Vegetable Garden – early June

This is the time of year that gardeners love.

Everything is growing so well, so fast. Plants are beginning to bear fruit or will be soon. In the middle and late summer everything slows down and it’s just too hot to spend much time on the garden. In the fall, there’s a touch of melencoly, knowing that winter is coming to put an end to your gardening. But for now, enjoy it while you can!

Mid-May

Here’s a pair of photos taken about a month apart. The first was taken in mid-May. The second (same shot) was taken the first weekend in June. The growth has been very gratifying.

But oddly enough, this is making me question one of the central tenants of the square foot gardening method.

Unlike that method, I have only barely raised beds. They are no more than 3-4 inches above the surounding soil. And, instead of the lightweight soil mix of equal parts  peat/ vermiculite/compost I’m using bags of topsoil with the occasional addition of a bag of compost or manure laid over the bed and lightly mixed in. The soil I’m growing in is much denser

Yet despite that, the things I’ve planted are overwhelming the space they are planted in. I did not use a grid to insure that I was planting in perfect one-foot squares. I’m sure my plantings

Early June

were looser and with wider spacing than a proper square-foot garden would be. But even with that extra space and denser soil, they are now becoming crowded.

Yes, I know – the picture from early June has some space in the lower left. Lord knows how crowded it would have been if I had planted there as well.

The cucumber plants (lower right) are getting thick. I had been poking around in them trying to see if any tiny cucumbers were coming along

when, to my suprise, I found a five-inch cucumber ready to be picked!

On the right of this picture, our peas have grown up the trellis and out of the frame. To my suprise, they are still bearing in spite of the very warm weather. The tomatoes (center) are growing at a good rate and have green tomatoes on them (just above marigold, center-left).

But not everything is doing well. I also planted several tomatoes in a bed in the back of the condo. They are getting stretchy due to not enough sunlight. However, what really worries me is that, starting about a week ago, the new growth at the top was appearing stunted and shriveled. It wasn’t wilting and none of the information I could find seem to describe the problem. However, I found one brief mention that seemed to match what I was seeing. It’s possible that the lawn maintenence people may have been indescriminently spraying heracides in the area. The damage I was seeing could have been caused by that.

Maintenance crews usually take the lazy way out and just spray anything they don’t recognize. And since they are hiring cheap labor rather than smart labor, they often don’t know that sprays can drift from where you spray them. My wife won’t eat tomaotes from a plant that has been sprayed with herbicides so I’m going to have to dig them up and plant new ones.

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