This Week in the Garden - June 20

This is the time of year when my garden activity is much like watching a pot, waiting for it to boil. Everything's been planted, I've started observing or trying to treat minor issues here and there, but overall, I'm just waiting.....and waiting.....and waiting. Summer will literally be upon us tomorrow and it certainly feels like it too.

I had a good Swiss chard harvest so far and will bring more in this weekend. I'm using succession planting with the chard, so when I put in the transplants in April, I added more seed, and when I harvested the other day, I added more seed. I hope to have a steady stream of chard....one of my favorites. I do the same kind of planting with lettuce. A couple bulbs of my fennel look ready to eat, so I'll take those in this weekend as well. Herbs, of course, are always being "snipped" now and added to meals. I love being able to eat seasonally. I go out and see what's fresh and ripe and plan my cooking around it. 

Gardening in the 'burbs is not without it's odd challenges. We had a 4-week interruption of our deck/yard due to having our deck stained....and sort of stained again (fiasco project) ....amidst some rainy weather. I've got deck stain on a couple of my broccoli leaves, I think someone must have leaned their body into my potatoes, tossed something into my dill, and I kept having to remove heavy canvas tarps that were parked on my coleus plant day in and day out, but...things are getting back to normal and I have control of my garden once again.

I've always known pollinators were important and I've tried to plant things like sunflowers, lavender and other flowering plants to attract bees and butterflies. This year, I'm stepping up my efforts. I planted two different kinds of milkweed, salvia and hyssop along with sunflowers and lavender this year. I even got a mason bee house to help encourage native bees in the garden. I'm concerned about a lot of the spraying activity trends I'm seeing in our area in the last couple of years - particularly the mosquito spray companies. It seems that they are spraying "natural" products, but those can even have an impact on other insects and pollinators. My concern is more of a suspicion at this point than anything scientifically definite, but it worries me a bit. I want to do everything I can to encourage pollinators. Other flowering plants like marigolds and calendula have also been introduced as benefits to main crops.

Here's a quick tour of the garden as it is now with some photos below. Let me know what's going on in your garden!

Tiger Swallowtail visits the garden

Tiger Swallowtail visits the garden

Potatoes

Potatoes

Fennel

Fennel

Broccoli

Broccoli

Rutgers Tomatoes

Rutgers Tomatoes

Eggplant

Eggplant

 

 

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