Garden Update: June

by Tammy Taylor


Well this has been a strange year indeed for the NE Texas gardener.   In May our area received almost daily torrential rainfall and much flooding.  Of course this was AFTER I planted my tender little seedlings from my indoor greenhouse.  I attempted to replant from seed directly into the garden but they drowned as well.  Third time’s a charm…  Come see how my garden’s making out these days…

Come with me for a stroll through my veggie garden. Yes it's been a challenge but I'm determined to harvest at least a small amount this year #TexasHomesteader

Although May was wet, wet, wet – June greeted us with hot, hot, HOT.  The rain taps were turned off completely and temps soared to near-record highs causing brand new struggles in the garden.

Deep Mulching Fail?

Y’all remember this year I’m experimenting with the “deep-mulch” method of gardening to thickly lay hay mulch in not only the raised beds but also the walkways to eliminate weeds? I had RancherMan drop a full roll of winter-grass hay into my fenced garden where I then spread it out over the entire garden area – walkways and all. It’s supposed to eliminate the grass & weeds that we usually have to mow in the walkways and also eliminate the hand-pulling of the grass that always reaches the raised beds causing so much work every year.

Deep mulch system fail. Come with me for a stroll through my veggie garden. Yes it's been a challenge but I'm determined to harvest at least a small amount this year #TexasHomesteader

Well, it worked… Kinda. Oh the mulch did keep the weeds away but during that wet spring we suffered through the Bermuda runners grew like banshees through the fence & OVER the hay mulch and set roots into the hay as it marched inward toward and into my raised beds. (sigh…) Now RancherMan can’t mow it because the ground’s covered with about of foot of loose hay so it’s a jungle in there that I’ll have to clear by hand.

Epic fail?? Not really, I think the weird wet weather pattern both prevented me from needed maintenance before it got out of hand as well as driving the Bermuda grass to grow with significantly increased vigor.  If you don’t battle Bermuda grass (or if you have a way to control it) I’d say give it a try, it can save lots of back-bending work.

How about the veggie plants?  Well let’s see, I do have tiny cucumbers beginning to show so I’m pretty pleased about that.  I’ll be eating a few cucumbers fresh but I’ll be focusing on making dill pickles and sweet relish with them too.

Elephant Garlic Harvest

And I was able to harvest a nice group of elephant garlic this month.  After the plants were dug up I stripped away the outside membranes and the garlic is currently curing on a table on our back porch.  When they’re fully cured I’ll wrap the stems with string & hang them in my pantry.

Elephant garlic harvest. Come with me for a stroll through my veggie garden. Yes it's been a challenge but I'm determined to harvest at least a small amount this year #TexasHomesteader

I saved the bulblets that form on the garlic cloves and I’ll be reworking the row where the garlic plants were harvested.  I’ll plant those bulblets back into the row and mulch over them so they can grow for next year’s harvest.

My concord grapes are going crazy and producing very well.  Now that the wet weather is behind us I need to focus on tying up the vines so they’ll continue to grow laterally along the fence.  I’m excited to harvest grapes soon as some of them are just beginning to turn purple.


Daily garden tasks have certainly increased, I went from pulling mulch away from my plants so they could dry out to adding lots of our spent straw mulch to moderate the soil temperatures and conserve moisture.  I’m using the captured rainwater from my rain barrel as well as our underground cistern to keep those tender plants watered daily.

I have many bell pepper plants growing. A few survived the month-long water deluge and I also purchased some tiny seedlings recently to replace the ones that succumbed last month.  These tiny plants are no more than a couple of inches high. But my hope is that once they take off we’ll have as many bell peppers as we can eat & still plenty to preserve through dehydration!


I can’t believe I had a couple of spaghetti squash survive the second seed planting.  The plants appear to be healthy and growing. But I was beyond dismayed to go into the garden one day and see the dreaded coppery-colored eggs on the back of the leaves, as well as some adult squash bugs.

