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.

Summer Sunrise

Summer Sunrise

I was up early and saw this sunrise through the window and had to go out and capture it. RT mowed yesterday so the lawn was looking nice, too. I also had my first heirloom tomatoes on my toast this morning. What a treat.

Summer Bounty

The Heirlooms all decided to ripen today. Above is a sampling. Everything else is coming in except the cucumber which have slowed down. I need to weed the two back beds. It has been hard to keep up with everything going on.

Garden in Full Swing

We are nearing the peak of garden production. I picked the first Cocozelle zucchini today.

Container Garden looking good.

The Container Garden is in full production with Jalapeno peppers, Serrano peppers, Basil, various cherry tomatoes, and a pot of Malabar Spinach off to the side.

Peppers are doing well. I think the extra spacing made a big difference.
Shishito peppers are going crazy. Just a hint of heat this year.
A large zucchini that slipped under the radar.

Broccoli & Eggplant

I picked the first couple of crowns of broccoli today. I was a couple of days late on one of them. I set the plants out on April 13th. That’s 3-1/2 months to maturity. Some of the plants don’t even have small crowns on them yet. Very strange.

The eggplants are really starting to go now. I stuck with a single variety of large purple ones this year and ensured they got plenty of water and fertilizer. Unfortunately, I didn’t record the variety or source. They are well protected from rabbits. We picked the first one about a week ago, and Edith baked the slices. She used balsamic and something else. It was very good.

It looks like we’ll have a very good harvest his year, unlike the past several.

Here’s an eggplant, almost ready to harvest, in its anti-rabbit cage.

Finishing Up the Blackberries

It’s been over a month since Jared cleaned the blackberry patch out, and I finally got to putting in the posts and stringing the rope across to keep the blackberry plants somewhat in line. I did a considerable bit of trimming, also. Now I have a clear path on each side of the patch and one in the middle. We’ve been picking berries for several weeks and the yields are getting better.

Northeast corner of Blackberry Patch.
Center path into the Blackberry Patch.
Jared and Annabelle picking blackberries.

A Nice Rain

It stormed last night and finally didn’t pass us by. Looks like we got about 1-3/4 inches of rain. We had about a half inch earlier this week on Wednesday. I shouldn’t need to water for a few days. The garden really needed the rain.

The tomatoes are liking the rain.

Tomatoes are doing well, I got a couple of Lemon Boys and a Black Krim, along with the Early Girl IIs producing prolifically, as well as the Champion IIs, which are producing larger tomatoes than the Early Girls.

Pole Beans Planted

I pulled the remains of the peas out a couple of days ago and sprayed the remaining Canadian Thistle with roundup. Today, I weeded the bed by hand, and I planted pole beans and lazy housewife beans and the place where the peas had been. I hope I’m not too late getting these in.

Mid-Summer Thoughts

So we are now in the middle of July, and I have daily tomatoes and cucumbers, and the zucchini exploded from nothing earlier this week. What’s working and what isn’t. The rabbits damaged a few peppers, so I think I need to add a round of 2X6s on my second two beds. I think that might be enough to keep them out.

The celery root failed again. The first batch succumbed to the drought, and the second got eaten, likely by little bunnies. That bed is fenced, and I stapled the fence to the bed frame. But they likely got in under the south end. I’ll likely need to mound up dirt over the fence.

I was too late for Roma tomatoes from Goebberts and need to buy those by the beginning of June.

I didn’t get tomatillos in, and I need to prepare the ground for those in the fall.

The Early Girl II tomatoes have been producing since mid-June, and the Champion II plants are producing as well. These are both winners for early tomatoes.

The okra is not growing well, and that needs to get in earlier.

The basil in pots is doing well, and I probably need at least 3 pots and should seed every three weeks.

There is no reason to plant mustard greens.

8 romaine plants are enough. It bolts too fast to plant anymore. Parsley should be seeded early, like before May 1.

It looks like the Malabar spinach is doing very well in the pot. I’ll definitely do it that way next year.

Finally, Some Rain!

Rain has been threatening all week, but we never got more than a trace. Finally, overnight and into Sunday, we got over 1-1/2 inches of rain that fell steadily overnight, and throughout the day, so there were no washouts.

Fortunately, I got out yesterday and weeded almost all of the garden and tied up the Roma and Bush tomatoes, the Poblano peppers, and the two German Johnson plants in the Heirloom Garden that decided to creep across the ground. Perfect timing for once.

The Harvest Begins

I picked my first tomato today, along with four cherry tomatoes, and of course, I had tomato toast for breakfast.

We are really short on rain. We got almost 3/4 of an inch over the weekend, and that helped, but I will need to continue to water. I Fertilized everything about a week ago.

I picked peas over the weekend. They were good, but way fewer than last year. Germination was poor this year, and I had lots of gaps along the trellis, likely because of the lack of rain and my not getting enough water on them early on.

We’ve picked a bunch of lettuce, and I’ve given three or four heads away. It is starting to bolt, so we are probably near the end. I might replace it with arugula.