A Garden Update {July 2014}

a garden update!

This month of gardening flew by! Much of my time this year has been learning, learning, and learning some more by … well, failing a little bit here and there.

No, my garden isn’t a flop – not by a long shot. However, I’m not pulling in the harvest I hoped I would be by now.

But before we talk about what isn’t doing as well as I expected, let’s talk about what has gone well, shall we?

A Garden Update for July 2014

You can go here to see what all we planted this year.

peas on the vine

My snow peas are voluptuous!

I have peas coming out the wazoo! The whole neighborhood (well, those who garden) are talking about the size of those vines. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m pretty sure they are still trying to grow up, but I don’t have any stakes or trellises tall enough to give them a hand. Not that I care because I have enough peas to keep me busy.

I’m so grateful because this is the one tangible vegetable that children can really identify with in the garden. They can go out anytime they want a snack and snap a few peas off the vine.

Honestly? Having peas my children can eat right off the vine are the main reason I wanted a garden this year. So I’m grateful the Lord saw fit to give us a great harvest!

eating peas

How we’ve been using our snow peas:

  • Crunchy snacks
  • Sauteed in omelets
  • Tossed in a salad
  • Sauteed with various greens like Swiss chard we get from the Farmer’s Market


Radishes are lovely and producing nicely!

I had no idea what to expect with my radishes when I planted them. We only just started eating them from the super market. I heard they were easy to grow so I gave it a shot.

I’m so glad I did! They are a great addition to salads, omelets, and soups.

We’ve been eating them a few times a week at least. My oldest loves plucking them from the garden each morning.

Herbs available anytime we need them is wonderful!

We’ve been using our herb garden exclusively this year. I haven’t had to buy anything from the store. We just snip off what we need at each meal, and enjoy the freshness and satisfaction of knowing we grew them ourselves.

Our lemon balm plant kept us in refreshing iced tea during the hottest months. But before I could get out and cut it all back to dry for the winter the blasted grasshoppers destroyed it. Makes me so sad! ๐Ÿ™ It was wonderful while it lasted though!

garlic ready to harvest

Garlic is ready to harvest, but I’m nervous!

I’ve spent the better part of the last six weeks or so cutting back garlic scapes faithfully. Cutting back the scapes tells the plant to put all its efforts into growing nice bulbs.

We used the scapes I cut in soups, salads, omelets, and anywhere else garlic flavor would be good.

Now that the scapes have slowed down their growth and the bottoms of my garlic plant are starting to brown, I know it’s time to harvest. My neighbors have been harvesting theirs as well, so I need to just get it done. I don’t know why I’m so nervous. I guess it’s because they grow below ground, so I really don’t want to be disappointed if there’s nothing there.

Sort of ridiculous, I know. But it’s the truth. I really want to some natural flu fighting remedies on hand this fall!

My spinach bolted and produced three measly leaves.

I planted my spinach too late. I didn’t go with my instincts and common sense, and instead, I listened to everyone in the area say wait until Memorial Day to plant (we have frosts until mid-June).

I’m pretty sure they didn’t realize I wanted to plant spinach. Next year, I’ll be getting them in the ground as soon as it’s workable. Plus when I’m planning my vegetable bed, I’ll be sure they get evening shade.

I know better now! I might plant a few seeds to see if I can get a fall harvest. We’ll see!

tomatoes on the vine

I have tomatoes growing on the vine!

The day after I wondered aloud if my tomatoes were going to produce anything I discovered plump green fruit on the vine. I have three varieties growing. Well, actually I have two varieties, and I have no idea what the third one is because my neighbor gave it to me. They’re moving and didn’t want to bother with babying a tomato plant in the meantime.

I’m anxious to see if I can get these to a beautiful red fruit before the snow gets here!

lettuce growing

Everything else is growing at a snails pace!

I know that I should have lettuce coming out my ears by now. My neighbors have so much lettuce they’ve been giving all their excess away to my family – thankful for that, no doubt. However, I have my own lettuce plants. I want to eat my own lettuce. Grow already, would ya?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

This is where we learned a lot. When our lettuce sprouted, grew up about an inch, and then sort of stalled out while my next door neighbors was ready to harvest, we figured out that our soil is just not rich enough.

We don’t compost (yet), and I didn’t work anything fresh into the soil before I started planting after the snow melted. I should have worked more organic matter into the bed, especially compost.

I’ve since been feeding my plants weekly some Kelp Liquid Fertilizer, and I’ve worked some compost into the soil by digging down as close to the roots as I can get without damaging them. I don’t recommend this way of doing it – get it right the first time. However, we now have growth again. It’s not nearly as slow as it was, and I’m hopeful we’ll still get to eat from our garden before the snow comes!

Since working more organic matter into the soil, adding table scraps from my kitchen to my garden, and giving it a weekly Kelp feeding, our lettuce, carrots, and salad brunet have picked back up growth again.

As for our beets, beans, squash, and cucumbers? The juries still out on how they will perform!

Finally, I added a few new things to my garden.

My neighbor is moving so she gave me her very well established rhubarb plant. She’s the only one in her family who eats it, so she was always giving us three fourths the harvest anyway. I’m so grateful for her generosity! I will sincerely miss her. But I am excited for a rhubarb plant! Please, Lord, don’t let me kill it …

grape vine

I found a grape vine (pictured above) and currant bush on clearance at the local grocery store. They both looked healthy, but since we have a short growing season, they had to clear house quickly.

I snagged them with the thought that if they die, I’m only out $10. We got a few currants this year, but I need to trellis my grape vine still!

apple tree

For our anniversary, we got an apple tree and planted it on the corner of our house. I expect to have to buy a second one since I don’t think this one is a self-pollinator. We’ll see! I don’t mind planting more trees. ๐Ÿ™‚

All-in-all we’re really pleased with how our garden is growing. No it’s not what we expected. Yes, we’d love to say we didn’t fail at anything, but that’s just not the way it goes. You learn more by failing than by succeeding, if you ask me.

My kids continue to love being in the garden with me – my youngest especially! I love that they are learning how food gets to the table, or even to the grocery store. There are so many teachable moments together as we tend the garden each day, and I look forward to creating even more memories in the future!

What about you? How’s your garden growing?

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