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What's Growing in the Summer of 2020

Here is a break down of what I have got going on in my garden this summer.

TOMATOES! I am growing 9 (maybe 10) varieties of tomatoes for a total of 25 tomatoes. Here is break down of the varieties:

  • Gold Nugget cherries-these were the first to produce

  • Yellow Pear- second to produce and TONS of flowers

  • Hillbilly

  • Delicious

  • Roma

  • Black Sea Man

  • Black from Tula

  • Chocolate Stripe

  • Japanese Black Trifele

  • Floradade? I have two plants marked as Japanese black trifele but they look more like these. I started some of these seeds but didn't think any made it out into the yard, must have been some mislabeling going on there.

I am growing my tomatoes all in raised beds and then a couple in pots. I had extras and no space and couldn't bring myself to let them die. There is no question, the one in the raised beds are doing the best. All of them (besides the yellow pear and gold nugget) are struggling a bit due to the heat.

I also single stem my indeterminate tomatoes (will keep growing as tall as possible and keep producing until they die) and use a 1"x 2" furring strip for support.

The 2 far beds are tomatoes single staked
2 boxes of determinate tomatoes single staked and one in a bag..

From left to right Gold nugget (in grow bag), 2 Sea Man, 2 Roma, 1 Yellow Pear and 1 Gold Nugget. These are all determinate tomato variety meaning they produce a set amount of fruit and grow to a predetermined size.

Left to right, Delicious, Hillbilly, Chocolate Stripe, Black from Tula
Left to right, Floradade?, Yellow Pear and mystery, Hillbilly, and on the end is the tomatillos.

TOMATILLOS! First time growing tomatillos, I thought I had the regular green ones but there must have been a mix up at the seed packing place because one is definitely a purple one and another is a pineapple one. I have two more plants that I have yet to determine the variety, but I do know they are not purple.

Like the tomatoes I have two plants in containers and two in raised beds. The ones in the raised beds are three times as big as the container ones even with frequent feeding of the container plants.

PRO TIP: You need at least TWO PLANTS to get fruit from tomatillos so be sure to make room because they grow tall an bushy. They are also completely loaded down with flowers and husks at this point, can't wait to get my first big harvest and make some salsa!

2 tomatillo plants
Purple Tomatillo
Ripe pineapple tomatillo

GROUND CHERRIES! Also a first for me. Similar to tomatillos as they have a husk but much smaller and sweeter. These are definitely my son's favorite thing in the garden. The plants themselves are pretty small still. I have had a few to taste but I probably picked them too early and will wait to judge the taste until I try some more fully ripe ones. The plants themselves are small and bushy, very close to the ground. Will update as they grow!

2 ground cherry plants
Ground cherry fruit

POTATOES! I am going to give potatoes a whole other blog post but for now I will say, I only plant store bought potatoes that are chitting in my pantry, I don't ever get seed potatoes. I have already harvested two batches this summer, one I planted the other just popped up because I used unfinished compost (and I am not complaining surprise plants are the best). They take anywhere from 90 to 120 days so I am hoping for a few harvest from spring to fall!

Potato plant right in the middle

PEPPERS! Peppers are probably my least favorite thing to grow because I have yet to successfully do so. You have to start them inside super early and they need HEAT and I don't like to mess around with heat pads and such. I have planted quite a few this year and they are just now slowly starting to get peppers. I planted:

  • Cubanelle (sweet)

  • Shishito (sweet)

  • Jalapeno (none survived transplant)

  • Serrano (none of these made it out of the house)

  • Keystone Resistant Giant (sweet bell)

  • Yolo (sweet bell)

  • Big Red (sweet bell)

  • Ancho Grande (hot)

None of the peppers are labeled of course because on a freak hot day I ran around the garden like crazy lady trying to find shady spots for all of them messing up all of their labels, but hey the little seedling babies survived and we will have lots of fun surprises. I planted all the peppers in 10 gallon grow bags, three to a bag, and they seem to be doing okay, but I do not have anything to compare them to. So far I have 2 peppers growing both of which seem to be a type of bell pepper. I will keep you updated on their progress but they are very slow so far.

Peppers in their grow bags

First pepper coming in!

OKRA! Another first for me, and I just harvested my first one this week! I am growing the Clemson Spineless variety and I plan to pickle them and use them in stir fries. I had them growing in way too small of containers and just transplanted them into a spot that opened up in the raised beds and I hope they will take off! I don't have much to say about them just yet but I will update this as they grow.

2 okra (in front)
Okra flower
First harvested Okra

CUCUMBERS! I am way too excited about the cucumbers this year! I am growing Armenian Yard Long and Lemon. I chose these varieties because they aren't supposed to become bitter in the heat. Last year I grew Boston Pickling and they were DISGUSTING!!! They were just so bitter I tried rubbing the ends together and pickling them but that didn't help much so most of them went into the compost sadly. My first Armenian cucumber should be ready any day now and I am beyond excited! I am starting to see some female flowers on the lemon ones as well so should some of those babies soon!

Cucumbers vine so I have them growing up a DIY trellis my brother and I threw together with scrap wiring and wood.

One side of the cucumber trellis.
Other side of cucumber trellis.

ZUCCHINI/SQUASH! I always just call of them zucchini, I know call em squash but any who, I went a little nutty and planted NINE ZUCCHINI PLANTS! Here are the varieties!

  • Dark Green Zucchini (literally what the package says)

  • Grey Zucchini

  • Golden Zucchini

  • Yellow Crook Neck Squash

  • Lemon Squash (just got seeds for this one this week because I have a problem)

Zucchini's grow HUGE and wild and I think this is something most new growers aren't aware of. I crammed nine plants into a 3' x 5' space. SO FAR SO GOOD! The plants that started growing first are definitely taking over the box. I prune my zucchini often though to make sure there is plenty of air flow and space for all.

Zucchini's have a tendency to attract some gnarly bugs that can decimate the plants in no time so when growing zucchini you need to check the plants at least once a day for eggs and bug damage. I have been really lucky and haven't had this happen to me yet.

The grey zucchini are definitely the biggest (plant and fruit) and produce like crazy! The golden are second in line, followed by green and lastly the crook necks. I have not had any crook neck squash yet and can't determine if it is a variety thing or if the other zucchinis have just won the battle for space. I will keep you updated.

I also have nasturtiums in the bed with the zucchini as they are supposed to deter pests.

Box of zucchini
Gold zucchini growing
Grey zucchini growing

GREEN BEANS! I am growing three types of beans:

  • Strike Bush Beans

  • Topcrop Yellow Bush Beans

  • Blue Lake Pole Beans

I have already harvested several handful of the bush beans, they definitely germinated faster and grow faster than the pole beans. I have yet to harvest the pole beans but so far don't really notice a taste difference between the strike and yellow. It is fun having the yellow ones for more color. Once I start getting pole beans I will update! I also just planted a second round of pole beans on a new trellis I built!

Box of green beans
Harvested green beans

WATERMELON! I am growing Jubilee and Golden Midget watermelons. So far they are growing SO SLOW! I am growing these in a raised be and the first of them have just started to flower. I will add more updates as they come along!

Watermelon bed
Watermelon flower

CANTALOUPE!Another one I am just way too excited about! I am growing Honey Rock melons and I need to add cantaloupe is probably my all time favorite fruits! I am growing these in a raised bed. They have started growing and vining out of their box as of this week and I am starting to see some tiny melons on them.

The reason I do not grow anything in the ground is because I have a mole/vole/underground monster problem and I line my raised beds with wire or have wood on the bottom so the monsters can't get my plants.

Cantaloupe bed


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