Monday, June 21, 2010

What's Up In the Vegetable Garden

Does the unbearable heat mean earlier tomatoes? It certainly looks that way in my garden. My most vigorous tomato is a volunteer cherry from last year's crop. It surprised me by coming up in the shadiest corner, where I hadn't quite cleared all the previous year's debris. Just goes to show you: even a C student can one day be President. We'll see how it holds up in the long-run, I guess.

Crazy tomato plants are good for shading carrots and radishes. They're also shading my poor little eggplant, which I may need to transplant. Transplanting is not ideal at this point, but the alternative is worse.

We're experimenting with as much vertical growth as possible, given our limited space. Cucumbers are training up the tomato cages and making their way to the fence beyond. An angled trellis will support squash and zucchini, which need not trail along the ground. In fact, elevation will reduce the risk of mildew.  I also cut some paper cups in half and placed them around the squash seedlings. I've heard this can deter the vine borer.

We harvested the last peas this weekend. There were a few dried seedpods.  We'll store them in the refrigerator, and they'll come in handy next year. The peas were shading kale and spinach, which we'll now need to harvest before they're completely scorched. That's ok though, since a pesky Cabbage White butterfly is using them to hide her eggs.  While I normally love Lepidoptera, this guy isn't welcome here.

In place of the vines, we'll plant okra for Fall harvest. It's tough to think about Fall in the first days of summer, but now's the time to start Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts for planting out in mid-August.

Companion plants are vigorously carrying their weight, attracting bumble bees and other good guys. The sensory border is working wonderful colors along the newly created path. We've discovered that a snippet of lavender or thyme assures sweet dreams when placed under a small person's pillow. It's also great for a relaxing bath when the garden and its small companion are tucked away for the evening.


  1. We had a great tomato crop going, and I came out one morning and they were GONE! I guess some deer decided on a midnight snack. Any suggestions for how to keep them at bay?

  2. My favorite deer deterrent involves drying eggshells and then crumbling and sprinkling them around plants. Birds in the vegetable garden are more my problem!