Letters to Gardening Friends, June 28, 2009

Dear Dee and Mary Ann and gardening friends everywhere,

Greetings from my back patio where I’m enjoying a beautiful evening listening to birds chirping in the trees and watching the antics of a couple of yellow finches out in the garden. There’s a nice breeze and the high temperatures in the 90’s that we had most of last week are gone now, at least for awhile.

Out in the garden, I finally pulled out the pea vines and the bolted lettuce and weeded and hoed all the beds this morning. Now my garden is officially a summer garden as I wait for the summer crops to ripen. It’s all about green beans, squash, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and corn from here on out.

And I am waiting. For some reason, I have a lot of little squash on the “Eight Ball’ and ‘One Ball’ plants but they don’t seem to be getting bigger. I’m not too happy with the plants in general -- I think they should be larger than they are. It’s definitely a soil fertility issue and not a variety issue because all the squash plants are smaller this year. The beds I planted them in are back along the fence, and I don’t recall adding compost to them earlier this spring. I’ll have to remedy that with a dose of liquid organic fertilizer.

But the green beans look great, and it is just a matter of time before I’m picking them. Honestly, I’ve never had such vigorous plants or seen so many blooms on each plant. I’m really expecting a bumper crop this year.

The peppers are so-so. I’ve had better but given how small the plants were when I planted them out, I’m not going to complain. Plus, as I’ve said before, I don’t really care for peppers, unless they are chopped up small and added to something like salsa, so most of what I grow I give away.

I’m watching the corn closely right now because I’ve got an early variety from Botanical Interests called ‘Spring Treat’ that is tasseling already and I can see the little silks of the ears just forming. The packet of seeds had enough seeds for only two four foot long rows, so I hope that is enough to get good pollination of the ears. The other corn looks good, too, but isn’t as far along. I am growing a spaghetti squash in with the corn, hoping that keeps any raccoons out. I’ll let you know how that goes.

You know how I was worried earlier about my tomato plants being so small? Well, they’ve caught up with and surpassed the one tomato plant I did buy. After all these years of growing vegetables, I should remember how fast tomato plants, and really all the vegetables grow with sun, rain, and good soil. The picture above is of a cluster of ‘Red Currant’ tomatoes starting to ripen. Mary Ann, that’s a hint about this year’s tomato contest, but that is the only hint you get.

Dee, the only reason I was able to sit out on the patio in the evening to write this letter was because I was using the Herbal Insect Repellant from Burt’s Bees that you told me about. Otherwise, I would have had all the blood sucked out of me by voracious mosquitoes by the time I finished this letter. They seem pretty bad this year.

And with that, I think I will finish this letter with wishes for you, and everyone, for a bountiful summer garden.

Flowers and veggies for all,

P.S. Here are a few pictures of the garden, taken when it was quite sunny, around 5:00 pm.

This is from the usual spot where I stand to take a weekly picture.The sunflowers are finally tall enough to block the view.

So I went to the other end of the garden and tried to take a picture from there.The corn is blocking that view.

Finally, I got out a ladder and climbed it to get a good aerial view.And that's the garden this week! How's your garden growing?


  1. Indy, you cannot have a tomato contest without O-fish-ally publishing the rules. I am waiting.

    BTW, nice looking mulch ya got there.

  2. We had our Annual Rose Viewing yesterday, and some visitors wandered down the new path from the Rose Walk to the Potager. I went with one group - and noticed that the sugar snap peas have started. We tested and tasted them. they are very sweet and snappy. Things are much more progressed in your garden but I am patient.

  3. Still raining here in New England and with little sun, the garden is stalled. Lots of wet though. Will have to post...right after I weed. Your garden looks marvelous.

  4. Thanks for the effort of the aerial view! Darn that corn and sunflowers.

    Our weather has finally turned into summer, into the 90's for us.

  5. We have some tomatoes forming, which kind of surprised me.

  6. I call the peppers! If you're not using them, I'll take them off your hands!

  7. Might I ask what you have in the pathways?


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