June Garden 2015

I haven’t posted in a while. I was meaning to post regularly about my basement renovation that was set to begin in February. That reno never started and we parted ways with the contractor we were using. We found a new contractor and demo started this week so hopefully I will have some basement posts soon.

Meanwhile, the garden has been attempting to grow through abnormally cold temps and flooding rain storms.

We changed the layout of the garden this year. We built one large bed (12′ x 3′) on the north side of the garden to replace the three small beds. Pretty much everything, from tomatoes to herbs, love this part of the garden, so I figured one large bed would best utilize the garden space.

On the south side of the garden we also went down to one larger (3′ x 4′) bed, with a potting bench next to the compost bin. We built the potting bench out of scrap cedar (left over from our fence) and the remnants of the old smaller raised beds.

The new beds are also built out of 5.5″ fence pickets like we did in the past.

In the large bed I planted three tomato varieties (Sun Sugar yellow, Black Cherry, and Tami G), one jalapeno plant, two zucchini plants (from seed), cilantro (from seed), rosemary and basil. I added some marigolds and sweet alyssum for pest protection and ground cover.

raised garden bed ashandorange.wordpress.com

On the east edge of the bed I planted Kentucky Wonder green beans from seed. I used a branch that fell from our huge maple as a trellis.

greenbeans ashandorange.wordpress.com

We have perennial flowers along the garden fence. The delphinium is really putting on a show this year.

Delphinium ashandorange.wordpress.com

In the smaller beds I planted kale from seed and the seedlings appeared but cold temps and flooding rains ruined them. I just sowed another 2 rows so I’ll cross my fingers I have some kale this summer.


The potting bench has been really nice to have and I love that we built it all from scrap.

The temperatures are finally getting really hot, so the tomatoes, zucchini, and beans are taking off. We should have quite the harvest this year!


August and September Garden

This post is a little late. August and September seemed to fly by and I can’t believe it’s almost Halloween. We’re still having 80 degree days so I think my mind still believes it’s early September. Despite the balmy late fall temps, I know winter is fast approaching and before the garden has gone to sleep I wanted to do a recap of August and September and some plans for next year.

Here’s the sketch I did of the garden at the start of the growing season.

garden sketch ashandorange.wordpress.comBed 1 was a late bloomer but turned out to be pretty great. The sweet peas I planted never did a whole lot, but a bunch of other things came up. We had a random tomato grow (maybe out of seeds from the compost?). It produced large tomatoes and they were delicious. It still has a couple more green fruit on the plant. I plan to leave them out there until the first frost.

large tomato ashandorange.wordpress.com

Some beautiful white and coral snap dragons also popped up.

Bed 2 has been very productive. Both the Indigo Rose and Grape Tami G tomato plants produced tons of tomatoes (we are still picking them daily). The grape tomatoes are delicious: really sweet and tangy. The Indigo Rose is more of a traditional tomato flavor, in my mind, but also delicious and really pretty.

grape tomato ashandorange.wordpress.com

Grape Tomato

Indigo Rose Tomato

Indigo Rose Tomato

The jalapeno plant produced some delicious and very hot peppers.

And last but not least the zucchini plant has given us more than a dozen great squash.

zucchini plant ashandorange.wordpress.com

Bed 3 has been the herb bed. The basil plants grew like weeds. At some point in September I stopped cutting the flowers off and just let them grow like crazy. They are about 2.5 feet tall right now and still growing. The leaves get bitter when the plant flowers so they have been more ornamental than edible this year.

The thyme also grew really well. The lavender and rosemary didn’t grow much, but also didn’t die, so I’m counting it as a win. I’m going to dig up the rosemary and plant it in a pot inside so I can enjoy it all winter.

Bed 4 was a hodge podge of perennials and volunteers. The sweet peas took off in September and had some gorgeous purple blooms. They looked great with the orangey pink and white snap dragons, blue delphinium, and bright orange marigolds and cosmos.

bed 4 ashandorange.wordpress.comBed 5 has given us tons of kale all summer. The parsley did great in this bed as well. The zucchini never grew. I think too much shade for it.

Bed 6 has a delphinium that bloomed in early July. It has some small shoots blooming again right now. I also transplanted a pink dianthus and it has had some pretty pale pink blooms.

Plans for next year:

This past summer was the most success we have had with the garden, and I learned a lot that I will use planning things out for my 2015 garden.

I want to combine beds 1 and 2 into one large bed. Tomatoes and zucchini do great here and need some more room. I plan on doing 3 tomato plants and one zucchini along the back with pepper plants in front. I also hope to have a better trellis system next year for both the tomatoes and zucchini. The plants got so large this year that the traditional tomato cages were falling over.

I also hope to plant a variety of greens in bed 5 where the kale did so well.

Hope everyone enjoyed following along as the garden grew. Can’t wait till next year!

Here are the links to the previous garden posts: June Garden and July Garden

July Garden

It’s pretty wild the difference a month makes. Almost everything starts to take off when the temps reach the 90s.

july garden ashandorange.wordpress.com

I am going to go through the garden bed by bed, like I did in my June garden post.

