Monthly Archives: June 2020

Figs This Summer!

It’s official! My Chicago Hardy Fig is going to give me figs this summer, lots and lots and lots of figs!

Chicago Hardy Fig
Very happy Chicago Hardy fig.

This fig has only been in the ground for 2 years. This is her 3rd summer. And this year, she appears to have come into her own.

Baby figs on my Chicago Hardy fig tree
Baby figs on Chicago Hardy fig

Every single junction between stem and leaf has a nascent fig tucked into the crotch. If they all come in, I may be a bit overwhelmed but I will also be happily eating them, making jam with them and maybe even making fig newtons.

I have two other fig trees but they are true Mediterranean babies. They have to have hot days and warm nights and a lot of both to set fruit. In the 22 years they have been in my backyard garden, they have only produced edible figs 3 times!

I love these fig trees for the cover they provide but I really love to eat figs so I am excited to see just how many figs the Chicago Hardy fig tree will give me.

BTW, my figs and my blackberry canes appear to be of great interest to the Spotted Lantern Fly nymphs. While I struggle to figure out the best way to manage these pests, I spend some time every morning and evening, crushing them…with my fingers. It’s gruesome but it’s necessary.

One product I am considering is BotaniGard 22WP. The active ingredient in it is Beauveria Bassiana, a naturally occurring fungus. The fungus doesn’t kill the nymphs, immediately. It invades them and grows in their bodies which then kills them.

My only concern is that it is potentially pathogenic for honey bees, too. More information and exploration is needed but this may work against these invasive spotted killers.

Fig updates will be shared and I’m hoping they will be happy updates!

2020 Organic Garden Update

June 2020 Garden

2020 Garden Growing!

It’s heading for the end of June and my garden has taken off!

Like most gardeners, May and early June are spent in a holding pattern, wondering if the plants you nurtured from seed would survive. They did. And they thrived and are setting fruit all over the place!

Let’s start with tomatoes.

Tomatoes on the vine

Glorious tomatoes!

The only hard part about growing tomatoes is deciding what kind to plant! That’s probably why I have 23 tomato vines in my garden right now.

These are Rutgers slicers on the vine! I have 3 of these plants and I am excited about them. I don’t usually grow slicers but I am looking forward to tomato and cucumber sandwiches!

Kangaroo brown tomatoes

Atomic Grape tomatoes

These babies are Atomic Grape. I saved seeds from last year and they sprouted and grew these gorgeous tomato plants.  Clusters of 5 tomatoes will turn green, red and purple…Atomic seems like an appropriate name for these beautiful fruits.

Below, plump plums are enjoying the cool mist of the morning.

Plum tomatoes

Plump plums on the vine

 

Who doesn’t need plum tomatoes? I make sauce, paste and scallopine from my tomatoes and we savor the summer flavors all winter long!

Yum!

 

Cucumbers reaching for the sun

Cucumbers are absolutely loaded with flowers and the beginnings of baby cucumbers just poking out from the plants. The bigger plants were started indoors and transplanted gently – cucumbers resent transplanting. The second set were planted from seed and will hopefully extend my cucumber harvest and season, my shot at succession planting.

Sweet red peppers

Sweet peppers for eating and canning.

Sweet red peppers

Sweet peppers for eating and saucing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eight pepper plants in their inverted tomato cages are also enjoying the warm days and nights. There are 3 different varieties, all sweet, in this bed. Diced and added to tomatoes and blueberries, these make a meal for me on hot summer afternoons.

I somehow ended up with 10 eggplants this summer but I love them and eat them all summer long. I also braise and freeze them for mid-winter eggplant parmigiania.

Eggplant in the truck bed

Eggplant enjoying the heat!

There are 2 varieties, Bianca Rosa and Green. I put the Green eggplant in one of the truck beds and they are really enjoying their time in the sun. In fact, the Green eggplant are already setting flowers.

Green eggplant with flowers

Green eggplant soaking up sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of flowers, every single flower in the garden this year is a volunteer. And I love them.

Flowers for the bees

Flowers for the bees!

Dill growing tall

Dill growing tall for the bees

Bachelor buttons, Fennell, Borage, Dill and Sunflowers are all welcome to grow right along with all my other beautiful plants.

These flowers are loved by bees – honey bees, bumble bees and all manner of tiny “back yard” bees.

 

Lettuce and spinach bolting

Lettuce & spinach setting seed.

Finally, all the plants in my lettuce and spinach bed are bolting! It’s too hot for these cool weather crops but that’s good news. Each of these spiky plants will grow all the seeds I need for this fall and next spring!

And letting these plants bolt means that the aforementioned bees get yet another plant full of tiny flowers and brimming with pollen and nectar.

Bolting also means that I get seed which I share with the goldfinches and other beautiful birds who live in my garden.

 

I will close with pictures of my blueberries, got the first picking yesterday and my blackberries, setting fruit and preparing to be a delicious add to my jam collection.

Blueberries

Blueberries with dew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackberries on the cane

Blackberries on the cane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE: when you look at the pictures, you will see that almost everything looks like it has a light coating of powdered sugar. What you are seeing is Kaolin clay. Bought as a powder and mixed with water, clay effectively keeps Japanese beetles from dining at your buffet and it helps manage cucumber, bean, and squash beetles…and all it is is clay in keeping with my all organic all of the time.

Happy gardening everyone!