Vegetable Garden Update: June

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

A family illness kept me from starting my vegetable seeds inside earlier this year. So I had to actually plant seeds in the garden instead of seedlings. C’mon into my NE Texas garden, y’all. I’ll give you the tour!

Come with me and walk through our vegetable garden. We're still struggling with the weather but we have some successes! #TexasHomesteader

Perennial Garden Produce Every Year

I incorporate the Lazy Gardener’s method of gardening. I love food I can grow by planting once & having those plants produce each year. I’ve already enjoyed lots of garden goodness from plants that I didn’t even have to plant this year!

      • Fresh Asparagus

      • Everbearing Strawberries

      • Blueberry Bushes

      • Wild Blackberries (Ponca Thornless Blackberry new planting)

      • Concord Grapes

and more!

You can see a list of all the things I Plant Once Eat For Years! Lazy gardeners, UNITE!

Building New Raised Beds For The Garden

My vegetable garden is undergoing a major transformation. I’ve been incorporating more raised beds in my garden layout. I even built an Amazing Raised Bed in the corner of the garden.

I was able to mostly fill those new beds Hugelkulture Style. And it was wildly successful for being able to fill those beds with natural botanical matter for almost no money out of pocket.

Hugelkultur gardening graphic - logs, sticks, raised bed by By Rose Shelton and Backwoods Home #TexasHomesteader

Photo courtesy of Backwoods Home Magazine & Rose Shelton

Problems With Purchased Garden Soil

But the actual planting soil was purchased in bulk from a soil company this year. It’s been a challenge getting anything to grow in that soil – I’m not sure why.

So I’ll struggle through with the plants in those raised beds this year. Next year I’ll amend the soil myself with compost, leaf mulch etc.

Garden Tomatoes 

I typically start heirloom tomatoes inside in my ‘Indoor Greenhouse‘. But a family illness kept me from doing so this year. Instead I had to place seed in the garden itself. I replanted those seeds (twice) but they never sprouted. (see soil issue above)

But I found a couple of volunteer tomato seedlings growing in my compost. I relocated them so I now have a few tomato bushes growing in the garden, although I have no idea what variety they will end up being.

The plants are still small but they’re at least beginning to grow a few tomatoes for us.

Small green garden tomatoes growing in Texas vegetable garden. #TexasHomesteader

I am finally able to begin tying up the volunteer tomato vines since they’re growing pretty well now. So I guess that’s encouraging.  

Various Garden Peppers

Since my seeds didn’t sprout I was forced to buy pepper seedlings this year to plant in our garden. I use peppers a lot in my cooking. 

The peppers I purchased and planted are:

        • Jalapeno peppers

        • Red Bell Peppers

        • Ancho Peppers

The tiny seedlings struggled when I first planted them, maybe still a soil issue as noted above? But they’re now starting to grow and even produce tiny peppers. I’ll be harvesting soon I’m sure.

High-Producing Concord Grapevines

I only wish everything in my garden would grow as well as my grapevine does. The grapevine is doing AWESOME! I’ve never had this many grapes before.

June garden - Concord grape clusters held in hand. #TexasHomesteader

I’ll probably make jelly with them this year – I gave it a try last year and RancherMan LOVED it.

Concord grapes are extremely flavorful and wonderful for making jelly. I’m hoping to be able to begin harvesting bucket-loads of grapes in a few weeks.

Garlic & Onion Beds

I typically plant my garlic in October & harvest the following June. All the garlic heads are currently curing on our shaded porch for about 6 weeks.

How to know when to harvest Garlic in the garden and curing option. #TexasHomesteader

When I harvested the garlic I came across the little bulbules growing loosely on the garlic heads. I knocked each of them off back into the soil to make more garlic for me. Heck it’s free produce, why not??

I’ll let them grow this summer & then I’ll replant them this fall in a little more orderly fashion along with my October garlic planting for next year’s harvest.

Egyptian Walking Onions

These Walking Onions were gifted by a friend, I love these. They reproduce from what would be the bloom section in other onions. 

The bloom section forms several bulbils which weighs down the bloom stem.  Egyptian Walking Onion reproduces itself through the blossom bulbules. #TexasHomesteader

The bulbils touch the soil and start growing into more onions. I love the thought of having continuous onions without ever again having to plant onions. I haven’t bought onion starts in years!