Bed 1: Still a little sad…A rogue tomato is growing strong. The sweet peas that I planned to grow up my dead stick structure never did very well. They are dying, along with the bachelor buttons. Bachelor buttons don’t love the heat and started to look very scraggly in late June. I took most of the bigger plants out. New seedlings are already appearing so there will probably be pretty blue flowers again this fall.

Bed 2: This is where the party is at.

raised veg bed ashandorange.wordpress.com

Both tomato plants are huge! Looks like we will have plenty of tomatoes this year. The Indigo Rose variety has lots of plump round fruit. The blue color is already present and now we’re just waiting for the green to change to ripe red. The other plant is even bigger and had lots of little grape tomatoes. We have only had two ripe enough to eat and they were delicious.

indigo rose tomato ashandorange.wordpress.com

The jalapeno plant is also growing well, and we have the start of little peppers.

The zucchini is insane. I swear it grows a foot a day and has already produced a single delicious squash that I devoured immediately after taking this picture.

zucchini ashandorange.wordpress.com

Bed 3: The herbs. Just like the tomatoes, the basil loves the heat. Pesto anyone? The thyme is growing strong. The rosemary and lavender have not grown much but the lavender started blooming this week.

herb bed ashandorange.wordpress.com

Bed 4: The sweet peas look better here than their friends in Bed 1, but still nothing to write home about (or on a blog about). The rogue snapdragons are blooming and very pretty as well as some marigolds that came up from seed.

snapdragon ashandorange.wordpress.com

Bed 5: Oh kale yeah! Lots and lots of kale. The zucchini plant is not growing fast here, I figure not enough sun. The parsley looks great. The cilantro sprouted leaves and immediately went to seed.

kale raised bed ashandorange.wordpress.com

Bed 6: In early July the delphinium bloomed and it was BEAUTIFUL. By now all the blooms are spent, but the plant itself is still big and green.

delphinium ashandorange.wordpress.com

And lastly, it must be July because the cosmos are blooming. I planted seeds in the spring and all the cosmos bright orange faces are popping up around the garden.

cosmo ashandorange.wordpress.comHappy summer and happy gardening!

Garden in July

I  wanted to give a quick update of how the garden is looking after a couple of months of blazing temps and some TLC from moi.

garden full ashandorange.wordpress.comThe biggest eye catcher is the bright blue from the delphinium and bachelor buttons.  The delphinium is a perennial that came back from last year. The flowers are a true electric blue.

delphinium ashandorange.wordpress.com

We also had snapdragons come up from seed all around the delphinium in one of the beds. The mix of bright blue, yellow, orange and white is really beautiful.

delphiniumsnapdragon ashandorange.wordpress.com

Speaking of things coming up from seed, the bachelor buttons were very successful. They grew so tall I had to put tomato cages around them for support.

bachelorbutton ashandorange.wordpress.comWe also have lavender, sweet peas, and alyssum growing really well. I planted some parsley and cilantro seeds in the middle bed and small seedlings are just starting to appear.

garden ashandorange.wordpress.com

On the other side of the path, we have squash, cherry tomato, more bachelor buttons and delphinium (can’t get enough blue), and the herb bed with rosemary, basil, thyme, and some rogue bell peppers that came up from seeds in the compost.

garden2 ashandorange.wordpress.com

The squash plants (also from seeds in the compost) are growing like mad. I planned on putting in a trellis for the squash to grow on. The lone stick in the middle bed is evidence that I started and ended that project in about 30 seconds.

The raised beds have made taking care of the garden really easy. A daily watering and weekly weeding is all it needs. Maybe I have time to work on that trellis after all.

Raised Bed Garden

Once we put up the garden fence it was time to plant a garden. Last year we planted straight into the ground which worked out okay, but this year we decided to do raised beds, for both the look and the functionality.

Raised bed garden ashandorange.wordpress.com

The beds are a simple frame made from 5 1/2″ wide cedar fence pickets and a piece of cedar 2×4 for the corner braces. We filled them with a mix of native soil, top soil, compost, and peat.

We covered the dirt between the beds with 2-3″ of shredded cedar mulch and soon decided it looked like the world’s largest hamster cage. To break up the large mass of brown we put down a flagstone pathway.

Raised bed garden ashandorange.wordpress.com

Raised bed garden ashandorange.wordpress.com

As for plants:

The small bed nearest the fence is dedicated to herbs (basil, thyme, and rosemary at the moment).

Raised bed garden ashandorange.wordpress.com

In the other beds we have a mix of flowers and veggies. We transplanted lots of delphinium plants that came back from last year. We bought the plants as wedding flowers last spring and planted them in the garden after, so we are happy to see that they joined us again this year.

Raised bed garden ashandorange.wordpress.com

We planted mint in the metal pot, as it has the reputation of quickly taking over a garden.

We have many a volunteer squash coming up throughout the beds. Most likely squash seeds that ended up in the compost. I’m planning on training the squash plant up a trellis to prevent it from taking over the entire bed. I’ll update on how that works out for me.

Raised bed garden ashandorange.wordpress.com

Now that the temps are climbing everything is really starting to grow. Hopefully the beds will fill in nicely with lots of flowers, herbs and veggies to enjoy throughout the summer.