Squash Bug Eggs on leaves. Come with me for a stroll through my veggie garden. Yes it's been a challenge but I'm determined to harvest at least a small amount this year #TexasHomesteader

Y’all know how disastrous they can be, killing kill your plants overnight!  So I sprang into action, incorporating the Homestead Hack I told y’all about a few days ago to eliminate them and I’ve not seen another squash bug nor any more eggs, but I’ll certainly be diligent and check several times a day just to make sure.

The blackberries (dewberries?) produced well this year but now that the harvest is over I’m tying up the vines so they’ll grow along the fence.  I was lucky this year and harvested plenty of blackberries to make my handsome RancherMan several batches of his favorite Blackberry Cobbler and I still have plenty of frozen berries to enjoy throughout the year.

The onions are done for the year as well.  Although I didn’t get near the harvest I was hoping for because of the rain, I was gifted some Egyptian walking onions from a very sweet friend.  I plopped them into the wet muddy soil, covered ’em with mulch & hoped for the best.  So far they’re doing fine and I should be blessed with a great harvest later on.  For now I’ll just cover them thickly with straw mulch & let them do their thing.

Tomatoes were a bust this year, both from the seedlings planted this spring as well as the seeds sewn directly into the soil.  I buckled & bought some sad tiny tomato plants the same time I bought the bell pepper plants – the jury is out on whether or not they’ll make it with this harsh weather shift.  One’s gone, two left to struggle on…

3-Sisters Garden

As I typically do, I planted a Three-Sisters Garden – corn to grow tall and provide support for pole beans, which use the corn’s support to grow upward and sugar pumpkin to cover the soil to protect it from the sun, both corn & pumpkin using the nitrogen the beans provide for stronger growth.  It’s a very symbiotic relationship & I love it.

Unfortunately, yeah, you guessed it…  I did get a couple of the corn plants to actually germinate & survive, and although I planted numerous sugar pumpkins only one of those survived.  Still “kinda” like a 3-sister’s garden, just a sister short…  LOL

The peanuts I planted this year are still alive & kickin’, although they’re somewhat stunted.  The wet/cool May caused the rye grass to grow tall & strong, shading out my peanuts.  Now that the heat of June has arrived and the rye is dying out I’m leaving the rye grass roots and about 2″ of the stem to shade the soil the peanuts are growing in – I expect to see the peanuts take off now!  But I’ve never grown peanuts before, does anyone know when it’s time to harvest?  I’m assuming the same as potatoes, after they bloom & the plant dies but any advice would be appreciated.

The row of green beans had the same problem as the peanuts with the tall rye grass shading them out, but I’m doing the same thing in this row, leaving the stubble of the dead rye grass to help the beans along.  I see signs of life in that row, plus I planted another secret handful at the edge of one of my raised beds so one way or the other I’ll get at least a small harvest of green beans from this planting.  I’ll be planting another row of green beans in the coming days too – gotta have those fresh green beans!


So there ya go, a quick stroll through my veggie garden.  Yes it’s been a challenge this year but I’m determined to squeak though and have at least a small amount to harvest this year.   How’s your garden doing?


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16 thoughts on “Garden Update: June

  1. Terri Presser

    Thanks for the update, sounds like a tough season, hopefully you will get enough to do what you want. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      One way or another Terri, I’m determined to get at least something from the struggling garden this year! ~TxH~

  2. Carole West @ Garden Up Green

    Well our gardens look pretty similar and I’m not far from you so experiencing the same issues. However I’m doing an awesome job collecting rain water. LOL – looks like I might have a couple zucchinis, beans have been wonderful and I brought in some zinnias yesterday. Hoping my broccoli and carrots keep plugging along. Cucumbers well they are finally climbing up. I do most of my planting in the fall, was bummed because most of my strawberries rotted. Always a learning process with the weather.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Yeah, rainwater collection is going extremely well Carole. LOL. I’ve not given up on the garden yet but it’s a struggle to get back on top of the Bermuda grass. RancherMan & I are in the process of revamping things for next year’s garden to sidestep the Bermuda issue… ~TxH~

