State of the July Garden

State of the July garden
State of the July garden

This monthly post informs you of the state of the July garden. How my garden is growing, what is working and what is not, and lessons I’ve learned along the way. It is said, “experience is the best teacher,” so this reflects my gardening experiences. Follow along and learn with me.

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I have divided my garden up into small plots, each dedicated to a particular type of crop: root, leaf or fruit. This is to help with crop rotation each year. It also keeps my weeding and maintenance tasks limited. I can work in a small 4×8 foot plot, rather than a long row. You can see my garden layout here, and follow along in your mind’s eye as we tour my garden.

2017 Garden plot plan
2017 Garden plot plan

The first four plots are for kitchen herbs. They are located closest to the garden gate, and the kitchen door.

Herb plot 1: My Sage is still growing; it is about 18 inches tall and 12 inches in diameter. The Mint is growing, and trying to jump the barrier around it. The Oregano is growing. I had to cut it back for the second time this season.

In plot 2, I have a small stand of Thyme growing, and two Mammoth Dill plants, which are now seeding.

Plot 3 has a Rosemary plant, two Bee Balm (flowering now), and Sage.

Plot 4 is dedicated to Parsley, Ginger and Chives.

The rest of the garden has vegetable plots.

Plot number 5 has a few leftover Swiss Chard plants and Comfrey. The lettuce and kale were finished and pulled out last month.

Between plots 5 and 6 is a Zucchini plant which is mostly leaves. There are a few flowers, but no fruit yet.

Plot number 6 has a Watermelon plant. It also has flowers, but no fruit yet.

Plot 7 is empty now. It was last year’s root crops, but I pulled everything last month, and am readying it for a summer cover crop of buckwheat.

Number 8 has bush beans, which are almost done producing, and two more small Zucchini plants.

Between plots 8 and 9, I have Romaine lettuce underneath a trellis of beans. I was experimenting with growing lettuce in the shade of the beans. It is just now beginning to bolt, so growing lettuce in shade will extend your harvest season.

Plot number 9 has more Swiss Chard and some Kale. The Swiss chard is dying out, but the Kale is growing back now that it has full sun.

Plot 10 has Tomatoes. This plot has cherry tomatoes and jalapeno peppers. I have been getting hornworm damage on the tomatoes, but I haven’t found any hornworms yet. The cherry tomato harvest is good this year. Also, the jalapeno peppers are being harvested. Along the fence line, I planted Onions and Garlic. The onions are still green and growing. I don’t see any garlic still standing; I’ll have to look closer to see the bulbs.

Plot 11 was the potato plot. Now it is Zucchini and Eggplant. They are all very small, and not producing much yet. I also have a few Fern Leaf Dill plants, which are seeding.

Plot 12 was to be a fallow plot, but it was planted in spaghetti squash. That is dying out now. There are several ripe spaghetti squash. I also have some beans that are also at end of life. This is another plot to be replanted with a summer crop.

Plot 13 is my inter-planted crop. I couldn’t really tell how this plot grew, and it seems to be dying out also. I will have to re-think my interplanting experiment for fall, to keep it in some semblance of order.

Plot 14 is large tomatoes. I did find three hornworms on this group of plants, but something else is eating the tomatoes. I’m not sure what yet. We have better success with cherry tomatoes than with regular-sized tomatoes this year. We have harvested several large tomatoes so far.

Plot 15 is planted in corn. I have harvested the ears, and the plot needs to be dug up to get ready for the next planting.

Plot 16 was another fallow lot. There’s not much there now.

Plot 17 held Cantaloupes. We harvested two cantaloupes, then I saw a third one, but it was picked and eaten by an animal before we could pick it.

Plots18 and 19 were planted in Pumpkins. The plants have died now, but we got 7 small pumpkins from them. My wife took the pumpkins and made pumpkin pies from scratch, and I kept the seeds.

I have Malabar spinach growing along the fence here. It was “volunteer” from last year. I read that Malabar Spinach is a perennial plant, but it dies after it seeds, and new plants grow from the seeds. I heard of Malabar Spinach several years ago when someone suggested it would make a great sun screen on the side of my trailer. We put up trellises along the south side, and it did a good job of shading the trailer. Plus, we ate the leaves.

Growing along the Northwest fence, I have more Malabar spinach, as well as Cucumbers. The Cucumbers are pretty much dried out, but I have two cucumbers I’m saving for seeds.

And that’s it for the state of the July garden. If you want to keep up with my gardening experiments with more virtual tours, sign up below. You will also receive monthly garden planting lists and weekly gardening information reminders to keep your garden on track.

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