Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer in my Garden

Can you believe it? Summer has finally arrived! Wahoo! Now that winter and spring are behind us, the harvest season has really picked up and I'm anticipating bushels of beans, tubs of tomatoes and crates of cucumbers.. zoodles of zucchini?? Ok, sorry, that might have been one too many.

It's now evening and the sun is falling towards the horizon. I was just putting around the veggie patch, adding pinches of lettuce seed wherever I spied empty space and I was struck by the beauty of the Red Russian kale that is now in full flower.

Not only are the leaves edible, but so are the flower buds and bright yellow blossoms. If you look closely, you'll see the stems are purple and contrast so nicely against the flowers. Even the seed pods are dusky purple! As well, the plants are rather prolific and although we've been munching on the flower buds and tossing the little blooms in salads, there always seems to be many MANY more flowers - which the bees and beneficial insects appreciate. This morning when I was watering my new seed beds, there were hundreds of bees buzzing around the early summer flowers and bolted veggies - kale, mizuna, pak choi, mustard, catmint, sage, chamomile, chives and more. Heavenly!

Anyway, the light was nice, so I snapped a few photos.. Enjoy!

Every leaf axil produces more flower buds -
yummy! Just like a peppery broccoli.

Here is a maturing seed pod. Once these pods are dried and
the seeds are rattling around inside, I thresh them and
gather ziploc baggies full of the seed. 
Mizuna in bloom.. 

Well hello Indigo Rose tomato.. it's a grafted tomato - my
first grafted tomato ever! These fruits are already 1 1/2 inches across.

Chives anyone?? Please! 

Striking in the evening light. 

A little lettuce.. I've got a 5 by 8 foot bed planted in
salad stripes - 'Peppermint' Swiss chard, 'Ruby Red' lettuce
and this lovely green heirloom lettuce. Photos will
follow soon of the bed.. 


  1. Looks lovely, Nikki. My greens are in lovely yellow bloom too. You mentioned chard. How do you keep the leaf miners off? I am plagued by them in chard, beets, mache and spinach. (I pick affected leaves and put them in the freezer before discarding them. I spray with neem oil/soap spray.)

    1. Oh Hilary, they are a PAIN! If the larvae are already in the leaf tissues, the soap sprays, etc won't touch them. If you are spraying the tiny eggs on the leaves (which remain on the leaves until they hatch - 4 to 5 days), that will work. I find the best way to prevent damage is crop rotation - but I rotate as far away as possible - the opposite end of the garden AND then I cover with mini hoops and a lightweight insect barrier fabric. That way when the adults try to lay their eggs - in May in my neck of the woods - they can't reach the plants. If you aren't rotating then the adults will emerge from the soil in spring and be trapped under your protective barrier - perfect conditions for them, so be sure to combine crop rotation too.. you can even grow them in pots and use a tomato cage as a structure for the insect barrier. be sure to secure the barrier well so the adults can't find their way underneath. I think this will greatly reduce your damage.. and once you get rid of a few life cycles, you will have far fewer pests the following year and may not need to use the insect barrier again.

      One more point - make sure any of the weeds/wild plants that are a source of food for the leaf miners are gone too - lambs quarters & chickweed, for example. Hope that helps!! :)

    2. Well that was fantastic you know they are a pain here too! Love the photos of the garden.

  2. Beautiful pictures. That tomato is breath taking!

  3. Zoodles of zucchini? Now that would be a change! I have always had issues growing squash, from the squash vine borer to powdery mildew to lack of pollination. This year I am trying a few things to hopefully get more than half a dozen squash (& keeping my fingers crossed couldn't hurt either).

  4. Love those tomatoes!! Everything looks great....


Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome your tips, questions, thoughts and ideas (and suggestions for new veggies to grow!)