Herbs Planted In Edible Landscape Beds

The herbs in my ‘edible landscape‘ beds are doing well. The sage overwintered and it’s huge. It blooms beautifully and the bees love it too. 

Beautiful sage plant blooms purple blossoms. #TexasHomesteader

In my edible landscape beds I plant all kinds of fragrant, flowering herbs:

              • Thyme

              • Sage

              • Stevia

              • Basil

              • Oregano

They’re not only beautiful growing in the bed but the honeybees love all those blooming herbs too!

Growing Your Own Sweetener – Stevia

I’m totally enamored with growing my own sweetener! Last year I allowed my Stevia to bloom and go to seed to provide for our honeybees. (I’ll do the same this year)

The Stevia is prolific! I’ve already harvested, dried and powdered much of it. I’ll have as much Stevia as I want and plenty to share too.

Stevia plant is in my edible landscape. I love to grow my own sweetener. #TexasHomesteader

Check out this post to learn to Grow and Use Your Own Stevia. I like to use the dried powder to augment sweetness such as when I make Sugar-Free Sweet Potato Brownies

Cantaloupe Used As Living Mulch

I use vining plants as a Living Mulch of sorts. So I planted cantaloupe at the ends of my tomato rows.

Those vines are just starting to spread and cover the soil around my tomatoes, conserving moisture and helping to avoid soil splashing on the tomato leaves when watering.

PLUS, they’re starting to put on a few tiny cantaloupes. That’s a double benefit to one garden plant!

Mini-sized cantaloupe. July Garden. Even with a few surprising struggles this year, I have a few successes. Come see how we're faring here in our zone 8 veggie garden. #TexasHomesteader

I love cantaloupe in all its sweet, juicy glory. And when it outproduces our ability to consume it fresh, I like to make Cantaloupe Bread with it.

Cantaloupe bread is kinda like zucchini bread, in a cantaloupe kinda way.

RancherMan loves it. And I typically make a few loaves and freeze them for later. A sweet treat is as close as my freezer, even if unexpected company arrives.

Watermelon Growing From Volunteer Plant

My planting of watermelon seeds wasn’t successful (see soil issue above). But I found a couple of volunteer watermelon vines growing in my compost. So I placed them in the garden to grow. However it’s a late start for those vines for sure.

Watermelon Seedlings as living mulch in the garden. #TexasHomesteader

I’ll allow them to grow in the garden anyway as I also use watermelon vines as living mulch. 

But they’re beginning to put on tiny watermelons. Hopefully I’ll get a small harvest in addition to the living mulch benefit.

Planting Okra In The Garden

Okra is usually a pretty bullet-proof thing to plant in Texas, growing vigorously and producing prolifically. 

But, again, with the garden soil I purchased it’s been a struggle this year. So I’ve once again planted some okra seeds and I see a few seedlings beginning to emerge.

I want to make pickled okra so I’ve also planted dill. The dill’s growing great, hopefully the okra will catch up!

Thornless Blackberry Bush

This year I purchased and planted a Ponca Thornless Blackberry bush against the perimeter fence of my garden.

Ponca thornless blackberry bush growing in Texas vegetable garden. #TexasHomesteader

So far it’s growing great and looks healthy. I can’t wait until next year when I can much more easily harvest and enjoy those juicy blackberries instead of hunting down the native and heavily-thorned variety out in our pastures.

Home Garden Optimism

So the garden has been a struggle this year due to family illness and purchased soil issues. Although it promises to be even more struggle during the next couple of hot & humid months, I’m encouraged by some of the garden successes. 

In the meantime I’m thankful for the small harvests my garden offers me this year. And the enjoyment I receive from just being a gardener.

So there’s a quick tour of our NE Texas garden. What’s growing in your garden these days?


