by Texas Homesteader ~
The garden got off to a slow start this year due to family illness and changes in the garden area itself. We ripped up the raised beds and built a fence separating the garden into 2 parts – one part for a more-efficiently laid out garden and the other part for the chicken run.
I’m loving the symbiotic relationship between chickens & garden and so far it’s working great! But now it’s June and the garden is really ramping up for the year. C’mon through my garden gate and see what’s going on…
Because of the torrents of rain we endured for weeks on end, there were some casualties in the garden. Many of my tomato plants have yellowed off. And there are yellowed leaves on many of my different squashes but I think they’ll all make it. I don’t have the same optimism for some of my pepper plants.
But there are many successes going on the in garden too. I always plant a 3-sister’s garden (Corn / squash / pole beans) but it’s never really done much.
This year I once again planted my 3-Sister’s Garden with heirloom corn, heirloom pumpkin for the natural ground cover and pole beans called “asparagus beans” because they typically grow prolifically.
This year my 3-Sister’s Garden is going like gangbusters – yea! I’m weaving the pumpkin vine in & out of the corn stalks to more fully cover the ground to moderate soil temps as well as conserve moisture for all three plant varieties. And the green beans are trailing up the corn nicely.
I hated to have to buy tomato plants. But given my lack of attention this year to my indoor greenhouse I had a high failure rate this year & I had to buy hybrid tomato plants.
But WAIT! What’s do I see??!! A volunteer tomato has sprouted. Now I know these are my beloved heirloom San Marzanos because that’s what was in the garden.
Between the tomato plants I purchased and my heirloom San Marzanos, looks like there will be plenty of tomatoes preserved from the garden this year.
And with the change-up in the garden layout, I planted a row of mammoth sunflowers along the fenceline that splits the chicken area from the garden area.
I plant mammoth sunflowers in my garden every year for two reasons: My mother always remarks how beautiful they look in the garden when she visits. Plus sunflowers are my faves too. And c’mon there’s nothing wrong with a veggie garden being pretty too!
But this year there’s yet a 3rd reason – these large sunflowers are planted on the west side of the new chicken area. So they’ll offer them shade during the heat of our typical Texas summers. Gotta love it!
They’re starting to bud so I’ll be sharing pictures of their glory on our ~Texas Homesteader~ Facebook Page soon, so be watching!
And those concord grapes? Oh my, it’s gonna be a great crop this year. Last year I made them into grape juice because RancherMan loves juice in all forms plus I already had enough jelly for the year. But I may try grape jelly with some of them this year.
The other things in the garden are toodling along fine, but nothing to crow about. The bell peppers that survived the flood are finally starting to grow again but no peppers yet. The spaghetti squash vine, watermelon and green beans are all growing ok too, just nothing to harvest yet.
The summer squash was planted later than usual this year due to the fact that I really, REALLY didn’t know RancherMan loved yellow squash! But it’s starting to put on some tiny squash so there’ll be plenty soon.
The edible landscape garden on the other hand is going along GREAT! The cantaloupe vines are covering the soil beautifully and are even starting to produce cantaloupe for me. The carrots are growing better than they have in previous years – I’ve already harvested lots of carrots for our suppers for several nights.
When I harvest carrots I try to chose carefully which ones to pick so I can thin the line and give the others more room to grow larger. There will be more carrots in the coming weeks before they give up the ghost from that Texas summer heat. In the meantime I love that they’re doing just what I planted them to do – their lacy tops beautify my ‘flowerbed’ while the carrots are also offering food. Win/win.
And I planted a zucchini plant to anchor my edible landscape, I think the plant itself is beautiful & eye catching, plus, you know, FOOD! I’m starting to harvest that zucchini now and have enjoyed it as a seasoned side dish but I’ll be making zucchini noodles seasoned with olive oil herb bombs often!
Although the amount of veggies I’m harvesting fresh for our supper many nights is still small, it won’t be small for long! Gotta love veggies picked fresh minutes before their preparation for a meal.
So there ya go – a far cry from last year’s garden & I’ll be swimming in fresh produce soon! How’s your garden doing this year.
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I also live in NE Texas so have the same struggles you’ve faced this year, but with different results.
We planted last week of April. Everything but our beans, corn, melons, and squash are planted in raised beds. Our bean of choice is the Romano and we got so many beans from 3 40′ rows we won’t plant them again for probably 3 years. (1 row 2′ wide planted 3 across offset) This is our usual cycle with a good crop and this years was again great!
Our corn has done very well and we harvested our first planting last weekend and our second planting will be this weekend. We plant hybrid (Gotta have it from Gurneys) in the spring and heirloom in the fall. Very full cobs this year after last years spring wash-out.
