Technically, it's the end of July, but since many of these photos were taken last week, I'll let the Mid-July heading stand ;-)
This year I was super late with the carrots. I was originally going to try two sowings, but one will have to do. My spring sown carrots last year really weren't the sweetest, so this will be a good comparison as they will all be maturing in the cooler fall weather.
The carrots were sown on June 29 and they took less than a week to germinate. I direct sowed the carrots instead of using Granny’s seed mats like I normally do, just because I needed to get these in the ground quickly. Once the seeds had germinated, I removed the Agribon (which I used to cover the bed so that the soil stays moist) and I sprinkled the bed with diatomaceous earth. A couple of years ago, I lost all of my summer sown carrots to slugs and I didn’t want a repeat of that this year.
|Carrots - 4 weeks|
I’ve already done the first round of thinning, but there is still much more to go...this is a definite drawback of not using the seed mats. I’m growing 6 varieties this year – Mokum, Scarlet Nantes*, Chantenay Red Core*, Sprint, Amsterdam Maxi & Napoli. I grew these (*) last year in the spring and it will be interesting to see if their flavour is better when grown as fall carrots.
Next is my fava bean/bush bean & pea bed. I used a cattle panel trellis for the sugar snap peas this time round and it worked incredibly well.
|Peas on the right side of the trellis; Ianto's favas on the left.|
Last year I had issues with the pea trellises...they were completely inadequate, even for the bush peas. When I purchased the cattle panel, it came in an 8' length, which was much too high, especially considering that the beds already elevate the garden by 11". So I cut off about 18" from the panel & used these cutoffs for the bush shelling peas, which worked quite well.
|Bush Shelling Peas|
The Ianto’s, a later maturing variety, are loaded with pods, although they look as if they only hold a couple of beans each. I’ll hopefully be picking those in about a week or two.
|Bush Snap Beans (right); Extra Precoce Violetto Favas (right)|
|Bean bed in mid-June|
You can probably tell that I messed up when I planned this bed. Having never grown favas before, I didn’t really think about how tall this shorter variety would grow. The favas are at the end of the bed and now they are essentially shading out the bush beans for a chunk of the day. You can see how this would have been an issue in the photo above. The situation should improve in a couple of weeks or so, once this last flush of favas is done & I pull the plants. Hopefully, it’s not too late by then.
The next bed contained the shelling peas (pictured above, which are now ripped out) & currently holds the cucumbers & two varieties of squash - Tromboncino & Romanesco. The cucumbers have already given us a few fruits, even though the plants have only just started to climb.
This parthenocarpic variety has slight swelling on one end,
which is the undesirable result of pollination
This heirloom variety does require pollination, which was obviously successful
The Tromboncino squash was only sown on June 26. This was my favourite variety of squash last year (even though I didn’t get very many squash) – I loved the flavour and the texture. So I really can’t believe that I completely forgot to sow them this time round, which is why they ended up in the ground so late.
|Tromboncino Squash - 4 weeks|
|Romanesco Squash - 2 weeks|
|Giant Grey Stripe Sunflowers|
|Sunflowers in kids bed|
Speaking of ripping out the peas, last year, I used a granular inoculant on all of the pea & bean seeds. But when I examined their roots at the end of the season, I saw very few nitrogen fixing nodules. This time round, I purchased the typical inoculant powder & the difference was obvious:
|Nodules on Shelling Pea Roots|
Next up is the shallot & garlic bed. The shallots were harvested a couple of weeks ago and the garlic just came out yesterday. Looks like this time round, I actually harvested the garlic at the right time. Last year, I pulled it when only 2 of the bottom leaves turned brown & found that the bulbs had not filled out the skins properly as the outer skins were loose. This year, I waited until the bottom 3-4 leaves turned brown & the bulbs were nicely filled out with tight skins. You'll have to wait until Harvest Monday for the big reveal ;)
|Garlic Bed on July 24th|
|Bed #8 (view facing north)|
|Bed # 8 (view facing south)|
|These greens grew very well in the spring, but now growth is down to a crawl.|
The yellowing leaves are likely also an indication of low light
I planted the sweet potato slips into a large metal bin but they are not doing as well as I had hoped. I think I placed the bin a bit too close to the wooden fence & it was shaded for part of the day.
Looking nice but nowhere near as large as I would have liked
A volunteer borage plant came up right in front of the onion bed & I just let it do it's thing as it wasn't really in the way:
|You want to see a bee? Head for the borage!|
|Lettuce bed before the final harvest last week|
|Fordhook & Peppermint Chard|
Last year, when the chard was in the shady bed #8, it's growth slowed considerably in mid-summer. I had attributed that to lack of nutrients as I had not fertilized it since I transplanted it into the bed. Now I realize that lack of sunlight was the likely cause.
And last, but certainly not least, the plum tree. Looks like I will actually be getting some plums this year! Some of the trees VERY long branches have leaned over with the weight of all the plums (now I have a better idea on how I'll be pruning this tree come spring):
|5-in-1 Plum Tree|
Till next time…