Despite plentiful sunshine and rain, June was a slow month for the garden. The plants seemed to lag. The photo above was taken July 9th, right after I tilled with the Mantis to reduce the weeds. Perhaps the weeds were exerting a dampening effect on the vegetables because the growth has been noticeable since weeding.
The photo below was taken this morning. The corn, lettuce, zinnias and carrots have surged. The squashes are starting to gain some momentum. Weeds are also creeping back and will require hand removal. It may be that once a plant reaches a certain critical mass, the growth is faster. The early days could also be spent developing a root system that is not visible to the impatient gardener.The weeds were growing mostly in the pathways and open areas, I try to keep the immediate vicinity of the vegetables weeded by hand. Just the presence of so many other plants could possibly affect my domestic babies. We learn more and more of how plants do battle under the ground, emitting chemicals through their roots to impact each other’s growth. Wild weeds have a determination to grow that their softer, coddled garden cousins lack.
Indian corn reaches heights of seven feet or more, adding inches every day during this hot and humid cornscateous weather. After tilling last week, I hoed the soil into mounds six inches tall around the base of each corn plant to encourage the growth of their secondary roots. These help anchor the tall stalks during high winds from thunderstorms and freak tropical storms.
I also weeded and hoed the soil up around the wax beans. This plant does not do well against weed competition and requires plenty of support around its long stem to hold up the developing burden of beans. Due to the spotty germination of the beans, I had to reseed, hence the marked difference in the size of the plants in each row. The second planting was more successful than the first. The rows should fill in nicely now. The bean patch may appear small, but I have confidence it will produce a bountiful crop.
In the tomato jungle, several plants have green fruits on them. One tomato is even starting to get a whitish hue indicating it will ripen soon. I can hardly wait to eat tomatoes from my own garden! The flavor is superior to anything available in stores. In the background, the sweet peppers are visible amongst the weeds. They are blooming and have formed a couple baby peppers. I will hand pull the weeds and apply more mulch to the peppers and tomatoes. At the very end of the pepper rows are massed plantings of marigolds that should soon begin to bloom.
This year I am growing more flowers with the vegetables. The bachelor buttons that volunteered from last year are covered with blooms. Zinnias are showing buds. The straw flowers trouble me. I am not sure that any sprouted. That part of the garden may remain empty. Since I don’t know what a baby straw flower looks like, I’ve been removing obvious weeds from the area and hoping the some of the unfamiliar ones might be what I want. Time will tell.
If no straw flowers show up, I might put a few more carrots in the area. Carrots can be seeded throughout the summer because they grow fast and will make a fall crop.