’m sorry to see your garden isn’t doing as well as you had expected. Learning by experience takes time but are the best remembered lessons by me.

    After reading your post on purslane, I see it everywhere in our yard. I can even recognize it when it’s mowed down!

    I had a cup of catnip tea and all our cats sat around me watching me while I drank it. πŸ™‚

  10. Hi Kendra,

    This year I decided not to weed instead when I started seeing the little pests I layed down cardboard (cereal boxes ect.) and newspaper on top of them and then put mulch (you could use leaf mulch this way) on top of that. It has cut way down on my weeding time and has the added benefit of continuing to compost as it inhibits the weeds and also it contains the moisture underneath. If your mulch is “hot” just keep it from touching the leaves of the plants. There is still work involved I guess but I would rather lay newspaper down than weed any day! The kids can help too!

    Also, have you thought about Diatomaceous earth to keep the cabbage worms at bay? Google it.

    Thanks for keeping your site up and running! It provides the extra encouragement when I feel like giving up!

  11. This year (going into my fourth year of gardening) started off pretty good. I was able to grow some salad greens and two kinds of peas in our greenhouse. I also started some potatoes, beets and carrots. In the garden I had garlic from the fall planting, it didn’t come up so well…then after my husband roto-tilled the rest I put in three kinds of potatoes, three kinds of onions, radishes and carrots as their companion plants, three or four hills of melons, pole beans with marigolds and lettuce as their companion plants, then I put in a row of sunflowers, cucumbers, nasturtiums, and peas all together as companion plants. We purchased garbanzo beans that were suitable for a cooler climate and they have not come up yet. My sister-in-law started too many tomatoes and I ended up with sixteen regular plants and two cherry tomatoes, everything was going well until this week…the ANNOYING happened…Hail πŸ™ I mean, this was the worst case of hail I have ever witnessed. I took a walk outside afterwards in my bare feet and I almost went back into the house to get shoes because the cold was hurting my feet. Everything on my property took a beating. I think the most damaged was the melons. I only have one of those left. But what can ya do? That’s just the weather.

  12. Everything looks great! We planted tomatillos 2 years ago and the bloomed beautifully , we had 3 plants but when we peeled the outer protective paper like cover off there was no fruit! I prefer tomatillo salsa to tomato salsa. So I stuck buying them from the grocery store still

  13. Kendra, we have the same problem in some of our raised beds this year. We made a lot of new beds and filled them with mulch that we got free from our county landfill. Well, it wasn’t composted down nearly enough to grow anything. Our crops are still alive, but they sure aren’t producing much. The older beds are producing much better. Does your local landfill give away mulch/compost? If so, that might go great with the leaf mulch that you already have. We are going to try to mix in some more manure, leaf mulch and compost so maybe our beds will be more productive next year. You are so right when you advise folks to start gardening NOW, even if it’s just a small start. It takes lots of time to build up your skills and your dirt! This is our second year at this property and our sixth year all together and I’m thankful we don’t have to live off of what we grow or we would be in trouble!

    • Elisha,

      We got our leaf mulch from the county for free as well. It really is a great resource! My husband has gotten truckloads of manure from local stables as well, for free. It’s just a matter of having the time to go! The thing with that, though, is to make sure you let the chickens scratch it up REALLY well, and peck out all of the weed seeds, or you’ll be in real trouble come Spring! We also get free woodchips from a tree trimming service, which I’ve been mulching with, and plan to mulch in between our beds with eventually. You’re right, it does take a long time to build the soil up to a good, rich resource. I’m glad we don’t depend on ours either, lol! We’d be in a world of trouble πŸ˜‰

  14. Wow, I think it looks beautiful, so green! I love your markers for the beds as well, very cute! ..I swear, one day I’ll have a garden too, lol* Haven’t gardened this year again (besides a few potted plants, which didn’t do so well –> lack of care? too much heat + humidity??) By the way, I had no idea that humans can eat catnip!!! πŸ™‚


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