The garden is in full swing, with many items already harvested and or in decline. That also means that many heat loving plants are thriving. It is also time to think about planting…..WHAT? Planting?…You heard it right…planting.
The lettuce, radishes and early beet crops have all been harvested and removed as well as my broccoli (see center picture); these crops cannot be re-sown in the heat of the summer, so that will leave holes in your garden.
There are many things you can plant in their place. If you would like a lot of cut flowers for your late summer/ early fall table, this would be an excellent time to plant large marigolds, amaranth and larkspur. However, this is also a very productive time for some vegetables. Planting summer onion seeds, late crop squash, swiss chard and hearty beet varieties, makes your summer garden as productive as its spring and fall sisters (yes, you will want to plant items for fall).
Summer is also a time to watch and be amazed at the progress of your garden. I have already gotten a harvest from my bush beans; I am hoping for another soon. The cucumbers are producing about 1-2 ripe fruits per week! The eggplant, peppers, potatoes, shallots are all coming along and I have so many green tomatoes, I am not sure what I am going to do with the miriad of ripe ones I am sure to bring in shortly.
But the coolest plants I am growing are just now starting to take off. The blue cheese pumpkin squash, winter squash, bottle neck gourds and the triumph of the ages, a miniature sugar, seedless watermelon! I am so delighted at its progress, I am almost willing to overlook the squirell theif that stole one of the fruits already! I said almost. I finally broke down and used my fox urine granuals along the fence row (away from places the dogs will go) to deter the rats with cuter outfits from visiting my garden.
Growing organically has also left me vulnerable to some other insect pests, but the peppermint and garlic oil spray is doing a pretty good job and keeping them at bay without adding chemicals to my food supply.
The most important thing to remember in the summer garden is watering! While your raised beds and plants in the ground may be able to go a few days without watering, your potted items will wither and die without almost daily intervention. I am still using collected water for the most part; I have had to break the hose out about three times so far when my english rain barrell was a little low on supply, but for the most part, it has created a completely self sustained garden!
It is a busy time in the garden, but I wouldn’t want it any other way!