Tomatoes and peppers both started out great then we had a bad aphid infestation. We saved most of the affected plants but it stunted their growth and we’re still fighting. We garden pesticide free so it’s an ongoing battle.
Carrot harvest is over. We planted 3 different types in the fall and got some huge carrots in late Spring! First time to plant fall carrots for us so still learning. Our bunnies and pig enjoyed the excess tops and trimmings.
Our fall planted garlic was very successful with our saved bulbs producing huge bulbs this year. Some bulbs were bigger than apples! Our store bought garlic bulbs were also productive but much smaller.
Our February planted onions were mixed. We planted 3 different types and got some good onions and some that never grew a sizable bulb. The Texas 1015 produced the best this year for us.
Every year gardening is an adventure. I tend to lose a little interest around this time of year regarding upkeep due to the local climate, but we are blessed with a fall planting here in Texas. Last year was our first year planting a fall crop but we did get a good fall corn crop, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, and broccoli. Going to try fall tomatoes this year too (will need to start from seed probably, we couldn’t find any transplants in the fall last year).
Good luck gardeners! Every year is a new adventure.
What great gardening information you’ve shared for this fellow Texan, Mike. Thanks! I’ve only planted a fall garden once but you’re right, it grows GREAT! My problem with planting in the fall is that I have debilitating allergies to Ragweed – allergy meds just laugh at my severely swollen eyes and nasal passages! I’m able to plant the fall garden in August and get it watered enough to get it started, but around the first of September ragweed rears its ugly head for 6-8 weeks. I can’t be outside to water, so if Mother Nature offers us a helpful hand I’m able to pull it off. But if not…. I may try again this year since we’ve changed our garden layout – because Fall gardening is the BOMB! Cooler weather, less bug pressure, and more enjoyable overall. Thanks for dropping by! ~TxH~
Your garden looks great! We had weeks on end of torrential rain and then BAM nothing for the last 2 weeks in south Texas. Already having highs in the 100’s! I hope your garden continues to prosper for you!!
Thank you for sharing at Merry Monday!
Ugh, I know what you mean Amanda. We knew the taps would dry up here too when summer approached and it’s certainly done that. Grrrrrr…. I typically keep the garden watered with the rainwater stored in an underground 18-ft deep cistern but our irrigation hose split and spewed the entire contents of the cistern out while we were away. Praying for rain SOON to at least partially refill it! ~TxH~
Your garden looks wonderful. I hope the weather cooperates so your garden is as productive as you intended. I planted sun flowers this year too. I want them to attract bees to the garden plus I’m going to dry the seeds, store them in quart jars using our Seal-A-Meal jar adapter and save them for our chickens next year. Doesn’t hurt to have them stored now, ready to use when we get our chickens. LOL
I’ve also added lots of different flowers around the inside border of the garden to attract bees, butterflies and ladybugs. So far so good……….a sweet bee came right up to my face yesterday while I was weeding. I got so excited! I even talked to it out loud and said that I was so happy to see her and welcome to the garden. My heart was singing with joy!
This is our first year gardening here at our new property. Terrible hard clay – lots of failures with our seedlings, but they flopped in time to buy *ugh* transplants. I added compost mixed with mint straw and it seems to be working. Peppers, tomatoes, kohlrabi, peppers, onions (red & yellow), potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, sweet potatoes, bush beans, peas, honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon. Our garden is 109-feet x 54-feet, raised mounds (30-inches) and walkways about 18-inches. Seventeen 44-feet rows. You’ll find me in the garden around 7:00am every morning until almost dark – WEEDING, WEEDING and more WEEDING. But it’s flourishing so I’m happy. We also have a huge area that is covered in the most delicious, seedless, purple grapes (came with the property). We’ve brought them back to production and we can easily be over-run with beautiful grapes – yummy snacks while weeding too.
Here’s hoping we ALL have productive gardens this year and that all the new bees live happily in the hives and produce beautiful honey.
Happy Day To You ~ Bobbie
OMGoodness Bobbie, that’s a huge garden! It sounds like although it’s a new location for you, you’re amending your beds beautifully and well on your way to a very productive garden. It’s a lot of work but oh my how incredibly rewarding, huh? What’s your preferred method of food preservation? Canning? Dehydrating? Freezing? I find I really like dehydration for longer term, freezing for shorter term (and ease) and canning only as a last resort. I hate to put that heat & humidity in our kitchen during those hot/humid Texas summers! I still like to can but try to focus on that in the earlier or later parts of the season when it’s more comfortable. Good luck with your incredible garden!! ~TxH~
I love concord grapes! We only get them once per summer in our CSA box, wish we got more! Thanks for sharing your garden update on Simply Natural Saturday!
