Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Early June Garden Update - Part I

I took this picture shortly after 8:00 PM today. A storm front is moving across our area tonight and tornado warnings have popped up in several parts of the state. Though not as dramatic on film, the approaching clouds have cast a strange yellow glow over everything outside. It was quite remarkable actually.

In this picture, you also get a better sense of how our gardens are laid out. The large maple tree on the left casts a huge shadow over much of yard during the morning hours, and as a result, the side garden (bottom right) gets only about 5 hours of full sunlight a day. My leafy vegetables, legumes, root crops and alliums seem to do fine under these conditions but I grow most (if not all) of my tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, corn and melons in the back garden, which gets full sun throughout most of the day. I'm sure all of us would wish for more sunlight in our gardens (at least I do). Thankfully, it seems all is not lost in part-shade.

Anyway, I thought I'd do an update on how things are growing at the moment. Looking at these pictures, the garden looks rather bare compared to this time last year. Hopefully that will change soon. In no particular order:

Yes! We now have mini-crowns of broccoli. This particular variety is called 'Bonanza', which I grew for the first time last fall. I've been pleased with it so far as it's relatively early to mature and produces plenty of side-shoots. We'll see how it performs in the summer heat.

Hopefully this one will be ready to cut in a week or two.

Despite the cooler than average temperatures of May, my green soybeans (edamame, 'Envy') germinated relatively well - at about 75%. The garden pests went crazy for them last year so I may have to cover them with some netting or row cover this time around.

My bush beans ('Contender' and 'Dragon's Tongue') germinated at about 65%. Some of them emerged from the soil rather mangled-looking. As a result, I had to pull those up and re-sow the bare spots. Beans have never performed well for me. Hopefully that will change since I'm growing a lot more this year.

Since taking this picture, the shell and snow peas have begun to flower. Better late than never I guess. On a high note, it looks like the wire trellis I put up is working out well.

My long beans have taken root and are starting to grow again. I was a bit nervous since beans tend not to transplant well. I wonder how long it will take for them to climb atop the hoop house frame.

It seems to be another good year for garlic. The stalks are tall and fat with no signs of rust thus far despite the mild and wet weather we've had. (I've become obsessed with homegrown garlic so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.)

Finally, I first noticed this little guy last summer. He's about 3 times the size now. I'm not quite sure where he came from but glad that he found a nice place to hibernate during this past winter and decided to stick around. Hopefully he'll find mate and eat his weight in slugs every day.


  1. your broccoli plants are picture perfect!

  2. My long beans succumbed to the cold and I didn't have more seed. So I'll wait until next year. I love your cute toad. I used to get them at my last garden, but haven't seen any around the new one.

  3. That sky IS ominous. We had hail out here, how about you? I have to compliment you on your LUSH spring garden. Everything looks healthy and productive (including Jonathan and his radish bouquet for Grandma)!

  4. Keep an eye on those bean seedlings - the birds will get my edamame at that stage every time if I don't put netting over them. They yank up the plant, grab what's left of the seed, leaving little bean tops strewn about! I find that once they have their 2nd set of leaves they leave them alone. Everythiing looks great, hope the tornado last night wasn't near you...

  5. Hope you didn't have the bad weather that I saw on tv! Your garden looks great, and the little frog is so cute. We are enlarging our pond so the six frogs we have living there should be happier. Have a great gardening day!

  6. Your garden looks so perfect from the picture.
    I had very poor germination with the edamame and the beans. They also emerged mutilated or rotten. I seeded in a new spot after the rain and those emerged just great.

    Through your past posts, you have made me curious about fresh garlic so I planted it for the first time. Mine also looks pretty good.

  7. Thanks for your comments everyone!

    Leslie - we had hail as well but only briefly. Thankfully, it didn't do any damage in the garden.

  8. Your snow peas look awesome! I can't wait for mine to start flowering. The flowers are so pretty.

  9. It all looks so wonderful! I can see the yellow glow in that photo, it reminds me of the time that we had a grass fire in the neighborhood and the smoke made everything look orange - very weird. I wish my garlic looked one quarter as green and healthy as yours. :-(

  10. The garden toad is a treasure - keep him protected! Fun to have around too!

    The garden is looking great Thomas. Our broccoli is coming along right behind yours - also forming crowns but not quite as big as yours are. Also a good garlic year again here too.

    You and I suffer through the same challenges of sun exposure. My side garden area only get's about 5 hours of full sun a day - so I grow the less sun demanding crops in that part of the garden and reserve my back area and the greenhouse for the sun lovers.

  11. What a handsome toad you have there.

    At your (and Erin's) suggestion I picked up a packet of long beans to try. I had to put up some netting around all of my peas and beans. My Travis used to spend his days patrolling the area, and his loss has made the rodents feel right at home in the garden. Even the chipmunk population in the yard has exploded.

  12. Your garden look so neat and lush, I can't keep up with you, I enjoy looking at your garden pictures as usual.

  13. Wow... dang..... those are garlics? When I saw the picture, I thought "his corns are that big already?". What kind of magic do you put in your soil... I want to know your secret! My garlics are pathetic this year, because the irrigation system wasn't working right and I didn't know. Now I feel even worse. ;(