Garden Journal: July 8th, 2022

Welcome to another garden journal! I so enjoy putting these together. It is a wonderful excuse to take a stroll through my garden with the camera and appreciate the progress that has been made throughout the season. I have a feeling these journals will be especially helpful next winter as I cozy up with a seed catalog and make my garden plan. I’ve always intended to keep a garden journal, but it is usually haphazard at best, and not all that helpful. Anyone else? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks if you have any, because really I am a pen and paper kind of gal at heart. But I hope you’ll enjoy getting a little peek into my garden today, even if only digitally.

Buttercrunch lettuce

We’ll start in the container garden. If you’ve been hanging out here lately, you’ll already know my love for buttercrunch lettuce. I realize lettuce doesn’t sound all that exciting, but look at this beauty! I usually just grow lettuce in a cut-and-come-again kind of fashion, but buttercrunch has me sold on growing head lettuce. I want rows and rows of those neat, frilly heads. The only problem is I don’t want to harvest it. It is too beautiful!

Marvel of Four Seasons

I have, however, been harvesting lots from my head of Marvel of Four Seasons lettuce. It looks like it’s trying to bolt. I am surprised that the buttercrunch has held up longer in the heat. I just sowed some more seeds in this container to try for a fall harvest. I also threw an extra tomato start in this container since I knew the lettuce was on it’s way out, so its a bit of a mash up.

Strawberries

I bought a couple of strawberry plants this year and threw them in some old hanging baskets I had laying around. Usually the birds get to the ruby red fruit before I do, so I’ve been placing a mesh bag around the berries when they start to ripen. This has worked brilliantly! We’ve been able to harvest lots of little strawberries already, and it is quite rewarding.

Rainbow Lights Swiss Chard

I don’t love the flavor of swiss chard but my goodness she sure is lovely. I grow it because it is easy to grow, is slower to bolt than other greens, and brings a nice dose of color to container gardens.

French breakfast radishes, bolting

My french breakfast radishes are on their way out and starting to bolt. The handful that we harvested were quite spicy, so I’m going to let the rest go to seed, and maybe save some seed for next year. Did you know that the seed pods are edible? I’m excited to give them a try.

Cilantro (going to seed), chives, purple basil, sweet basil, and thyme

This herb container has been a highlight of my garden this year. It’s right outside my door, and not only is it super convenient to come grab a handful of herbs for dinner, it is also so beautiful and literally spilling over with life. It makes me very happy, and is the most successful herb garden I’ve ever had.

The cilantro is on it’s way out, but it was so prolific and we got several good harvests from it. I’ve sown some more in it’s place, but it can be tricky to germinate cilantro in the hotter months. I may try again for a fall harvest. I’d really like to save some of the seeds for next year, and to grind up and cook with! At least here in the States, we call the leaves cilantro and the seeds coriander, but I believe that differs in other places.

The thyme is slowly taking over, and I’m allowing it because it’s just so lovely. And my basil is also doing better than ever! All of these basil plants are ones that I water propagated! I’m trying a second sowing of basil seeds to see if I can extend the harvest, and I’m curious to see how the direct sown plants compare to these. I’ve always struggled to grow basil, and it’s one of my favorite herbs, so I’m very pleased to see it doing so well.

I’ve got some dill just starting to grow in the back, and an empty spot or two I need to tuck something in. Maybe just more cilantro and basil, because that is what we use the most.

On to the raised beds!

Snow peas, sweet peas, nasturtiums, and determinate tomatoes

This first bed is definitely looking the best of the three, and I’m super happy with how everything is looking! I have four determinate tomatoes in this bed, at least two of them are Martino’s Roma and the other two I’m not completely sure on the variety, except that they are romas. I put in some peas and sweet peas because my peas weren’t doing well in the first spot I put them. Then I added a couple of nasturtiums and a lemon gem marigold. The flowers are mostly just to fill the gaps and cover the soil, but these flowers can be beneficial as well. Not only do flowers attract bees and other pollinators, they are also known to prevent certain pests that may harm tomato plants. For me, the garden is every bit as much for beauty and joy and pleasure as it is for nourishment. So I plant flowers wherever I possibly can.

Lemon Gem Marigold

Lemon Gem Marigolds smell oh so delicious. It is a herbaceous scent, similar to tomato and mint leaves, but with a hint of lemon. I love to run my hand along this plant as I check on the garden. I’ve never been super excited about marigolds, but the sweet, small flowers on this one have been a delight.

Peach Melba Nasturtium

So excited to see my nasturtiums looking so healthy. I direct sowed them maybe a month or so ago, just a couple weeks after our last frost. I only got a couple of blooms last year, but they were insanely gorgeous. The blooms and leaves are also edible! Planting these anywhere I can.

