Monday, July 20, 2009

July Veggie Update

On the 20th of each month Tina of In The Garden posts her monthly vegetable garden update and invites others to join her. I'm glad to be able to participate once again, as the vegetables here are starting to mature. But first, since I missed this month's Garden Muse Day on the 1st of July, here's a little poem to inspire you:

Weedling seedlings
sprout at night,
at dawn, at noon
in broad daylight.

Weedling seedlings

of all kinds

crabgrass, vetch,

and tangling vines.

Weedling seedlings
choking out
pea-lings, bean-lings
as they sprout.

Weedling seedlings,
sneak attack.
Yank them out,
but they'll be back.

--Juanita Havel from I Heard It From Alice Zucchini

Despite the sentiment of the poem, my vegetable garden is looking much better this year than last, thanks to the newspapers and mulch put down early in the season. That being said, please ignore any weeds you might see in the following pictures.

The big news this month is that I picked my first green beans a week ago on July 12. All the rain we've had has been good for the beans, and they seemed to grow an inch or more overnight. I should be able to pick more by mid-week. Other than the radishes and some volunteer lettuce, the beans are the first vegetable harvest of the year.

Trying to get a photograph of all the bean blossoms, which didn't work, I found these two nasty creatures on one bean leaf. I've never seen Japanese beetles on green beans before; I'm hoping they had just strayed from nearby hollyhocks.

This is what happens if you forget to pull all the radishes as soon as they're ready. The radish seed was planted to mark the row of carrots, and few were actually eaten. Assuming this one was way too hot for consumption, I added it to the compost pile.

New to the garden this year are a few beets which appear to be doing well despite the fact that I didn't thin them properly.

Also new this year is one plant of chives. I keep forgetting to cut some for cooking, but I just like the way they look in the garden.

The fennel is growing by leaps and bounds. This is another plant not really intended for human consumption, but rather for the butterflies. No sign of caterpillars, however, so I may have to find some recipes using fennel after all.

The vegetables that will be sure to be eaten, though, are the tomatoes. All are looking very healthy and putting out lots of blooms. Even Mr. Procrastinor himself checks their progress regularly; he has been known to eat the first ripe tomato in the garden before I even have a chance to pick it.

As you can see, he won't have too much longer to wait.

Last year I wrote down all the varieties of tomatoes I planted and exactly where they were planted. This year I stuck the plant tags in the ground beside each grouping when I planted them, but I think they've all disappeared through the mulching and weeding. So much for comparison of varieties for planning next year's garden.I'm not sure what type of tomatoes these are--at first I thought they were a grape tomato, but now I'm thinking they're Romas. It should be obvious soon enough if they get much bigger.

Also growing in the garden are carrots, onions, parsley and green peppers. The spinach and lettuce were pulled out to make way for zucchini and summer squash. The summer squash never appeared--I think the seed was too old--but the lone zucchini plant is doing well and, barring any squash beetles, should produce more than enough for us. I'm looking forward to next month's report when there should be more vegetables ripe and ready to pick!

The last photo has nothing to do with the vegetable garden, but I had to add it after complaining on my last post that the butterflies have been conspicuously absent this year. The evening after I posted my Bloom Day post, I had a visitor . . .

. . . a Painted Lady came to enjoy the coneflowers! I welcomed her and told her I have been preparing a feast of blooms for her. I'm hoping she invites all her friends and relatives to join her!


  1. What a radish here Rose. I thought it was a beet at first when I saw the size. It looks like your garden is growing great guns. Butterflies are like the cherry on the top of a sundae.

  2. Beautiful photos Rose. I can't get over those rotten Japanese Beetles!I keep encouraging the birds to come into my yard and hope they eat the June bugs as well as the Japanese Beetles. All your veggies look great! Your picture of the Painted Lady is great!

  3. Perfect photo of the butterfly! I am finally seeong some in the garden too. Your veggies are looking so good, yummmm. Nothing like fresh from the garden green beans. And your tomotoes are just the right size for fried green ones. :) Looks like that mulch plus the regular rain has really made for a great veggie garden this year.

