July 12, 2011

July Garden Inventory

I harvested the last of our onions today.  I have approximately two dozen small to medium bulbs drying on the back porch, and at least a dozen in left in the cupboard from earlier harvests.


I have three raised beds.  Two of them measure eight feet by four feet; the third is eight feet by three feet.  I also have some herbs in pots near the side of the house.

Currently growing in the pots I have lemon balm, spearmint, sage, lavender and chamomile.  The oregano that I expected to overwinter did not survive.  I've inter-planted some purple iceplant and sedum, and a couple nastritiums, which self-seeded from last year, are growing around the pots.

In Bed #1  I tried to plant a "Three Sisters" garden:  corn, beans and winter squash.  Apparently Native Americans grew these vegetables together.  The theory is that the corn provides the beans a place to climb, while the beans enrich the soil with nitrogen which benefits the corn and squash.  The squash grows along the ground providing a living mulch to retain moisture in the soil.

The corn is doing better than I've ever had corn do in our little beds.  There are one or two ears forming on almost every plant, and there are at least 40 plants.  This Sunday we harvested five ears of corn.  Maybe because the corn is doing so well, it's too shady underneath for the squash to grow(?).  For whatever reason, only two of the squash seeds have formed plants (I think I planted about 10 seeds).  A couple weeks after I planted the corn, I planted a Kentucky Wonder bean by each stalk, but at last count, I only saw three bean plants climbing the corn.  So far there is no sign of any actual green beans on any of the plants.

There is a lot of diversity in Bed #2: When we first planted it this spring we planted (from starts) a row of pansies and alyssum, a row of spinach, a row of chard, two rows of lettuces, a row of garlic chives, half a row of regular chives, half a row of cilantro, half a row of parsley and one more row of alyssum and pansies. There's a four-foot-square trellis in this garden; I devoted each side of the trellis to one thing.  I planted about 8-10 seeds of each: morning glories, musk melon (cantaloupe) and two varieties of cucumber.

A couple months later, the alyssum and pansies are doing well.  The spinach has been replaced by the morning glories which have climbed to the top of the eight-foot trellis.  The chard and the chives are still growing contentedly.  The cilantro bolted and I replaced it with newer cilantro plants, which are close to bolting themselves.  All but one of the parsley plants bolted;  I removed the bolted plants.  The lettuces served us well until it got too hot, but the cantaloupe that was supposed to take their growing area didn't even sprout. I've planted in their place one fennel plant and one celery plant (both I've never grown before), a Anahiem pepper and a watermelon plant. Three of our cucumber seeds have survived to attach themselves to the trellis, so I planted one more cucumber plant, a 'Straight 8'.  Potato plants (volunteers--I guess I didn't harvest the potatoes as thoroughly as I thought I had) are trying to take over half the garden, but I like potatoes, so that's okay with me.  I just hope they crowd out the chard, not the cucumbers.

In Bed #3, the 8'x3' bed that I just harvested the last of the onions from, there is a row of thyme, a couple pansies and some alyssum and three big squash plants.  I don't remember what kind of squash they are.  Today I transplanted four squash (?) plants that I found growing in the compost pile.  Maybe I should be worried about cross-pollination, but I'm not knowledgeable enough about that type of thing, so I am not going to worry about it.  Besides, even if I don't get anything edible from the plants I rather be looking at big beautiful leaves than dry dirt (which unfortunately tends to become a cat box in our neighborhood).

What's growing in your garden this summer?

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