Tuesday, 8 July 2014

July Garden and Greenhouse Ramblings

So here we are in July already! Boy, seems like June just flew by with all the garden planting, care, pinching and more to do. We had unusually fabulous weather throughout, which helped everything root in, grow and thrive.

The greenhouse closed for the summer in early June as I have little to sell at that point and it gives me a chance to catch up on my own garden and yard chores... plus more, this year as we also did extensive renovations on the house.

So... What is actually going on in the greenhouse?... 

As always, the growing tables were moved outdoors and the greenhouse now holds my own personal plants. Tomatoes and melons grow up strings while pepper plants line the south wall, garnering as much heat and light as they can possibly get.

Black Hungarian Hot Peppers
I am already harvesting the Hungarian Black's to make spicy crock pickles. This is my all time favourite go to pepper. You all know that I personally do not do the hot peppers, but the family sure does. This one is a great producer, has great heat, goes into anything and everything.. salsa's, yep, pickling, yep, hot pickled peppers, yep, sauces, yep... you get the picture... best hot pepper. Oh, and the more you pick, the more they produce!

King of The North sweet pepper is coming along nicely, too! As is the Sweet Chocolate Pepper shown below. 

Looks like a cucumber, sort of, but is actually the start of the Sweet Chocolate Bell Pepper.

 Stupice heirloom tomato 

 Sasha's Altai heirloom tomato
Tomatoes are ripening by the day!
Have been picking and enjoying Riesentraube, Acadian Cherry, Gardener's Delight (aka Sugar Lump),  Beaverlodge Slicer, Sasha's Altai, Stupice and Golden Bison, too!

Out In The Potager...

Manure tea or compost tea...
1 part manure/compost to 9 parts or so of water. 
Let 'brew' for 3 days and then feed to any and all plants. 
Works for veggies and roses, plus other flowers, too.
You can either fill up with water again for a weaker solution, or dump the dregs into the compost bin to get that cooking, and 'brew' a new batch three days before you want to feed again. 
Making compost tea to feed to the potted plants mostly as the garden beds are growing like mad! Thinking not a whole lot of garden amendments need to be added to the garden this year, or at least not till fall ; )
In fact, things are growing so well that, at first, I was very afraid that I had purchased soil that was too high in nitrogen but maybe too low in phosphorous and/or potassium! But, all is well, this soil is amazing. I not only have lush top growth but I also have great spuds, great carrots, great tomatoes and more, which means that I am good in N, P and K!

These are all brand new garden beds, built in March/April of this year and filled with a garden blend from a local bulk supplier. When you buy soil from one of these suppliers, try to get word of mouth from others regarding the actual quality of the soil, for it will vary tremendously from one supplier to the next. Also, most importantly, invest in the very best garden blend that you can afford. Cheap soil will really cost you! Cheap soil will not give you great crops and will just make you feel bad, might make you think that you have a black thumb and cannot grow anything, when in reality, it is simply the poor soil. It will also mean that you will spend a bundle amending the soil for many years till you finally get great soil, and thus great crops.
Start with great soil, spend the money and feel pride in your skills as you harvest all kinds of thriving garden goodies.  

Peas, can you believe all the peas? Yowza!
Dill at the very back and then some tomato plants this side of the dill, so tall and bushy that you can only barely see the blue tomato cages! 

Growing the eggplants in the garden this year, too, instead of in pots ... So far, so good! They are thriving, flowering and I am hoping for a bumper crop of Morden Midgets ; )

Breadseed poppies... I only planted a few this year as I still have loads of poppy seeds from last year. However, they are the prettiest addition to the garden, first with the ethereal, wispy flowers and then  fabulous seed pods that are like art in the garden.

Kale, dwarf sweet peas, cukes and strawberries in the left side garden bed and my cutting garden on the right... nothing prettier than blooms in the edible garden. Brings in the bees, the birds, hummingbirds, and butterflies, plus all kinds of good bugs that eat bad bugs. 