  3. Kristi Stone

    Wow, Tammy, you’ve got a lot going on! Your weather out there has been so weird! In California, it’s not been AS weird, but then again, how would I know, we are living in another location than we were last year at this time. The whole microclimate is a new learning experience, that’s for sure! I tried to grow peanuts a few years ago and wasn’t successful. My husband eats them like crazy, so I’m positive I’d never be able to grow enough to keep him satisfied, but I wanted to try my hand at it anyway. I’ll be watching to see how things turn out for you. I did some stuff with straw this year too. I mulched around my plants in the garden with the straw in my compost pile (with rabbit poop mixed in). It has worked out ok, but I think next time I’ll add clean hay instead—to much nitrogen for some plants, I think. All in all, it was great to keep weeds at bay, but it wasn’t a good way to get an accurate look at how the plants really do because of that extra nitrogen. Thanks for the peek into your garden!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      It’s always difficult to figure out a completely different climate than the one you’re used to Kristi. Good for you for repurposing that mulch! So far our peanuts are doing pretty well. The annual march of the grasshoppers has begun and many of my plants are being attacked, but they really don’t seem to care much for the peanuts. PLUS those legumes are adding nitrogen right back to the soil so even if I don’t get a crop I know I’m improving the soil. I’ll be interested in seeing how this all plays out… ~TxH~

      1. Kristi Stone

        Yeah, I figure it will take a couple of years to get a handle on how things are in this new place. I’m trying to pull together a system that works for taking notes to refer back to in coming years, so we’ll see how that works out. God be with your garden during that grasshopper march! And may there be enough for both of you! 😀

  4. Beverly

    One more thing. Take a look at YouTube videos on peanut diggers and peanut combines. This will give you an idea of how peanuts are harvested on a farm. It’s very interesting! Enjoy!

  5. Beverly

    I live out in west Texas where there is a lot of peanuts grown. The farmers here will dig their peanuts beginning in late September before a hard frost or freeze can happen. You want to make sure you do this before the vines die because once the vine has died, it will separate itself from the peanuts leaving the peanuts in the ground. That will make for a difficult harvest getting the peanuts out of the dirt. With a semi-wet ground, peanut diggers will dig the peanuts out of the ground and turn the plant upside down with the peanuts on top to dry. Once the peanuts have dried, then the peanut combine will harvest the peanuts and take on to a processor. I realize this is a description of a large scale farming operation but I would assume you could follow the same practice and be able to get a nice peanut harvest from your garden. Can’t wait to see how your peanuts turn out! Have fun!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      That’s awesome Beverly – thanks for the information! You’re so sweet to share this information. ~TxH~

  6. Vanessa D.

    I’ve been keeping a weekly photo record of my vegetable garden this year – it’s so much fun to see how things are coming along from week to week. I’m a lot more northern than you, so our weather has been different from yours other than the wet part.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      A weekly photo journal sounds like a fun idea Vanessa. It’s so fulfilling to see your garden progress. ~TxH~

  7. Judith C

    It’s wasn’t my own idea… I got it from a book that I have had since 1978! Suzanne’s Garden Secrets. You can still get it on Amazon. It’s a fantastic book that EVERY gardener needs. I just looked it up and it’s only $3.50! Her idea was that bugs don’t like the smell of the death of their own so they leave. And believe me it works!!! I went to Good Will and bought an old blender, one that I dedicated to only garden concoctions, she has other tips in the book besides the bug goo. Just catch a bunch of squash bugs and blend them up and spray them on the garden and watch the bugs evacuate. Of course back in 1978 I didn’t have YouTube or anyway of filming the mass exodus but you may get rich off the video now days. I just hope you share the proceeds with Ms Suzanne.

  8. Judith C

    Bermuda grass!!!! It’s so aggravating, won’t grow where you want it like under trees, but grows like crazy where it shouldn’t be. I got rid of squash bugs in our garden one year by making a spray made of water, dish soap and…… squash bugs!!!! Yeah, it was gross but it really worked. When I sprayed the plants the live bugs actually took off out of the garden and ran across the road. It would have been an awesome video.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      LOL Judith. I have quite a visual (but I’ll admit I love it!) I just may have to give that a try. ~TxH~


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