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12 thoughts on “Vegetable Garden Update: June

  1. Charlene Dryman

    We live on the coast by Galveston and we prefer drought. We can control the water. But, here we get at least 5-10 inches a week. Fungus is horrible. I just tore down all our tomatoes. Cucumbers grow a few feet, then the fungus takes over, oh and the leaf-footed bugs take over everything and ruin the tomatoes before they ripen then they ruin the pomegranates. The year we didn’t have much rain, we had a beautiful garden and a bountiful crop.
    I had a pretty good crop of zucchini, till the squash bugs hit. I am trying to get more to grow now.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I know what you mean Charlene, we had a very, VERY wet spring a couple of years ago. I planted & replanted (and replanted) my garden to no avail. But then the taps turned off & we were thrown into yet another drought by summer that year. It seems we’ve had about 5-6 consecutive years of drought. Fingers crossed that we get at least moderate moisture this year. ~TxH~

  2. JessB

    Walking onions are AMAZING. I have mine from what was on my parents’ place that they bought over 30 years ago. It’s so cool to think of all the generations of onions that have come off those plants.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      They really are JessB! I’d never had them before and was thrilled with the gift a few years ago. How cool that you have generational walking onions. Love that. ~TxH~

  3. Shirley Taylor

    What a wonderful garden!
    Even though I’m in Oklahoma, I started my garden LATE!
    My green beans had to be planted twice,so they’re only 4 or 5 inches tall,my tomatoes are trying to get started and peppers too.
    My lettuce needs picking but thats all!
    I’ve cut back drastically on my garden space in the last few years.
    Talk about volunteers,I have gorgeous pumpkins flourishing inbetween my fig bushes,right outside my garden and a nice clump of tomato plants that I don’t have room for but can’t bring myself to pull them up!
    All my basil came up volunteer as well as my tithonias that I had last year,and they’re 5 feet tall already!!
    We finally need rain again and it’s coming this weekend.
    Just hope we don’t get toad stranglers!!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Sounds like all is well on its way Shirley. It won’t be long before your harvesting buckets from the garden! And I love your volunteer plants that you can’t bring yourself to pull up. I have the same affliction with all the volunteer cantaloupe vines. I’ve just let ’em go. So far they’re doing a great job providing living mulch for other things to protect them from that harsh summertime summer in a few weeks. Then I’ll have lots of cantaloupe to harvest as well – woo-hoo! ~TxH~

  4. ColleenB.

    Your garden looks great and growing by leaps and bounds.
    I have volunteer tomato and pepper plants that have come up as well
    Nice to get a good bounty of veggies in place of a bounty of weeds……….Right. :}

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I sure wish I’d had volunteer pepper plants Colleen, those are the only plants I actually had to buy this year. But I do think my garden is about to hit its stride and do me proud. ~TxH~

  5. Cynthia D

    What a wonderful way to share the fruits of your garden. A church I attended many years ago did a similar thing on Sundays. Gardeners would bring what they had to share and leave in the church hall and anyone could take what they could use. One year a man with a small peach orchard had hail damage and brought the unsalable peaches in and I had a really good pie that night.

    We have walking onions but have not yet harvested them. Can you eat the top onion as well as the ones in the ground?

    The birds dug up all my corn seeds so I have replanted and the corn is up and I have it covered with a row cover. Of course this is for covering crops to keep them from getting too cold, but since I have corn and green beans under them and the highest it has gotten is 86 I think I have been good so far. Row cover is suppose to add 3 to 6 degrees, but don’t know what full sun all day does to that this time of year. As you say use what you got.

    Love seeing all growing in your garden. Hope you get some gentle rain soon.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I love your church’s way for gardeners to share – I just may suggest that at our church as well. Regarding your question about eating the tops of the walking onions – I’m sure you could eat the tops since they’re just tiny onions. I’ve never eaten them though, much preferring them to make more onion plants for me. Thank you so much for sharing the story of your garden with us Cynthia. Happy gardening! ~TxH~

  6. Ruth

    Here in Michigan we have had too much rain. We are just getting our annuals in the ground. Our asparagus crop was stunted and produced only a fraction of what we had last year. Still keeping the faith. 🙂

    9 Honor the Lord with your wealth,

    with the firstfruits of all your crops;

    10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,

    and your vats will brim over with new wine.
    Proverbs 3:9-10

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      It seems it’s feast or famine with the rain, huh Ruth? We’ve had years that the continuous torrential rain for weeks drowned the garden over & over again (the taps still turned off completely in late spring throwing us into a drought that year). Then we’ve had years like this one – areas all around us getting rain but our space slipping into yet another drought. Even last night heavy rain fell about 4 miles up the road, but here we didn’t get enough to float the floater in our rain gauge. Praying for rain soon! ~TxH~


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