Wednesday, July 14, 2010

homegrown...a peek into our midsummer garden

Here is our garden midsummer, we are always a couple of weeks behind everyone else.  I don't strive to have the first tomato of the season.  We've had some setbacks, but things are coming along.  It is so helpful to have a good perspective on gardening.  I try not to get too attached to things being a certain way (try...I do try).  We have mostly a no-till garden in raised beds.  This works best for us growing as we do on a rocky creek bank.  To get the beds ready for planting I add compost to the top and use a digging fork to lift the soil without turning it over.  Then I rake smooth.  This retains the natural composition of the the soil structure and keeps all the helpful critters beneath alive and well and happy.

By far, the crop that has done great through drought, flea beetle infestations, and a very hungry groundhog was the swiss chard.  I guess groundhogs don't like chard.  We do.  

The radicchio, however, was a prime target for the groundhog.  The odd thing is that I had a little fence around the radicchio for the longest time when I first set out the plants.  I babied these along for so long I could sense their vulnerability.  But at one point, it didn't appear that we were having any hungry visitors to our garden so I took the fence down. silly me.  But fortunately, despite being eaten almost to the ground, they are coming back and heading up nicely.  I think we will have radicchio and fennel salad at some point afterall.

We have some baby zucchini coming on finally.  Our drought situation really slowed everything down.  It was almost as if everything was deciding whether it worth the effort to grow if there was no rain.  I had those thoughts as we were having to water every day at first by carrying 5 gallon buckets of water from the creek and then we got smart and borrowed a submersible pump. I would really like to have a rope and washer pump at some point.

The dinosaur kale is finally growing faster than the flea beetles can eat it.  I had almost given up on this crop completely.  Anyone have a flea beetle solution?  I will be getting beneficial nematodes to help with next year's situation, but if someone has a way to get rid of adult flea beetles, I'd love to hear it.

Speaking of beetles.  I found this guy 5 feet up a butterfly bush.  I'm not sure what he was doing there.  

This is Jude's little garden plot.  He has a lot growing in a very small space.  Radishes, beets, purple beans, lemon cucumbers, bird house gourds, marigolds (that he picked out and bought with his own money).  I'm wondering how that trellis will hold up with all that wants to climb it.  You can't see them, but there are little bubble bee garden ornaments in there and on the right hand side you might be able to make out a dragonfly that we put in to scare away the groundhog so they would stop eating the beans.  And what seems to have worked for the whole garden, was stringing a line of aluminum pie plates at groundhog level along the side I was pretty sure that he (or she) was entering.

The best part of gardening is reaping the harvest.  We chopped all this up for our dinner last night and braised it with a little bit of olive oil and salt.  Simple and delicious!

How is your garden growing?  I'd love to hear...


If you haven't heard, Lisa has launched a great project for all of us who love to garden...


  1. Everything looks gorgeous and so fresh Elizabeth!
    Something is nibbling on my kale leaves too... Isn't this such a beautiful time of year in the garden?! We have many tomato varietals planted and we are checking them each day waiting for them to turn orange, yellow and red. The gardens are growing very well with this humidity, last year there was so much rain and the tomatoes did not do very well... I suppose I am 'making up for lost time' this year! Be well and enjoy! xoxo

  2. Hey Eliz - We saw your hubby at the SC arts fest this past weekend, but we apparently missed seeing you!

  3. Mmmmh, what a nice garden... Veggies look yummie as well! We grow ours on clay, which is very nutricient. Thats what snails think as well... This year they "enjoyed" our zucchini crop totally... Now there are tomato-plants (i'm a "slower" as well;) beans, peas, radish, rucola, onions, potatoes, leek, jerusalem artichokes. No giant fields, but a bit of everything. Just for the fun, to enjoy, just Be, and relax! Wishing you the same!

  4. Swiss Chard seems to survive a lot. It's the one plant I can depend on always being there...and good thing too cause it's one of my favorites! Our dino kale isn't looking so well this year either. It's kinda interesting how each year brings some of the same challenges to gardeners all over the place.


  5. wow it looks like things are growing just fine for you!

    ours it a bit slower :( but i do see the plants trying hard to produce something before our summer ends (fingers crossed).


  6. Love your garden! It's so pretty. : )

    We started a small garden this summer (after just moving into our new home with lots of good sunshine in the back yard). Tomatoes are growing like crazy. The cucumbers were doing great, but now look horrible -- leaves all brown and wilted, cucumbers very sad looking. And my littlest son pulled out our watermelon vine, so we've had to replant a new one. Oh yeah, and our zucchini plant only had male blooms, so no fruit and then the bugs got it, so we had to pull it. I've replaced it with Asian long beans (and a homemade trellis of sticks and twine. So, we'll see how it goes. (I've got photos and some posts about our garden on my blog,

    What I love about gardening is not just the food we get from it (so fresh!), but the fact that we're connecting with the earth in a way that we can't by just "being out in it," you know? When we dig, plant, weed, nurture, harvest and then ingest, we're part of the cycle. And I love that feeling! : )

  7. I have very much enjoyed seeing your garden, thank you!
    You seem to be just a little ahead of us, (cold Colorado mountains), I am just thankful for all we do have and the time that we are able to enjoy in the garden each day. We are growing many of the same vegetables too. I am keeping an eye on the kale, it is usually the only plant that has any bug problems, I just plan to harvest it early...
    I have been thinking that a good title for my first garden post of the season could be something like "Swiss Chard is My Best Friend." Really. I feel great love towards it every day.
    Happy garden days to you!

  8. Just gorgeous! Right now I'm just dreaming of a garden like this... and enjoying a few small containers. Your garden is lovely and fills me with inspiration and hope for the future!

  9. We've been behind this year with our garden. We had a really late (hard) frost. But, things seem to be coming along. We don't have anything but greens and radishes right now. Your garden is beautiful. I'd like to try no-till next year. We kind of do that right now but we like to incorporate some of the pine shavings from our chicken house.

  10. your garden looks like the garden of an artist.

  11. Thanks for the tour of your garden. I love to see how other people are doing it and what they are growing. Ours is doing great this year, despite he lack of rain. We are relatively pest-free, too, but I don't expect that to last too long. We do, however have a new rabbit family feasting on our greens. Hmmmm...


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