July 2013 Garden Update

Okay, let’s pretend it’s not January and I actually got around to posting these pictures in the summertime! I wanted to at least document my progress (the best I could).


Here are my tomatoes (back), peppers (middle) and peas (front left).


And here are four tomatoes, with sprigs of cilantro growing around them. The two tomatoes on the left were purchased, and the two on the right were started from seed. These pictures were taken less than two weeks after those I posted in my last update. By then I had removed the walls of water.

For these next pictures, you have to fast forward about 7 weeks:


This is the same garden shown above, with two tomato plants in the back. Yes, they are nearly as tall as the fence! In front of them (if you look closely) are pepper plants. I pulled the peas that grew on the trellis–it got too hot and they turned brown.


Here are my four tomato plants. The ones I started from seed are still smaller–the others are taller than the fence! Eventually I started “pruning” these–just snapping off the tips. They had no place to grow! I got a phenomenal tomato harvest from all these!


Oh the corn! It was LOVELY! I fertilized like crazy, both at 6″ tall and 12″ tall. And it was lush and green and we had the most delicious sweet corn in the world! About 1/3 of the seeds did not sprout. I tried planting more, but they were not on the same schedule for the second batch to have enough pollen to be fertilized. Still, I think we had 5-6 meals with corn for my family of four.

Note: The wind did start blowing the corn over, even with the PVC frame around it. Eventually I went out with kite string and wrapped it around each plant in the row, and tied it to the frame. Next year I’ll be more diligent and put nylon netting up before the plants get so big.


This garden bed has onions in the back (falling over) and tomatoes in the front. You can see where I started digging out potatoes for dinner. I think I waited too long or something, because I had more rotten tomatoes than usual. Or perhaps the soil was too wet? Sometimes the sprinklers from the park “help” water this bed.


This was my “spring” garden bed. On the right I’ve already harvested radishes and green onions. In the middle on the right are parsnips growing. I don’t think these did very well, but it was my first try growing them. On the back right are turnips, crowding out the kale in the middle. The kale performed wonderfully (as usual) and I was able to harvest from spring until the first frost of the fall.

I grew cherry tomatoes on this trellis, but all my cucumbers failed. I have to laugh because at some point I mixed up plants, and started planting cucumbers 8 per square (2 rows of 4, along the trellis). Someone asked about this, and I realized it should be 2 per square, max. So the last two years I planted 2 per square, and didn’t get a single cucumber. Back to 8 per square for me!


This garden was my crowning glory!  First, we enjoyed wonderful broccoli. We had so much, I actually froze some (we just ate it last week in soup). Below are the big heads that I initially harvested. After that, I fertilize some more, and then harvest the side shoots. We always get as much (in weight) from these smaller side shoots.


It also housed half of my storage onions–which didn’t grow as big this year as in years past. But the best part of all was my pumpkins. I only grew two plants of pumpkins (though I started 4 seeds, and may not have thinned them down), and they grew up and over my trellis. We got 3 large pumpkins.

DSC007012013_JuneJuly8 DSC007032013_JuneJuly9

I find pumpkins always stop producing fruit in the heat of the summer, but then start up again in the fall. By then, there’s not enough time to ripen. The pumpkin you see hanging weighed in at 20 pounds! So if you wondered if pumpkins can grow on a trellis without extra support, the answer is YES.

Another blooper–I intended to plant squash on the left side and have them grow over the trellis the other direction. But I seem to have purchased bush squash. Silly! And the zucchini I grew in this bed failed miserably. My pumpkins were so cool, I didn’t even care!

Happy Gardening!

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11 Responses

  1. Emily MySFG says:

    I use different fertilizers for different plants. For onions and corn I use a high nitrogen fertilizer like 34-0-0 or 20-0-0

  2. Emily MySFG says:

    I live in Utah, but you are absolutely right! Some locations that are quite close geographically can have different weather. Also, you may have to plant sooner or later–that might impact your success even more than the variety you grow.

  3. Claire says:

    What do you fertilize with? I didn’t fertilize at all last year and I’m wondering if that’s why some of my plants didn’t end up growing well.

  4. Dorothy Barlow says:

    What is your location? That makes such a big difference in what plants can be successfully grown. I’m beginning my 5th year with the SFG, but I moved 30 miles between year 3 and year 4 and it made a bit of a difference just with that little distance.

  5. daisy says:

    To your reader, Brenda: Feel free to visit my blog. I’m in Florida, and I’d love to help you with your garden. It’s a completely different way to garden as far as seasons. Hope you’ll stop by!

  6. daisy says:

    What a successful garden! It’s the perfect time to see it as most of the country is under snow. I love the pumpkin on the trellis!

  7. geo says:

    When I was a kid my friend lived on a small farm. His mom taught us 3 corn seeds for each hole. “One for the bird, one for the worm and one to grow.” Seems after reading about your corn I would say it still applies.

  8. Andrea says:

    I love the pictures. This will be my first year to square foot garden. I was gardening a bit years ago but it was all in those long rows. But now due to my daughter complaining about a tomato tasting like cardboard from the store, I realized that homegrown is so much better. I was already thinking we could eat a lot better, but how can anyone eat more fresh fruits and vegetables when they taste so bad? So I am going back to garden but going to try SFG due to having an odd shaped yard.

  9. Nickie says:

    Those pumpkins were awesome!! I think I’m going to try that this year! Great job!

  10. Emily MySFG says:

    Brenda–be sure to plant from Fall-Winter-Spring. If you moved from somewhere you can grow in the summer, you’ll be all turned around. :)

  11. Brenda Butler says:

    Wonderful garden plots…I’ve tried here in FL & not used to growing here…didn’t do well. Not sure what I did wrong. Broke my heart as I usually have a green thumb. I used mix of garden soil, compost and manure. Plenty of rain and water. I think maybe wrong location & burned up from heat.also had low produce amt.