By Kristi Wyatt, Master Gardener
Back to July 2017 Newsletter
July brought a change of seasons to the Backyard Garden. “What? Isn’t July the middle of summer?” you ask. Well, yes, but it’s also the time we say good-bye to our early-summer vegetables and begin the harvest of our mid-summer crops.
In early July, we harvested the last of the early-summer crops that we planted in March and April, including potatoes, beets, turnips, and carrots. We were excited to see our colorful purple, red, yellow, orange, and white Kaleidoscope Blend carrots emerge from the rich soil of our raised beds. We also completed our garlic harvest. At the same time, the first of the mid-summer crops that we planted in May were ready to be picked: cucumbers, zucchini, bell peppers, and the much anticipated tomatoes. Later in the month, our okra and eggplant were mature.
At BYG, we practice succession planting, so that the empty space left after the harvest of our early-summer crops does not remain empty for long. Most of our early-summer crops listed above and others that we harvested earlier, such as broccoli and cauliflower, can be – and have been – immediately replanted for harvest in October. But we have held some space open to be planted in late August and early September with cool-season crops such as lettuce, spinach, and radishes, which we had also planted in March and harvested in the spring. Unfortunately, we are not able to plant a second crop of peas in the late summer, because they do not germinate well in warm soil.
We are pleased to report the success of our experiment with growing blueberries under row cover. Randy Dix designed and built a structure to protect our 6 blueberry bushes from being plundered by birds. As a result, we had a bumper crop of well over 90 pounds for the season. The cover lends an aura of secrecy to the blueberry picking process, during which our designated pickers disappear behind the curtain for extended periods of time, to emerge later bearing bowls heaped with indigo orbs.
A large focus of our efforts during July is preparation for the annual Field Day on July 29. We prepared educational presentations, displays, and signs; labeled our plants; and weeded, edged, and mulched the beds. More details on the results of the event will be provided in the September issue of Grow For It.