I’ve been a vegetable gardener since we bought our first house in 1972. Record keeping is important to me as I evaluate varieties of plants, planting times, and what works in this climate and terroir and what doesn’t. So, I initially built this site for myself, to record plant varieties, planting and harvest dates, and anything else that might be useful for future gardens. I find web entries easier than notebooks and it’s hard to put pictures in written notes. With my smartphone, I can access this information anywhere, which is not the case with written data.

Planting and working the garden is in itself therapeutic, and thus has a lot of value. But harvesting the crops provides healthy foods and a connection to friends and neighbors who also benefit from the abundance of my garden. Here in the midwest, having a way to create a longer growing season is important. Hopefully, good record keeping will help me to that end.

But of course, once the data is recorded, there other thoughts and reflections that come into my mind and I have recorded those here also, because, as it has been since the beginning, gardening is not only good for the body but also good for the soul. My original purpose was an online notebook for my own use, but if you find any of this useful or inspirational, welcome.

Finally Some Rain

We had about half-an-inch of rain a couple of days ago, but it did little to dampen the parched soil. My plan was to water the whole garden today, but we received over 2 inches of rain during the night, so I don’t need to go out and water. It’s a little too wet to weed, so I’ll do that tomorrow or Tuesday.

The rabbits ate a clump of Black-eyed Susans down to the ground, and are now starting to attack the okra. I will be re-planting the peppers and I guess I’ll need to do more fencing.

The past two days I was cleaned up the gardens along the back of the house. It took several hours to pull all of the dead flowers out of the chives, but that will make harvesting much easier. Toby helped.

Basil and Cilantro

These pots were planted on May 22. I’ll plant the next two pots in a few days. It looks like a month separation between plantings might be close to optimum. I am hoping I can just alternate between the two sets of pots.

I planted Genovese Basil and Slow-bolting Cilantro from Terroir Seeds in Arizona.

First Tomato!

I picked the first Early Girl II Tomato from the Container garden today, which is always a cause for celebration. It was about 5 days earlier than last year. Of course, I had tomato toast for breakfast.

I picked my first zucchini yesterday, and we should have the first cucumbers in a couple of days.

Destructive Rabbits & the Enforcer

The rabbits are extremely destructive this year. They destroyed all of my Romaine lettuce and they have topped almost all of the pepper plants including the ones that are fenced in.

It’s time to bring in the enforcer! Toby is going to be staying with us for a couple of weeks, we’ll see if that makes a difference. He finally figured out that there are rabbits to chase, but it’s unlikely that he will catch any.

Peapods and Currants

I went out first thing and picked currants for the Crostini that I was making to take to Jared’s for Father’s Day. A squirrel had climbed up in the plant a couple of days previous, but he didn’t do much damage.. They were likely a little too tart for his liking.

Annabelle and I went out later and picked a colander full. I overplanted because the seeds were a couple of years old and then thinned them out, so we had a good yield. I made a vegetable dip to serve the peas with.

Fireflies! Summer is Here!

I saw the first fireflies of the season in the backyard as we were relaxing on the deck after dinner. There were quite a lot of them. But as usual, early in the season, they were almost all gone by the time it got completely dark. This is the earliest that they have appeared in the six years that I have been keeping track.

2024June 3
2023June 10
2022June 15
2021June 7
2020June 17
2019June 22

Garden from the Air!

I took part of the morning to get caught up on garden photography since it was clear and sunny. I decided to use the drone for all of the shots because I think the higher perspective shows the planting better.

Aerial photo of the completed garden.

Wrapping Up!

I planted the 4 summer dance cucumbers below the trellis in the mint garden. Then I planted 3 mustard plants behind the eggplants. I topped off the four remaining pots in the container garden with compost and planted one with genovese basil seeds, and another with slow bolting cilantro. I’ll plant the other two in a month or so, I’m not quite sure of the timing yet.

The container garden. Malabar spinach is in the half-buried pot on the far right.

I have a couple of 1 1/2 inch Early Girl II tomatoes in the container garden which means ripe tomatoes in early June. I have a Melrose pepper that is about 1 1/2 inches long, so we will be having early peppers as well.

The only major task left is to rototill and put the trellises in for the new cucumber garden and plant the seeds. I hope to get that wrapped up this week. Then, weeding, watering, picking, and cooking.

This is probably the earliest I’ve ever had a finished garden!

Home Stretch!

I’ve been dragging a little getting the last of the plants in, but I’m where I wanted to be. On Saturday, I planted and staked 15 LaRoma plants from Goebbert’s in the second half of the bed next to the firepit. Sunday, I planted and staked 6 King Arthur green peppers and 12 Lady Bell peppers in the first half of the bed nearest the blackberries. I then put my new bottomless pots around them as rabbit protection.

Peppers in the bed on the left, and Roma tomatoes and Zucchini on the right. Rabbit protection pots installed on the unfenced area.

Next, I repaired the fence and put a 1X6 across the front of the fenced area to keep the rabbits from going under the fence. Then I planted 6 poblano peppers, 3 Valencia peppers, 6 poblano peppers, and 3 Hot Hungarian peppers. I need to go to Home Depot and get some stakes.

I did some weeding and cleanup today, but ran out of time. I did get the pot of Malabar spinach dug into the ground about 8 inches. This should protect it from blowing over in the wind as it did last year.We got about 3/4 inches of rain this evening. I am almost done except for cucumbers and those should get in over the next couple of days.

What’s in the Garden?

One of my goals has been to make better use of what’s growing in the garden. So I came up with this sheet that I will post on the refrigerator each week or so to remind me of what is currently available in the garden.

It is the middle of May and here’s what is already ready to pick. I used the first of the Bok Choy and some of the green onions in fried rice this week.

I am hoping that this lets us make better use of our fresh produce.