This Week in the Garden

After getting most of the work done at the beginning of the season (early May), there tends to be a lull in activity and I feel like I'm watching a pot waiting for it to boil. During this time, I make sure everything is watered, I add plant supports, treat any signs of pest damage, and I keep an eye on how things are generally doing.

Now that it's mid-June, I've had to do a little more to keep things going and the pests have started challenging me. I do a walk-through of the garden almost daily. I don't know if that's obsessive or attentive, but it's the truth.

The Good....

  • All of my tomato plants have started producing flowers, but no fruit yet.
tomato-flowers
  • My lettuce is BURSTING. In fact, some of it is near ready to bolt...time to eat healthy salads every night! I've been harvesting bags of lettuce every week now. Soon, I'll need to think about what to do with the space once the lettuce is done.
lettuce
  • My basil actually started to "pop." For the longest time, the true leaves were just tiny things. Now, they look like they're becoming something edible. I also have basil in my tomato garden beds but, those I started earlier indoors and transplanted.
basil
  • I added supports around my potato plants. I have them in grow bags, and they're growing by leaps and bounds. It was time to add the remaining soil to top it off and make sure they're supported.
potato-plants
  • My garlic, which I planted last October, is still going. This is my first time growing it, so I'm  watching it carefully. It will likely be a July harvest the way it's looking. I have hard neck garlic, which I'm expecting to provide scapes, and some soft neck garlic, which is smaller and by the looks of things, may be ready before the hard neck.  I also wrote about growing garlic on Urban Gardeners Republic blog.
garlic-plants
  • Zucchini flowers are starting to come out. Male flowers only right now, but it's a good sign.
  • The cucumber plants I started from seed indoors are starting to flower also. Others that I started by seed are also doing well. There's a little fungus, but I'm treating with copper fungicide spray.
Zucchinii

Zucchinii

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

The Bad...

  • Aphids, flea beetles, leaf miners....Oh my! 
  • I've noticed white flies on my tomato plants and have been trying insecticidal soap. Hopefully this will do the trick. I've applied it on two occasions now when there were active bugs on there. There doesn't seem to be more bug activity as of yet. I'm also checking the underside of the leaves and wiping off anything that might be eggs they left behind.
  • I may have flea beetles on my eggplant and broccoli leaves. Haven't acted on that yet, as I just noticed it very recently, but I saw very small holes in the leaves and will try to treat them shortly and swiftly. Thankfully, the leaves and plant are fairly mature at this point and may be able to withstand this. Will see...
flea-beetle-damage
  • My carrots haven't come up as much as I thought they would. Just a few have sprouted above the soil. Maybe I'll try adding some more seed and see how it goes.

The New...

I tried something I haven't before -- pruning my pepper plants. I've always had tall, top-heavy pepper plants that have never yielded much. I've been reading more about pruning methods and decided to give it a try. Just in a few days I've seen more growth come in. Stay tuned for video on this as I see how the plants progress (I hope)!

pruned-pepper-plants

This time of year, I always have both anticipation and worry as the garden takes shape. There's so much that can go right and so much can go wrong. This is why I check on things so often. 

I'm Catherine, a small-space urban gardener in New Jersey (Zone 7a) who started gardening out of upcycled wooden wine boxes. For years, I wanted to try gardening, but didn't know where to start. I got up the nerve to give it a try - starting small with a single wooden wine box that turned an idea into reality. That reality quickly turned into my filling every sunny inch of space of my postage-stamp size lawn and turning it into a garden oasis. I grow mostly vegetables and herbs with some exception for fruits (when the squirrels and rabbits don't get to them first). I love learning from gardening communities (and lots of trial and error).

I hope one day to take all that I'm learning and apply it to a larger plot of land. To help me get there, I'm extending my learning through the University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge School of Agriculture's, Sustainable Food & Farming program. (I'm addicted to learning as much as I am to gardening.)

This blog isn't just for gardeners (although I hope it inspires some of you to try growing a plant or two). The recipes (food & cocktails) in theRecipes section of this blog contain ingredients that don't have to come from your own backyard. If you like visiting your local farmer's market(or even your grocery store) and would like to get some new recipes you can use with the fresh produce and herbs you get from your local growers, this blog will have plenty for you too.

In addition to gardening and cooking, I also love to visit and photograph my surroundings. I feel fortunate to have so many amazing places here in New York/New Jersey, where I live and work. Visits to local farms, farmer's markets, and cycling through rural farming areas help me feel connected and refreshed. share these experiences in theExploring section of the blog so that you might visit through proxy or be inspired enough to visit yourself. 

With very few exceptions, all of the photographs on this site are ones I have taken myself. (For the photographers out there, I shoot with a Canon 7D and sometimes with my Lumix  DMC-ZS15 compact camera.) 

I hope this blog inspires you to grow, create, explore, and try something new. The best way to stay up-to-date is to follow me using the social buttons above, or click Subscribe and sign up for my email newsletters.    

Happy Gardening and Healthful Living!

- Catherine