Like I said in a previous post, I once again planted a rather large garden this year. I used all of the same areas as I used last year, plus some extra space that I had to make for the abundance of flowers and vegetables that we purchased this year. Among the new additions, I added about 8 square feet onto my garden, in order to accommodate more broccoli and carrots this year. In fact, I designed the plans for this year’s garden last fall, well after all of my plants had been killed be freezing temperatures. I took into account which vegetables worked well last year, which ones didn’t, and what I could do differently to avoid some of the same problems, especially with fungus, this year. I think it’ll be interesting to see how well my plan actually works this growing season.
I have pretty much all of the same crops growing this year as I did last year. The only thing that I’m not growing this year is cauliflower; instead, I substituted this vegetable for some snow peas, which I have never grown before. You can read more about those below, though. I also made some minor rearrangements, such as putting broccoli plants – and many more of them – in my large garden, and moving the cucumbers to a different place than the garden.
Now that everything has been growing – either inside or outside – for about a month, all I need is for the weather to actually cooperate in allowing for everything to grow and blossom. The month-long span of below-normal temperatures so far in June has not been helpful at all as far as getting the crops off to a good start goes. I am beginning to notice how little growth there has been on any of the plants, flowers and vegetables combined. What would really help is a weeklong period of temperatures above 80°. A couple of days of humid, 90° weather wouldn’t hurt either. Until that comes, if it ever does, I’m afraid this year’s growing season will be less than stellar. Predictions that July in Minnesota will be below-average do not make me feel any better, either. All the sunlight we’re getting this week – these are the longest days of the year – has not helped to warm the temperatures up that much.
Here’s a breakdown of all the vegetables that I planted this year:
I guess I don’t really have much to say about cucumbers. They’re good for a few things, and, after all, they can always be pickled too. We’re going to need warmer temperatures for any success, though.
As I said, I decided to try something new this year, so I planted some peas. I was a little apprehensive about do so, however, because peas are a cold-season vegetable, which means they grow best in temperatures at or below 65°. I thought summer in this part of Minnesota would be too warm for them, but I guess I shouldn’t really have to worry this summer, based on what temperatures have already been. Because June has so far been very favorable for growing peas, it looks as if I might be very successful with them.
I like growing pumpkins and having them around by the time Halloween comes around. Actually, we usually end up taking the remains of what used to legally be called pumpkins out of the potato cellar in mid-April. But anyway, I still like to grow pumpkins. Maybe this year I’ll figure out how to make something that can be eaten out of the pumpkins that I grow. Many people may not realize it, due to Hallmark and the media’s glorification of pumpkins being good only for use as jack-o’-lanterns, but pumpkins can actually be made into many delicious treats.
The zucchini plants that I tried to start from seed really didn’t do well and I finally had to go out to Home Depot to buy a couple of zucchini plants. What hurt my seedlings most of all, I think, was a combination of cold temperatures and strong winds. The lack of warmth didn’t allow them to grow very much, and the strong winds that we had during the time that I planted the seeds broke off what small stems the plants had. Hopefully the two plants that replaced the original seedlings will do better.
I really enjoyed the carrots I grew last year. I would have never even thought of growing carrots had it not been for the fact that one of the complimentary gift seeds from Burpee last year was a package of carrots. I never really knew how much better homegrown carrots could be compared to the ones purchased in the store. Because of my success growing carrots last year, I decided to grow even more this year. I hope they’ll be just as good as last year’s batch.
I expanded the number of broccoli plants this year, so that I would have more after the fire, and largest, head of broccoli grew on the plants. Once broccoli plants grow one large head of broccoli, all that comes up afterward are rather small sprouts that don’t amount to much by themselves. My hope is that if I have more plants producing these smaller heads of broccoli, I will be able to combine them into a sizable amount for eating.
I planted some green bell peppers, which are always my perennial favorite. Besides that, I also have a few jalapeño plants, as well as a cayenne pepper plant. I cut down considerably on the number of hot peppers this year, after the copious amount of jalapeños that I had last year. It only takes a few extremely hot peppers to adequately spice up a dinner, and that is probably an understatement at best.
Finally, I also planted green beans. Like cucumbers, I don’t really have much to say about them, other than everybody loves to have beans once and a while, and many people are usually very willing to accept freshly picked green beans from a garden. Like most of the other vegetables, however, we desperately need some warmer temperatures for the plants to actually grow to a height where they will be able to produce a crop.
Here is a picture of a complete overview of my backyard garden.