The July vegetable garden brings change in that early cool season crops are being replaced by late season crops. Every time one plant finishes another seed or seedling gets planted. Where garlic came out, other crops have been sown and are already on their way up. How is your vegetable garden doing this year? Mine is doing okay, some plants better than others which is expected after such a cold wet spring. It’s like everything sat and sulked after planting out in May. The plants didn’t like the cooler weather so they went on strike for awhile.
I found that once the warm weather arrived most plants started growing well. The cucamelon plants I started from seed were ones that sat and waited for things to warm up. Now the vines are five feet high and producing the first cucamelons. Cucamelons are a miniature cucumber that is picked when it’s the size of a grape. It’s a bit of a novelty vegetable that I grow to enjoy in salads or munch on when I’m in the garden. Since my garden is a working garden, I am also growing the cucamelons for their seeds. I will have seeds for sale again in the fall.
The cucamelons take up little space as they like to grow up a support as seen at the end of this raised bed. The vines are very light and great for small gardens.The corn is taller than I expected this year and I hope to keep the raccoons from stealing the cobs. I know, good luck with that. Not sure why I thought planting corn in a raised bed that is already 20″ high was a good idea. I may need a ladder to harvest it. At this point I don’t have tassels yet. The corn is underplanted with beans, zucchini and cucumbers. The first cucumbers are starting to form so I hope I get enough to make more of my million dollar relish this summer. I grew two zucchini plants called ‘Ambassador’ this year which produce all of their fruit at the center of the plant. It only grows to about four feet across so it’s also a great plant for small gardens.
I have two raised beds of tomato plants which are doing well. Last year I was harvesting tomatoes at the end of June but this year the tomatoes are still green. Each plant has lots of fruit so I will be patient as it will probably all ripen at once. So far the only colour I can see is on Tomato ‘Indigo Rose’.
The garlic that was harvested at the beginning of July is laying on plant trays in the gazebo. Why the gazebo? Garlic needs a dry shaded area to cure. Curing the garlic takes several weeks. The garlic is carefully lifted and soil gently shaken off the roots. It’s then either laid out or hung to dry so the moisture leaves the stems and each layer of paper on the outside of the garlic can harden up. Every couple of days I rotate each stem to make sure they are getting good air circulation. Once the stems have yellowed I will be able to remove them and do some more cleaning up of the garlic. I was talking about my garlic last week while on a group walk and the person next to me was surprised at how much work was done to garlic before it went to the stores. The work in cleaning up and curing garlic is not hard but it takes time.
This summer I am growing out miniature pepper seeds and so far it looks like they love their new location near the greenhouse. Hopefully I will get a mix of coloured peppers from this seed trial. I use this pepper for freezing for use in winter meals.
This weekend the last of the potatoes will come out. I am waiting for my three year old grandson to come help. He loves to dig and wait until he sees what is under the soil. I keep telling him I need his help so it should be a fun day. Once the potatoes are up, I have a couple flats of seedlings to go in. So far I have walla walla onions, turnips, kale, spinach, beets and cauliflower ready to go in the garden. I will have two or three raised beds set aside for growing vegetables over the winter so it’s important that they be fairly close to the house. No more walking out in deeper than my boots snow to harvest for me. This year I will use the two raised beds near the greenhouse and one that is in the side yard. These are the raised beds that get the most of the winter sun which is crucial for growth.