Vegetable Garden Update: July

by Tammy Taylor~

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WHEW – the temps have really heated UP here in NE Texas!  As it typically does during our summer months, the forecast has lots of 3-digit temps promised and no rain for weeks on end.  I’m doing what I can to keep everything watered, I’m using a *terra cotta stake using a repurposed water bottle to keep the porch planters watered, my rain barrel is so far keeping the back yard trees watered, but a mishap involving my cistern hose splitting and draining the entire rainwater content of our 18-ft underground cistern means I may have to amend my strict ‘no potable water on the ground’ rule.  So far other than the whole rainwater thing, the garden’s growing GREAT – come check it out!

My Veggie Garden Is Growing GREAT - I'm harvesting fresh produce each & every day! Come stroll through my garden with me. #TaylorMadeHomestead

No Bermuda Grass Struggles – Hooray!

You know we changed up the garden this year and I’ve mulched heavily around the garden to keep the Bermuda grass at bay.  so far I’ve been successful, it’s the first year EVER I haven’t spent more time digging/pulling/killing grass than actual gardening!  I need a few non-breezy days though to spray my homemade grass killer at the garden fence to make sure the runners making a run for it don’t successfully get in the garden.  Breeze or no breeze, that will happen soon I promise you – I can’t take the chance that the grass will get in!

Eating From The Garden Daily

Other than that – LOOKIE!  I’m harvesting from the garden every day – tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, green beans, spaghetti squash may come into the kitchen on any given day.  Love it!

My Veggie Garden Is Growing GREAT - I'm harvesting fresh produce each & every day! Come stroll through my garden with me. #TaylorMadeHomestead

3 Sisters Garden

Soon I’ll be harvesting the corn, but I’ll leave the stalks behind since they are part of my 3-Sisters garden I plant every year – Corn to grow tall, squash (in my case pumpkin) to cover the ground to act as a living mulch & conserve moisture as well as moderate soil temps, and vining green beans to grow up the corn stalks for support as well as add nitrogen back to the soil for both the pumpkin and corn.  All plants complimenting and helping the others – how symbiotic!

My Veggie Garden Is Growing GREAT - I'm harvesting fresh produce each & every day! Come stroll through my garden with me. #TaylorMadeHomestead

My summer squash is producing like crazy!  I’m planning on doing a few things to preserve it – I’ll cube & lightly cook, then dehydrate the squash to be dropped into my endless soup (yes, I enjoy endless soup for my lunches even in the summer time – it’s a great way to use up garden excess and get even more healthy veggies in my diet too!)

Making Pickles!

I’m picking my heirloom pickler cucumbers every day as well.  there’s not enough quantity to fire up the canner so I’m making these crisp little gems into refrigerator pickles.  I’m using the *Mrs. Wages mix to make the dill pickles but experimenting with a more homemade sweet pickle recipe I’ll be sure to share soon.  RancherMan loves ’em all!

My tomato bushes are loaded down.  I’ve picked a few ripe tomatoes but they’re just about to explode into full production.  I purchased an heirloom tomato plant thinking I wouldn’t get any of my seedlings to take off this year (and I was right) and I also bought a hybrid paste tomato plant.  I’m not impressed with the taste & texture of the hybrid paste tomato but DANG those heirloom slicing tomatoes are delicious – I’ll for sure be saving seed and implementing them into the garden next year.

My Veggie Garden Is Growing GREAT - I'm harvesting fresh produce each & every day! Come stroll through my garden with me. #TaylorMadeHomestead

My spaghetti squash vine has about done its thing, but there are several large spaghetti squash ready for me to harvest.  I’m usually able to store spaghetti squash for several months due to its thick, tough rind but I’m wondering if I can cook some up & dehydrate some for my endless soup.  I’d love to be able to drop the dried squash spaghetti into my endless soup as well!  I may just try this with a couple of my spaghetti squash, I’ll let ya know how it comes out.

My Veggie Garden Is Growing GREAT - I'm harvesting fresh produce each & every day! Come stroll through my garden with me. #TaylorMadeHomestead

I’ve located a few tiny watermelon on the vine too.   I haven’t grown watermelon in years so I’m pretty excited about these!  They look like they will be smaller melons and that’s perfect since there are only two of us here at the ranch.

My Veggie Garden Is Growing GREAT - I'm harvesting fresh produce each & every day! Come stroll through my garden with me. #TaylorMadeHomestead

The bell peppers haven’t grown this well for me in years but this year they’re doing great.  I planted red, yellow and green bells and they are all growing beautifully.  I’ll chop & freeze some of the large harvest for cooking and I’ll dehydrate bell peppers as well for the pantry.  Nothing goes to waste!