  4. My goodness Rose !
    You could open your own family run produce store girl : )
    Your veggies look fabulous .. those beans are wonderful .. I love snacking on fresh ones .. something so satisfying with the crispness : )
    I am in love with your butterfly .. I haven't seen any colourful ones here yet .. I'm disappointed .. I have grown feenel, dill ... but to no avail.
    I will have to enjoy yours .. so push over so I can get a better look please ? LOL

  5. I love that poem and the veggie updates! I had three zucchini waiting for me when I returned from CO. I also have a few tiny green tomatoes, but the majority are still blossoms, as are my hot peppers. My green peppers and eggplant don't even have blossoms. Garlic and onions are looking good, but not ready for harvest.

  6. Your garden looks great! The newspapers and straw sure do help a lot. You'll have to sneak that first tomato from under Mr. Procrastinator-let him have the second but think it is the first:) That painted lady is gorgeous! Soon the caterpillars will show up. I've added a link to you. Have a good day and enjoy those yummy beans. I only just planted mine:( But they are coming along.

  7. Lisa, The radish was about the size of a baby beet:) They sure grow fast!

    Janet, At first it didn't seem we had as many Japanese beetles this year, but now I keep finding them on plants they've never bothered before. Wish someone could find a predator that liked them!

    Beckie, Just a few butterflies, but usually I can't get a photo of them. The green beans are doing so well this year; you're right, all the rain has helped. And the mulch has done a great job in keeping the weeds down.

    Joy, I don't think I'll have enough veggies to start a produce stand, but I have been known to give away zucchini to everyone who stops by:) The butterflies have been scarce, even though I've put out the welcome mat, too.

    Monica, I planted the zucchini late, so it will be awhile before I get any. If you had three while you were gone, you'll soon have three times that:) It will be awhile before I have tomatoes and peppers, too.

    Tina, mulching was the best thing I ever did this spring. I'm hoping the caterpillars show up soon; I've planted lots of goodies for them.

  8. Oh, Rose, your veggie garden is making me miss mine so much. Aren't you loving green beans fresh from the garden? I cannot bear to buy them from the store since mine stopped producing.

    Radishes are wonderful when young but left for markers they get ginormous.

    So happy you are seeing butterflies. They like that warm sunshine!
    Have a happy day, Rose.

  9. Hi Rose, love the butterfly photo. I saw one butterfly briefly yesterday. The garden should be full of them in mid July.

    I only planted tomatoes this year. So far I've had a few cherry tomatoes but none of the large ones are ripe.

  10. Oh Rose those beans look great! I picked a bowl of the purple podded ones last night to cook with some potatoes. YUM! I didn't realize that Japanese Beetles would attack the veggies either, bad old things. :( Great shot of the Painted Lady.

  11. Your coneflower has dressed up in her party best to show off the veggie bounty! Isn't it wonderful that the butterflies have started to make their appearance! Maybe they always arrive this late! All the vegies look good...gail

  12. All of your veggies look yummy.
    I too love the coneflowers and they attract so many bugs...The Painted Lady is one of my favorites!
    It has cooled down some so I am out in the gardens weeding.....

  13. Hi Rose.....Your vegetables are wonderful ......especially the tomato plants....there is nothing like growing your own.
    Do japanese beetles eat everything? Every time I visit blogs USA they are eating a different plant.....
    Do you ever have trouble with rabbits and your veggies???

    Now Rose this is strange....that Painted Lady is nothing like ours......we call that butterfly a Red Admiral......I am off to look in my books.....

    Great post......

  14. Lovely photos and that butterfly takes the biscuit!
    I wanted to get some fennel but couldn't get any and it is lovely on a salad! I am growing salad stuff in small pots as I haven't much room.
    There aren't many butterflies here either.

  15. Rose I'm so envious of your veggies. They all look so pretty and healthy. I like your last picture of the Painted Lady. I know you are glad to have them.

  16. I love that last pic. Did you invite painted lady from Cheryl's garden party? LOL!

    Your garden looks healthy. Love those beans! I bought some yesterday at the farmer's market and they really aren't good yet. I'm hoping the next batch will be tastier.

    I also have some herbs I don't eat. But it's fun to grow and you know they butterflies and bees will enjoy them.
    Yummm - beets. I love fresh beets! My daughter gave me some of hers. I will definitely grow some next year. They're delicious!

  17. Your veggies look like mine! Least the tomatoes do, we are so waiting to see who gets the ripe one first, we had 4 cherry tonight! Okay, I'm alittle excited about 4 little tomatoes but he were SO good as tomatoes from a garden are....I've put beets on the list for next year.

