See what's growing here in the all-natural gardens at Dogwood Pond Farms. In this mid-summer garden tour, you will see what is working well and what isn't in my no-till, organic gardens.
It's August, so it's time for an update on the garden. If you want to see what the garden looked like a month before this, check out my last garden update tour here. Otherwise, take a look at the video below to see what's going on in this mid-summer garden tour.
Soil occultation is a process that I wanted to test out this year in my new garden. Since I added a lot of composted manure, I knew I would have a major weed problem, so I used a tarp to cover the garden in the hopes that the weed seeds would germinate with the heat of the tarp. With not enough light and air, the weed seeds would then die and feed the soil with organic material. To see my full post and video about this no-till gardening method, take a look over here.
Soil occultation didn't work for me this time. I either didn't leave the tarp on long enough, or it didn't get hot enough under the tarp to germinate all the seeds. Either way, I have had a lot of weeding to do. I think soil occultation is a good practice as a no-till, organic method, and I will probably try it again at some point.
Unfortunately, there's no easy way to get rid of weeds. I wouldn't recommend spraying your weeds with anything. You can minimize weeds by mulching with something like straw or shredded leaves. This will help keep weeds down and provides lots of other benefits as well.
Ensure that you have good soil health. Adding lots of organic material will help to improve the quality of your soil and help minimize the weeds.
For insects, I try to let nature take its course. I interplant and companion plant as much as possible to try to help keep my plants healthy.
One thing I have issues with is flea beetles. I plant radishes around my eggplant for the flea beetles to eat instead of the eggplant leaves. There are other methods for deterring flea beetles and other insects from your plants. In the past I have used Diatomaceous Earth; however, that can kill both beneficial and non-beneficial insects, so I no longer use it.
I also noticed some Japanese Beetles on my eggplant leaves. I don't recommend setting up a Japanese Beetle trap, because they attract more of them to your garden. Since I stopped putting out a trap, I have had less of a problem with Japanese Beetles.
What's Growing in the Mid-Summer Garden
This is a non-gluten grain. I haven't grown it before, but it seems to be coming along pretty well. We will have to wait to see how it goes.
I have a row of basil that is getting tall. You can learn to grow and use basil here. I will be making pesto very soon.
I am growing Blauhilde Pole Beans. They are a purple bean that turns green when you cook them. I grew them last year as well. I really like the flavor. You can find seeds for them here. Don't forget to check out how to freeze green beans.
This is my first year growing ground cherries. They are planted like a tomato and grow like a tomatillo. They spread to cover the ground. The fruit has a husk like a tomatillo, but they have a sweet berry inside. I am saving mine up in the freezer to make some jam.
I have cosmos, zinnias and other flowers sprinkled throughout the garden to attract beneficial insects. Find out how to attract beneficial insects here.
I like to put herbs around the garden. I have some lemongrass that I grow from seed as an annual.
Cucumbers are my favorite. Take a look over here to learn how I plant and grow cucumbers. I have a lot of sunflowers, herbs such as dill and borage, radishes and flowers growing with my cucumbers for companion planting purposes.
Some of my favorite cucumbers are theJapanese Long and Chicago Pickling that I love to use for pickling. To learn how to make your own fermented dill pickles, take a look at this post and video. I also have Cucumber Muncher, Kish White, Mexican Sour Gherkin and Beit Alpha cucumbers.
Next to my cucumbers, I have a couple of rows of celery. I have grown celery once before, but it was a failure. So far, the celery seems to be doing well. The smell of celery is surprisingly strong. It smells just like opening a jar of celery seed. It's delicious.
I have bush beans interplanted between my celery. Bush beans are bushier than a pole bean and take up less space. They don't require a trellis, so they are very versatile.
I am growing these varieties of bush beans this year: Contender, Dragon Tongue, Tongues of Fire, Cantare. So far, my favorites are the Contender and Cantare, but I like to give them all a couple of years to make my final determinations.
I have a couple of rows of eggplant next to the celery and bush beans. I am just starting to see some fruit on the plants. There are radishes planted around the eggplant to try to help with the flea beetles that chew up the leaves.
Peppers do really well with the heat and humidity here in Missouri. I have a couple of varieties of jalapenos. I have a regular variety and a heatless variety. It is called a nadapeno. It has all the characteristics of a jalapeno without the heat.
I have a couple of rows of shishito peppers. Shishito peppers are easy to grow.
These sweet chocolate peppers are a nice sweet pepper with a pretty brown color. I also have a few bell peppers.
This year has been a little rough for the tomatoes. There was a lot of rain early in the season. I ended up with a lot of early blight. Early blight is caused by a fungus that lives in the soil. The leaves of the tomatoes start to turn brown and then yellow and wither and die. You can cut those leaves off and hope that the plant will recover. Sometimes the plants will be stunted and not produce as well.
Early blight affects the foliage of the plants. When there isn't as much foliage to shade the fruit, sun scald develops. Sun scald shows up as a white spot and is just like a sunburn. The spot that gets sun scald will rot. It's very frustrating.
Ways to prevent early blight include rotating your crops, mulching around your plants or spraying a copper spray.
Having said all that, I still have had a lot of tomatoes. If you are looking for ways to use your tomato harvest, check out this post. Some of my favorite ways to use tomatoes this year were pressure canning, sauce, paste and salsa!
Now you have seen what's going on in my mid-summer garden with this tour. What's going on in your garden?
And be on the lookout for my mid-summer garden tour of my small garden where I have melons and some fall crops growing!
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