One in four of you is growing your own vegetable garden, according to the latest census data. How is your garden growing this summer? We’re having moderate success, which I’m thankful for despite a hectic schedule and not enough time for maintenance lately.
I’m getting excited about these lovely peas that seem to be growing without much fuss up the fence that edges our little organic vegetable garden.
I’m thrilled that the seeds saved from last year’s yellow bell heirloom tomatoes are producing fruit this summer!
I spent most of this Saturday trimming excess leaves, trimming tiny suckers that create too many little branches on the tomato plants, and generally cleaning up the garden. I should have been doing this two weeks ago; but I refuse to stop gardening just because of a demanding schedule, how about you?
I fought off squash bugs the old fashioned way, pruned zucchini leaves to allow more air circulation, and ended up picking an entire basket full of string beans from plants that had been woefully neglected. I picked an entire basket full of lettuces, too — not the prettiest greens, but edible.
Because I tend to crowd my garden beds, I went ahead and pulled up some garlic plants that I could use now for cooking, although I could have cut the scapes off the top and let the bulbs continue growing.
I transplanted a couple of plants that had decided to start growing in the aisles between my raised beds (this happens when you don’t pay very much attention for two weeks).
I’m embarrassed to say that the Brussels sprouts didn’t thrive early enough this season, and now that it’s getting too hot for them, I doubt they’ll produce their famous sprouts. I’ll need to be resourceful and try cooking the leaves instead.
One my daughters got excited to see “crystals” in the garden and thought something magical had happened! During maintenance, I decided to sprinkle more Epsom salts around the base of some tomato plants for a calcium boost.
My personal treat after a long day in the garden was a sprig of fresh lavender from the garden’s edge. You only have to rub the tiny flowers between your fingers to release that wonderfully soothing aroma! No matter what else grows or doesn’t in the garden, it’s reassuring to have that flowering herb at the garden’s edge for everyone to enjoy.
I’m happy for you to learn from my mistakes. I’m always telling you here that if my busy family can grow an organic garden, you can too.
Here are a few reminders of things to remember about organic garden maintenance in the summer (not that I always follow my own advice):
- Daily observations of pests & problems can prevent disasters.
- Building your soil was key, and adding nutrients as needed is also helpful.
- Because you’re avoiding fungicides, it’s extra important to clean up old leaf debris & allow adequate air circulation.
- Watering from the ground with something like a soaker hose is better than watering from above.
- If you’re curious what is allowed in USDA organic farming, you can check out this list of substances.
- If you just switched from conventional to organic gardening, it will get easier next year. It’s not just your learning curve. The ecosystem – the soil health and the combination of beneficial insects and pests – needs time to adapt.