What a difference a month makes.

Koralik Russian Heirloom Cherry tomato

Well it’s warming up here in the Central Valley and the garden is growing quite nicely so thought I’d give you an update. Tomatoes are ripening and I have enjoyed several of the little jewels as I wander through the garden early in the morning. My favorite time in the garden is around 6 or 6:30am. It’s perfect then, not too hot or cold and it’s quiet with only the songs of the birds to break the stillness.

The first fruit from the Ichiban Japanese eggplant is ready to pick, which I’ll do in the morning and the Astia zucchini has been producing just fast enough that I don’t have to eat one a day. They are nice little (I pick em small) squash and are a really good dipper for the edamame hummus that I have been buying at Trader Joe’s. I haven’t tried any cooked yet. They taste too yummy raw.

 Here’s the difference a month can make. On the left is how they looked on May 9 and on the right June 10.

Here’s a look at the rest of my little plot.

On the left is my bean tepee which is growing green, yellow and purple pole beans, the squash is a zucchini called Zephyr. I’ve grown this one for a couple of years and really like it. Two thirds of it is yellow and the blossom end is light green. Quite pretty. If you look closely you can see one just to the right of the chives.  Squished just past the squash are Persian Baby cucumbers (Green Fingers), an Ambrosia melon and a Romanian Sweet Pepper, that isn’t really taking off like everything else. Think it needs more heat, which is forecast for this week. The little green berry basket is protecting some parsley seedlings from the snails. Herbs are thyme by the beans, chives by the squash and tarragon by the cukes and melon. Tarragon is supposed to be a good companion plant for just about everything so we’ll see how happy the melon is when I taste it later this summer. There are already several 1″ melons growing so that’s a good sign of things to come. The beans have only recently started blooming and I’m looking forward to seeing some sets in the next week or so. The other plants in the foreground are; Sweet Alyssum, Snow in Summer and Santa Barbara Daisy, which was recently clipped to encourage a second bloom and also give the melon and cukes room to spread. Later in the season the squash will flow out over the Snow in Summer which it did last year. That arrangement didn’t seem to hurt either plant.

The beans, cucumbers, container zucchini and parsley were all grown from seed from Renee’s Garden, local seed company. The other plants were from starts I picked up at various local Farmers Markets. The size of the plot is 4′ x 10′ and this is it’s second season as a veggie garden. Last year I had beans, squash peppers, melon and cukes too but this year I rotated the positions of the plants putting the squash where. A mini crop rotation if you please. I also added organic manure before the rains last winter and let it soak into the ground not mixing it into the soil until this spring. Think I’ll try to plant a cover crop of legumes or clover this fall and see what that’s like. Must be why I love gardening so much, there’s always something to learn and it’s always an adventure.

How’s your  garden doin?


6 thoughts on “What a difference a month makes.

  1. “… there’s always something to learn… ” – what you love about gardening, Annie, is the lure for me as well. Also for me: it is something to do with my hands, and, plants are so interesting.

    I put 6 tomato plants in the ground here in Albuquerque on May 1, and in our almost mile-high valley, all the plants but the Brandywine have a lot of green tomatoes growing on them – really different for our yard! 1 Brandywine, 2 Cherokee Purples, 3 Early Girls – these plants came from our local high school’s greenhouse where they make really good compost. I chalk up the success to the excellent health of the soil they were started in.

    My first time to grow Cherokee Purples. Am trying to train these to not get watered every day. They wilt. My sis has such great luck with her larger garden – she has her plants trained to not need water every day. This is an issue in our droughted high desert.

    How much do you water in your coastal temperate area? Your plot is so fun to see – how it all works together. Your experience from many years has paid off in an enjoyable garden!

    • You’re right C.C. using our hands to work and the interest we have in the plants we grow is definitely part of the lure.

      Cherokee Purples are my absolute favorite. I haven’t tried growing them due to my limited space but have no trouble finding them at my Farmers Market. As to watering every day, with the exception of a couple of above 95 days back to back I have been watering once or twice a week. My soil is very sandy, dredging from the near by Sacramento river, which definitely has it’s good points and a few I’m not fond of. I work in organic material every year and that has helped two ways. First, it has helped the soil retain moisture and second it has added much needed nutrients, which because of the porosity of the soil, leach quickly. All in all I like this soil much better than the alkaline clay that I gardened in for over thirty years. We are considered to have a Mediterranean climate, hence the ability to have a long growing season.

      Are you growing any peppers? Always love the New Mexico peppers.

      Good gardening –

    • Well they definitely aren’t big plump Cherokees but they are tasty for their size. I’m sure having them in a pot on a paved area doesn’t hurt in getting them to ripen quickly. They do love the heat.

  2. You are certainly getting a lot out of that space! I envy your garden, especially the tomatoes! We have just a few things started in our little greenhouse but haven’t planted anything outside yet. (Our high was 49 today.)

    • Your post the other day almost had me in the car and headed to the Sierra. I love where I am but I love the mountains and the coast too. Most of all I love fresh fruits and veggies any time of year.

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