Summer Garden Virtual Tour

Our summer garden is growing strong, and since we’ve posted about new varieties and projects earlier in the season, I thought I’d post an update to share how things are going. We’ve seen successes and failures this year, but that hasn’t stopped us from harvesting the bounty this summer. Take a look:

First time growing this heirloom squash

First time growing this heirloom squash

Sure we have leaf miners and powdery mildew, but the Lakota squash is still beautiful and interesting in a summer garden.

Our Poona Kheera Indian cucumbers look just like the picture said it would!

Our Poona Kheera Indian cucumbers look just like the picture said it would!

Our Poona Kheera cucumbers developed this amazing russet skin. Such a great addition to the garden this year!

We've been picking strawberries all season

We’ve been picking strawberries all season

Despite a bout of downy mildew, our strawberries are still thriving with the help of some compost and kelp emulsion.

Random radishes worked like a charm

Random radishes worked like a charm

Our millet experiment failed miserably (cat kept digging up the seedlings), so we threw some Cherry Belle radish seeds in the empty space in early June. Since we had the marine layer keeping things cool, they took off in no time, filling in the gaps between green onions (on right – okay, huge and out of control, I admit), leeks (left), leftover kale and our 2nd year Poblanos (top).

We're roasting radishes in mid-summer in Los Angeles. A garden miracle!

We’re roasting radishes (recipe found in Gardening for Geeks, BTW) in mid-summer in Los Angeles. A garden miracle!

We’re harvesting a few onions that were planted out in March/April. When the tops fall over, it’s time to pick.

Yellow onions planted from starts took root and took off.

Yellow onions planted from starts took root and took off.

We still have some Italian red onions in the ground, which are taking longer. We planted an entire bed of them from seed–3 times–but only 4 took. Better luck next year. In the meanwhile we’ll enjoy what we can harvest.

Our second-year Poblano is drooping under the weight of its load.

Our second-year Poblano is drooping under the weight of its load.

We’re using bamboo stakes to prop up our 2-yr-old poblano pepper. I’m convinced that’s the trick to growing peppers in coastal California–leave them in the ground when they barely grow in year 1, then watch them take off in year 2.

Our butternut squash are still small, but they will be just as tasty

Our butternut squash are still small, but they will be just as tasty

Next up, edamame. We grew our own last year and it has ruined us forever. They’re so sweet and delicious, you’ll never want to eat store bought edamame again (plus these are non-GMO). We had to replant several times to fill in the gaps, but in the end we’ll have enough to enjoy over a few meals.

Home grown edamame is better than anything you buy in the store

Home grown edamame is better than anything you buy in the store

Some things just take off in the garden without explanation. This happens to be a great year for peppers. Even our first-year peppers, like this jalapeno, are full of fruit. I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth, but I wish I know why these did so well this year.

Happy Jalapenos growing in the sun

Happy Jalapenos growing in the sun

The biggest failure of the year has been tomatoes. Blight, blight, blight. We didn’t catch it early enough and now we’re suffering. Our plants are denuded and sad, but there are still tomatoes ripening on the vine. We’ll take what we can get.

Tomatoes just starting to ripen

Tomatoes just starting to ripen

On the up side, our asparagus is doing very well this year, after a slow start. Now we’re picking spears every day. Have you ever had raw asparagus straight from the garden? It’s like candy.

New asparagus spears poke out of the soil as older spears leaf out into fronds.

New asparagus spears poke out of the soil as older spears leaf out into fronds.

Last but not least, we’re growing eggplant which, like peppers, are doing very well this year. Our Japanese eggplant has ready-to-pick fruit while our Italian varieties are just starting to flower.

Japanese eggplant...what shall we make?

Japanese eggplant…what shall we make?

So, what’s growin’ on in your garden this summer? Report your findings below. We love hearing what’s working and not working for you.

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6 Responses to Summer Garden Virtual Tour

  1. felicia says:

    I don’t get how to use mulch if you put it all around the ground, how do you plant on the next planting time, do you scrape it up, move it over or what, how do you veiw your seeds sprouting?

    • Christy says:

      Great question. Usually people lay down mulch after they have planted seedlings that have several sets of leaves. You need to have bare soil in order to plant seeds directly, though some seeds will sprout in straw bedding (think lasagna gardening). If you have mulch around from last season, pull it aside to prep your beds with compost, or if it is already starting to break down you can turn it into the soil before planting. I personally prefer to keep mulch out of the way until I have established seedlings to discourage critters that love to hang out in mulch and eat sprouting seeds.

  2. Lynne Maclean says:

    Christy it’s all looking yummy. I was up in Petaluma at the end of May and went into Baker Creek and dropped a bundle on seeds. Thanks for turning me onto them.

    Up here, in the hotter part of Topanga, I got my tomatoes in the ground in April. They haven’t been producing as big fruit as last year. I think I may have blight as well. The jalapeno’s and crook neck squash are doing great as is the quinoa. My Japanese eggplant isn’t however. Cukes are just starting to fruit. Swiss chard is happy. We had such a dry winter the last two years, my sandy soil is suffering. Watering twice a day. Also have put up shade cloth taking it down when the high is below 90.

  3. Audrey Bishop says:

    Your stuff looks wonderful. I will try eggplants next year.
    We have done well with yellow zucchinis and cucumbers. Our tomatoes were an almost total loss. Something (probably rats) ate them all except the small cherry variety and then started on the sweet peppers. Carrots are still going, also one Swiss chard keeps on and on producing.

    • Christy says:

      Sorry to hear about the tomatoes, Audrey. We have rats nibbling on ours too. We’ve broken out the traps and cheese to slow them down. Good luck with the rest!

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