  18. Oh, I forgot, I even had a flying visitor too! Aren't they great? So hard to photo as mine traveled in circles so many times, I was dizzy!

  19. Your garden looks wonderful! I love the pic of the Painted Lady. -Jackie

  20. I'm so jealous of that beautiful veggie garden. It has been so cold and wet here that everything is suffering, especially the squash plants. The tomatoes look good but I don't see a lot of flowers much less tomatoes forming. The pole beans are starting to climb at last, and the sugar snaps were good, so was the lettuce, but the chard never germinated and the beets are more than reluctant. I'm replanting and hoping for a fall crop.

  21. I keep thinking of that luscious northern Illinois soil when I see veggies like yours, Rose. It's the true black gold, and I wish I could transport truckloads of it here. Hooray for the butterflies, boo for the Japanese beetles!

  22. I feel hungry now!! What a great veg patch you must have, it all looks so lovely :)

  23. So jealous of your green beans --everything looks so good there.
    You have a nice garden

  24. I keep forgetting about the July 20th veggie garden update. I should do that next month. Your produce is looking very good, the beans look perfect and your tomatoes appear to be about as far along as mine are, all green.

    I hope you squished those to Japanese beetles after you took the picture!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  25. Meems, I do understand--I was coveting your vegetables earlier this year:) Nothing like fresh-picked green beans!

    Marnie, I am hoping the butterflies are just late this year. I did see a Monarch today, but not in my garden:)

    Racquel, I have seen the Japanese beetles in the strangest places this year. Other than chewing on the leaves, I haven't seen any damage to the beans, though. I like beans with potatoes, too:)

    Gail, I like that image! The coneflowers always are photogenic backdrops:)

    Sherry, I have found it easier to get motivated to weed with this cooler weather, too. Although I don't like the mosquitos!

    Cheryl, The beetles seem to be attacking all sorts of plants this year; there isn't a natural predator for them, so they're hard to control short of picking them off by hand. I don't know what's with my rabbits--they sit brazenly in front of the barn but haven't seemed to disturb the garden. Maybe these are carnivores:) As to the butterfly, you are absolutely right--it IS a Red Admiral. I usually check these out on a website, but I didn't this time. A good humbling experience:)

    Maggie May, I really am going to have to try some fennel on a salad. Maybe if I start eating it, the butterflies will decide to come try it, too:)

  26. Susie, It's a good year for any kind of gardening here--we've been lucky to have regular rain to water the vegetables.

    Wendy, I'm not sure if the butterfly flew that far to my garden, but I'm glad she came from wherever:) I never used to be that fond of beets, but I am really craving them now. I can pick a little fennel and parsley, but the butterflies are welcome to all they can eat!

    Dawn, the first ripe tomatoes of any kind are cause for celebration! This is my first year of growing beets, so we'll see how they do. My garden is so much smaller than yours, so I had to be selective in what I planted.

    Ellie May, Thanks for stopping by! Actually, the butterfly is a Red Admiral--I'm not very good at butterflies yet:)

    Commonweeder, Oh my, I'm sorry about the state of your garden. We've been so fortunate this year in having good weather--just enough rain at the right time.

    W2W, You're right about Illinois soil. If I had been smart, I would have planted the vegetables in another area where there was once a sheep pasture. Talk about rich soil!

    Suburbia, I usually lose interest in the vegetable garden by this time of the summer, but it's been a good year and now I can't wait for the tomatoes!

    Vickie, Thanks for dropping by! The green beans have done very well so far.

    Carol, I doubt that any of my tomatoes will win one of your contests, but thanks for the compliments. Oh, you bet, those beetles were toast after this picture!

  27. The poem made me laugh. The weeds in my garden across the street have gotten pretty big, and I had planned on getting them pulled this evening, with the 6 year old who lives there. My husband, who is not a gardener decided he was going to help me by using pruners to cut back the sumac and other weeds. He said I don't have to help, but I said said I was going to, to make sure he doesn't get rid of any of my plants. Well, the weeds will be back, but the morning glory babies he hoed out probably won't make it, but I replanted them anyway. It does feel good that most of the weeds are at bay.

    It sounds like your veggies are coming along nicely. The grape tomatoes that planted themselves last year are the first ones ripening in my garden.


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