Sad snow peas, indeterminate tomatoes

Sadly, my other raised beds are not looking as happy as the first. This one in particular is stumping me, because I did everything the same in this one as I did on the first. If you have ideas or suggestions I would welcome them!

In this bed I have four indeterminate tomato plants, staked in cages and pruned to a single stem. I have a Pruden’s Purple, Pink Brandywine, Sungold, and Yellow Pear. I also have some Oregon Sugar Pod snow peas I sowed in the spring and transplanted, along with some sweet peas I sowed about a month ago.

The peas have never really thrived, I’m about to pull them out. We did get a handful of peas to snack on, but not a whole lot. I could understand why they are struggling since they were transplanted. But the sweet peas don’t look great either. They germinated just fine but now they look stunted and have all but stopped growing.

And my indeterminate tomatoes are concerning me. The top leaves are extremely curled and twisted. I’ve never had problems like this with my tomatoes, and two of these are varieties I’ve grown with great success. I’m not really sure what to do. The plants are still growing, and they’ve started to flower and set fruit. The internet says extreme heat or inconsistent watering could cause curled leaves, but from what I can tell I don’t think that is the issue. My plan at the moment is to wait and see if they’re able to set some fruit here soon, and have some plants ready to put in their place if not. Maybe I’ll plant some marigolds in this bed too!

Sungold, starting to set fruit
Cucumbers, various peppers, zucchini, and an eggplant

The third bed is really quite the mess. I’m pretty sure my peppers and eggplant are stunted, and I’m not super confident that they’ll be able to set fruit. They’re just starting to put out flowers though, so I want to give them a fair shot. I think it’s just not warm enough for them to thrive here! Our nighttime temps are still hovering around 50, which is not ideal. The one year I was successful with peppers, I was growing on a south facing balcony three stories up. It got extremely hot up there, and I’m pretty sure the cement stayed warm through the night. Shy of that, I think I’d need a greenhouse for them to thrive. I also ran out of compost before top dressing this last bed, then never got around to getting some more. I should probably get on that and see if it helps.

I had planned to plant cucumbers in with the peppers, and so far they are looking great! I also threw a few squash seeds in here, just to be sure this bed didn’t completely go to waste if my peppers didn’t thrive. Now it’s a bit in limbo, because soon these squash are going to overcrowd the peppers. So I’ll probably end up having to move or pull out something soon.

Stunted peppers and eggplant, squash trying to bully its way through
Spacemaster cucumber, star of the third raised bed
Black Hollyhock

This stunning black hollyhock was the most wonderful surprise. She re-seeded herself near my flower bed from my neighbor’s plants all the way across the alleyway! Plants are so rad, guys. They WANT to grow. They want to thrive. Just so thankful and in awe of this lovely gift.

Sunflower
Green Envy Zinnia, this one looks promising

The flower garden is a bit of a work in progress, although the sunflowers are flourishing and climbing higher everyday. The rest of the seedlings seem to be a bit slow moving. I am so anxious to be able to harvest my own bouquets for my kitchen table! Really hoping this area has time to fill in before the end of the season. But if nothing else, I will have sunflowers.

Sedum “Autumn Fire”

This sedum is getting attacked by tiny black bugs. It met an untimely death last season because of aphids. Any tips for me? I’ve been spraying it off with the hose but it doesn’t seem to knock all of them off. Would really like for it to stay alive long enough to bloom this year!

Frostkiss Penny’s Pink Hellebore

Goodness I love the foliage on this hellebore. The blooms are faded but the plant is still looking so lovely.

The perennial garden

Here is a wider view of my perennial garden. I added in a fern and the hellebores I had in containers before. It’s definitely starting to fill out now that the plants are coming in to their own, but it’s definitely missing something. I’m thinking more color, but maybe some height? Structure? Let me know what you think. Designing a bed like this is brand new for me, and I didn’t really go into it with a plan. I’ve just been adding plants slowly as I find something I love. Hoping by the end of this season I’ll have a clearer direction on where to take it next year.

Shadowland ‘Diamond Lake’ Hosta

These hostas are really taking off! Loving the texture and color they bring.

August Moon Hosta

Look at those sweet heart shaped leaves!

Thank you for stopping by my little garden today, I so enjoyed your company. This is the time of year I daydream about on the long, cold, winter days. Strolling through the garden in the morning with a coffee cup in hand, weeding and watering in the thick night air, watching the sun paint the sky. Soon enough we’ll be bringing in a harvest for all of these efforts, and I’m so looking forward to it.

Until next time,

-Jourdin

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