Today we end the month of June as being the driest month on record. I can attest to that. Its been tough to work in the garden. I find myself enjoying early mornings or later in the evening to work in the garden. Since the beginning of June, farmer Jim and I have been building the kitchen garden and getting it planted. I have to say the plants are doing amazingly well.
I started three different kinds of peppers and the miniature peppers are starting to show up now. I see salsa in my future.
Remember all the basil I grew? I need to harvest. You can see that flowers are about to form and we don’t want that. Basil needs to be pinched regularly to prevent flowering. Pinching encourages side shoots to form and that means more leaves for cooking. To pinch the basil, I snip with scissors or pinch with two fingers above a set of leaves. I could easily remove the two top sets of leaves off these plants. Remember to pick your basil as you need it as it doesn’t keep very long.
I have red tomatoes! Yes, We have harvested about three small tomatoes so far and its only June. The plant above is one of my mystery tomatoes. It’s a Sungold but it doesn’t have the typical potato leaf that it should. I must say that this flat of tomatoes produced the earliest tomatoes. I couldn’t toss them all into the compost. I am growing a few out to see if they are worth keeping for seed.
I am still trying to think of a unique way to mark the tomato plants. The plastic markers tend to fade in the sun. I temporarily placed rocks, with the names of the tomato on them, in the beds. The only issue with this is anyone could switch the rocks around. Since I grow tomatoes for a seed bank, I need to know which tomato is which.
The cucumbers are thriving in the new kitchen garden. On the far left are plants I started from direct sowing in the first week of June. The two rows on the right were transplants I started in the greenhouse. I figure by the end of this week both sets of plants will be the same size. They are struggling with the heat so I have to be sure this bed gets enough water.
In between each row of cucumbers I planted Alyssum. It’s hard to see but more seeds are germinating and I hope to have a lovely bloom between each row of cucumbers. Alyssum is a good plant to use to attract pollinators to the garden. This should ensure I get a good harvest this summer.
The red Marigolds are planted at the end of the pepper bed. Look how bushy they are! I used Marigolds around a few of the raised beds. What I have found this month is they seem to attract wasps. Now wasps are not the best pollinators nor are they very friendly. They may also be checking out the new wood. Some wasps harvest wood for their nests.
Over the last few days we shovelled a few more yards of soil and rock. I had a wagon full of Dahlias in containers waiting for a spot in the garden. This area gets full sun all day. In the cool of the evening I planted nineteen Dahlias in front of the kitchen garden. The forecast was for more hot weather. I know better than to plant at this time of year. I was taking a chance. Thanks to mother nature, clouds rolled in and we had a light rain. The Dahlias didn’t even flinch a leaf when the sun returned.
I had to go out the next day and left farmer Jim working on the edges of the garden. This is what I came home to see. The decor rock was filled in and more bricks were laid. We will have to get a few bricks cut to fit the angle at the front but the rest will pop in easily. We will continue to work at the back of the garden and the side along the fence. I worried about the tent causing too much shade for the tomatoes. Fortunately its protecting them from the sun this week. Tomatoes drop their flowers when temperatures get this warm. They grow best when temperatures are between 14C-24C. Higher temperatures cause the tomato flowers to fall off so you get no fruit set. There seems to be no rain in the near future so I am still looking at using hay or straw as mulch in the garden.