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Summer Gardening

Summer Gardening

August 08, 2020

We’ve been busy monitoring, harvesting, and managing heat and pests. Summer can tough on plants but it’s also one of the best seasons for harvesting.

Photography By Kelly Savoca

I took some time off here last month to re-group BUT our garden is always growing. In the past two months, we haven’t planted much. Mostly monitoring and picking fresh veggies. Our green beans have done great this year while our tomato plants have been infested with aphids. Figs, cucumbers, and squash are still coming along so I’m excited to share those soon. In the meantime, here is what happened in the garden in June & July:

 Raised Bed Garden Tips

June
 
Edible Flowers in Bloom
We started our edible flower seedlings back at the end of March and finally, they started opening up! These were all planted amidst greens like Kale, Bok Choy, and Chard as companion plants. They did grow a bit slower than anticipated and didn’t quite protect the greens from a variety of pests. This Fall we will likely plant a cover crop to enrich the soil with the hope that next year things will grow a bit faster.
 
Applied Neem Oil To Plants
As mentioned above we were dealing with pests with many of our greens and tomatoes. For the greens, it was mostly due to cutworms (moths). While neem doesn’t kill cutworms, it will decrease the chances of the eggs hatching which we found at the center of our Bok Choy. Also, be sure to look at the underside of the leaf to manually pull these guys off.
 
We also used Dr. Earth Final Stop Spray in the soil to try and manage the pests more. At this point, I pulled off the bad leaves, and eventually, we had some decent lettuce and a few Bok Choy that we could harvest. The Dino Kale never fully recovered so I pulled up the plants while the Swiss Chard seems to be better now.  
 
Transplanted Tomatoes & Peppers
After an initial transplant to larger pots from the seed tray earlier in the month, I moved them to their final bed about mid-month. These sat right next to carrots and marigolds which make for great companion plants.
Growing Tomatoes     Bee Balm 
Filled Flower Bed with Perennials & Annuals
In this bed, we had some wildflowers bloom that we started earlier in Spring. Those seeds were given to me from a friend’s backyard but I found many of them didn’t quite germinate. To minimize my workload every year I decided to fill this bed with mostly perennial transplants.
 
1 | First, I dug up some of my self-seeding Dianthus to more evenly space them throughout the bed.
  
2 | Added Bee Balm (Monarda ‘Jacob Cline’), Coneflowers (Cheyenne Spirit Mix), Tickseed (Coreopsis v. “Zagreb’), and Salvia (Cardonna) perennials as I wanted this bed to feel a bit more whimsical and not so perfect. I placed them first to get a general layout then dug the holes. Plus, added in a little compost as I worked due to our clay-based soil.
 
3 | Lantana (Lucky Pure Gold) always attracts the butterflies so I added this annual in a few spots. I love the way it overflows onto the rocks too.
 

4 | Lastly, I added a light layer of mulch. This bed looks so much better now and will be less maintenance next year!

Perennial Garden 
Direct Sowed Squash Seeds
Late in June, I started a few varieties of squash: Waltham Butternut Squash, Cube of Butter Squash, and Delicata Squash (seeds that we had saved from a store purchase ;). These went in right after I pulled up most of the greens that were struggling from the start of summer. They are looking good and on their way!
 
July
 
Purchased a Water Filter
This has been on the list for a while but we kept forgetting. We purchased this one and it hooks up directly to your hose. By filtering your water, you can remove Chlorine, Chloramines, VOCs, and Pesticides/Herbicides. You’ll better serve your plants!
 
Green Bean Harvest
Our green beans have been coming in consistently each day. I try to pick what is ready, wash, dry, and store them in the crisper. It may seem like only a few at first but you’ll have plenty for dinner if you keep collecting!
Green Bean Harvest
Carrot Updates
In my excitement, I wanted to pull up the carrots just a few days before the full 75 days grow time. I did just that and of course, they were still pretty small. We’ve found things to be growing a bit slower this year so we decided to leave them and we’ll check back in August.
 
Cleaned Up Beds
Now that quite a few of the edible flowers have bloomed I went through our beds and cleaned up the spent leaves and plants. This will make more room for the squash that was recently planted. Also, make sure to pull up any weeds.
 
Tomato Recovery
Our tomatoes were taken over by aphids…baaaahh. We used neem oil and Mosquito Magician a couple of times within the month to manage the pest. They are large plants but with only a few flowers so we’ll have to wait and see how they recover.
 
How’s your summer garden looking? Tag us at #cottonandmoss on Instagram to share!