I’m really excited about our Concord crop this year Beth! ~TxH~
Your garden looks great! The concord grapes look so healthy! I hope your tomatoes do well! We’ve had to put a barrier around ours (in NC) to keep the deer out – they’ve been eating the tops of the tomato plants! Thanks for sharing the photos of your ranch! Blessings, Janet
RancherMan would LOVE to have more deer here Janet, but I’m pretty pleased that I don’t have to compete with them for my garden. Rabbits are plentiful around here but it’s so much easier to keep rabbits out than deer! ~TxH~
While your squash is blooming you can have an added treat: fried squash blossoms. I check them for critters, rinse them and pat them dry, then I make a light pancake batter, dip, pan-fry and serve with maple syrup. YUM!
I just love your blog and your pretty cattle.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful life. 🙂
I’ve heard of fried squash blooms, although I’ll admit I’ve never eaten them before. Hummm… Thank you for your sweet comment, Robin! ~TxH~
Your garden is looking great! I took pictures of ours this morning and will be sharing soon.
I’m so pleased at the progress so far in the garden, Lori. Some years it’s a struggle from day one – last year was a complete bust. This year’s garden looks to be attempting to make up for it. 🙂 ~TxH~
I love your garden! I wish I could do the same. We are having such drought conditions here in CA, that I just haven’t done much with a garden. Hopefully the water levels will rise again in the next couple of years and mine will look as good as yours! Enjoy all your yummy fruits and vegs!
Oh no, Pamela! We’ve had several consecutive years of drought here too, although the last couple of years it seems to rain buckets in the spring – enough to kill off the garden despite repeated plantings, then the rain taps turn off completely about the first of June for weeks on end, baking the poor plants. I’d resorted to container gardening last year so I could at least satisfy the harvest urge by planting a few small things in large containers. It saw me through, although the frustration over the drought was tremendous. Here’s hoping there’s some of the wet stuff in store for y’all soon. ~TxH~
Your garden looks great. You’re way ahead of ours! But ours is coming along slowly but surely. I picked my first four pickling cucumbers this weekend! (and two that are way overgrown)
How exciting Cheryl! I picked a couple of eensy tiny cucumbers too – hoping to make the little gherkins sweet pickles with them. ~TxH~
Your garden looks great. considering the weather we have had. Looks like you should have a good pumper of veggies, etc. The grapes look fantastic. I would end up eating more right off the vine than what I would bring in to use for canning grape jelly
With all the rain, I did remove some of the straw mulch away from the base of my tomato and pepper plants, plus I trimmed off the bottom stems of my tomatoes just high enough so none of the stems are touching the ground.
Had shower of rain this morning early; 3 inches in fact.
Yeah, I’ve been trying to keep the mulch pulled away from plants too Colleen. You know how Texas weather is – too much rain at first and then none at all, so that mulch has gone back & forth – LOL! We got a little shower here too, but nowhere near 3″! ~TxH~
Lookin good to me. We aren’t able to pick anything yet but have bush beans about an inch long. So it won’t be too long. We are going to grow sunflowers next year, we feed a lot of birds. Hoping this will help.
How are the bees doing?
OMGosh the bees are doing GREAT Tonia! We inspect the hives each Monday so we’ll be going in to check it out this afternoon. We’ll be fogging for varroa mites – we haven’t seen them yet but we know they must be there! ~TxH~
Our spring garden is about done and we have just about finished planting for the summer heat. I planted yellow squash and zuchinni seed directly into the garden and none came up. We had such a wet spring that I think they just didn’t make it. I started butternut squash, pumpkin, tomato, peppers, and egg plant in the house and they are doing well. Plus potatoes and carrots that were started as seed in the garden. We have also planted artichoke this year. I am not sure how this will do here in zone 7. They usually take 2 years to produce. I have some ginger plants this year too and this is something new for us also. One plant I ordered from a catalog and I found a sprouting root at the grocery store and planted it. I have been told they will take 2 years to produce too. These 2 plants are completely new to me so I will just read and see what works or not here.
Hoping a good growing season for all that plant.
I’ve been interested in ginger as well Cynthia. I’d be excited to know how it does for you. I love artichoke but I’ve never planted it. Sounds like you have some old faves as well as some exciting less often planted crops too. Have fun! ~TxH~
A 4th reason to plant sunflowers is most honey bees like them, I know mine do. So I always plant a variety of sunflowers in and around my garden.
Since we are raising bees this year, this might be a delightful treat for them, huh Shannon? ~TxH~
It looks great Tammy. I’m glad it’s a good year for you in the garden…
It’s doubly exciting for me John, I’m trying something new to attempt to FINALLY win the war against encroaching bermuda grass. So far it seems to be working! ~TxH~