Garlic has been pulled and laid out to cure... takes two to three weeks to cure properly. I always err on the side of caution and go on the later side as opposed to the early. You can, however, grab as many as want, whenever you want for immediate use, you do not have to wait for them to cure if you want to use them now. 
Lift garlic when the bottom three leaves have gone yellow/brown. Leave on roots and stems during the curing process, clean them off later when you go to store them. Cure in a shaded area with great air flow. Place out on tables, on floor (lay down cardboard or newsprint first) or hang in bundles of 4 to 6 bulbs to dry well. If you do not have great air flow, set up a fan to move the air. If the bulbs have poor ventilation during the curing process, they may not dry well and will begin to rot in storage.

I have posted many times about garlic harvesting over the past years, feel free to go back in time and scope them out ; ) 

 Garlic laid out to cure in the potting shed. Has a roof for cover from rain and great ventilation.

Other garden related stuff...

Roses are still blooming away, looking great...

Just Joey
Sorry about the dirty nails, again! It seems that I go out to the garden for 2 minutes of pinching, picking, and what not, and that is all it takes. 

 Blue Girl

This one is one of the most amazing roses I have ever seen.

So... on we go to the very best part of each month's blog post ... 

What to do in the July garden .... 

- What to Plant now. 
Fall and winter veggies... see HERE for what to plant now. 
Succession plant lettuce, spinach, even kale right now so that when it bolts in the heat, you have fresh and new. Plant more beans and beets. 

- Harvest! Lift a spud plant or two and have new potatoes for supper, add fresh peas to your salads or eat as a great snack food. Pick peppers, onions, shallots, beets, carrots, kale, lettuce and more... 
With many of the veggies, the more you pick the more they produce ... peas, cukes, zukes, tomatoes, peas, beans, mesclun, etc...  so you are doing yourself a favour when you enjoy the fruits of your labours. 

- Water and Feed. Water your beds every 3 to 7 days. Give them a good soak when you water, do not just spritz with a spray of water daily. Water in the morning and at ground level. Do not wet down the foliage, esp if you water later in the day, or you will get fungal issues and blight. Potted veggies will need water every day and a weekly feeding, too. As long as you started your garden beds with well amended, great soil, you should not need to feed your garden beds much of anything. If you have lagging plants, you can water with manure or compost tea, and/or add 2 Tbsp of Epsom salts around them, or even side dress around the plants with some compost or manure. Add blood meal, bone meal, or rock phosphates to the dressing, if you need more amendments.  

- Pinch and Pick. Carry a pail with you to toss in all foliage or plants that are yellow, brown or fading. Pinch off any leaves that look unsightly or questionable. Do not be afraid to pinch off lots of foliage. If they don't look good, they may be buggy or may be diseased. Getting rid of them keeps your plants happy, healthy, thriving and producing. 

- Weed and Mulch. Weeds are stealing water and nutrients from your veggies, pull them out and toss in that pail you are carrying around. Top up your mulch (whether it is compost, manure, bark or straw, etc...) if weeds are poking through. 

Aphids on roses
- Bug Patrol. Watch for beetles, caterpillars, slugs, snails, aphids, etc.. as you tend your gardens. Squash all the bugs that are squashable. Pick the ones that are pickable and toss in that pail. Lots of aphids? Spray the plant with a strong jet of water, and if needed, spray with Safer's Soap. Stay on top of the bug issue and you will not have a bug issue.
 Black Spot on roses
Other bits and bobs... 
- You have likely already lifted your garlic, if not, do so now! 
- Deep water fruit trees every 2nd week by placing the hose at a slow trickle at the drip point (where the branches stop and hang, plus drip when it rains) for 20 to 30 minutes per tree. 
- Deep water fruiting shrubs, also ... raspberries, currants, blueberries, etc ... esp if they are starting to form fruit.  
- Water your compost bin once a week to keep it cooking! 
- Clean up and cut back all spring bulbs (like alliums!). 
- Snip and prune as needed, remove all dead and fallen foliage from around the plants, pull off leaves with black spot or powdery mildew.
-  Pinch and dead head annuals and perennials regularly to promote bushiness. 

Hanging baskets/planters - water till the water flows through the bottom, then come back 10 minutes later and do it again! Feed once a week to keep them blooming! Replace any plants that have dried out and do not come back after you water in order to keep your basket looking awesome all summer. 

Mint garden in a wheel barrow.

Have a great summer with great harvests! Happy growing!

Moving Thyme

Sadly, the Nitty Gritty Potager blog is no more... but the good news is that I can now be found at my new blog called the Olde Thyme F...