Volunteers In The Garden

These volunteer cantaloupe vines are going crazy!  They sprouted up after I’d planted the garden and of course I allowed them to grow for two reasons:  1) The vines cover the ground to conserve water as well as keeping the ground cool during the hot summer months just like the 3 sisters garden squash does, and 2) You know, fresh CANTALOUPE!  I’ve already harvested one of the smaller ones and thoroughly enjoyed its sweetness.  But there are at least a dozen more and some of them are huge!

My Veggie Garden Is Growing GREAT - I'm harvesting fresh produce each & every day! Come stroll through my garden with me. #TaylorMadeHomestead

The concord grape vine is growing great, but I’m noticing that some of the grapes are starting to dry & fall off.  I’m keeping them watered so I’m not sure if it’s the heat or what, but I’m hoping to get in a harvest of grapes again this year.  Last year they were absolutely delicious and this year I was hoping to make grape jelly from them.

My Veggie Garden Is Growing GREAT - I'm harvesting fresh produce each & every day! Come stroll through my garden with me. #TaylorMadeHomestead

The sunflowers have finished blooming and are in the process of making huge heads of sunflower seeds.  I originally planted these sunflowers purposely on the west side of the fence that separates the chicken pen from the garden.  They were planted there to help shade the chicken run and it’s worked great for that purpose as well as bringing beauty (and BEES) to the garden.  Now that they’re done the sunflower seeds will go to the chickens as well.

My Veggie Garden Is Growing GREAT - I'm harvesting fresh produce each & every day! Come stroll through my garden with me. #TaylorMadeHomestead

Edible Landscape

And in the edible landscape bed by the front porch, my zucchini is beautiful and providing plenty of zucchini for us to steam and enjoy as a side dish with our suppers.  I’m thinking of dehydrating some these as well for my soups.  I’m also wondering about the *Veggetti to make them into zucchini spaghetti (zoodles).  I’ve made zoodles into matchsticks using my mandolin but I’d really like to try the longer spaghetti-type strands as well.  I’ve ordered one of these Vegetti devices since they’re so inexpensive, I’ll let ya know how well it works as soon as it comes in!

My Veggie Garden Is Growing GREAT - I'm harvesting fresh produce each & every day! Come stroll through my garden with me. #TaylorMadeHomestead

So there you have it!  Other than the heat/dry/watering thing my garden is doing better this year than any year in recent memory.  Gotta love it!  How’s your garden growing?

~TMH~

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22 thoughts on “Vegetable Garden Update: July

  1. Keri

    Your garden is amazing!!!! It’s definitely inspiring me to have a garden like that someday, I mean wow!! The zucchini, tomatoes, watermelon and cantaloupe all look so good and healthy!! I’m sure the soup with all the garden veggies taste awesome too!!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I’ll be doing quite a bit of dehydrating in the near future Keri. I love to have a stockpile of summer veggies sparkling at me from their jars in the pantry when summer is long gone. ~TMH~

      Reply
  2. Elaine

    Great Garden!! I’ve been harvesting lots of veggies too!! Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday! Pinned!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Garden season is my favorite yet my most busy of the year Elaine. I love when I can harvest & preserve what I grow myself. ~TMH~

      Reply
  3. Jamie

    Everything looks great!! My garden is having an attitude this season…not sure why. Going to try container gardening next year. Thank you for sharing it with us at the #HomeMattersParty

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Isn’t it weird Jamie how some years are so vastly different than others in the garden? Here’s hoping your next garden rocks your socks! ~TMH~

      Reply
  4. Michelle Leslie

    Oh I’m sooooo jealous, I’ve never had any luck with growing zucchini and squash. So lovely to see sunflowers, they must have looked stunning in flower and the chickens are going to have a feast. Love your edible garden.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I’m usually pretty successful as long as the squash bugs don’t get to ’em. So far I’ve been pretty lucky and they haven’t overrun me yet. I really did love the sunflowers though. Some are still blooming, some are in the process of making seeds and some are ready to harvest. Love it! ~TMH~

      Reply
  5. Donna

    Your garden looks great. Everytime I try to plant any kind of vining squash or melon, they suffer from squash bugs and die before I get much of a harvest. I tried picking them off, searching for the eggs and removing them, but they inevitably win. Yours look so healthy, what do you do to keep the squash bugs away?

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Donna, I’ve lost the squash-bug fight in the past as well. Some things that have helped: 1) I always rotate crops and never plant squash or melons in the same place two years in a row; 2) I heavily mulch all other garden plants to conserve moisture & protect against that hot Texas sun, but not my squash. Mulch gives those little boogers a place to hide; 3) I don’t plant varieties of squash together – zucchini, summer squash, spaghetti squash, butternut, etc are separated so there’s not a dense population of squash in one place; and finally 4) Yes, I scour the undersides of the leaves and remove the entire leaf section when I see the coppery-colored eggs. Squash bugs themselves have always been hard for me to pick off, they move so fast! Good luck with your garden! ~TMH~

      Reply
      1. Cynthia D

        Your garden looks wonderful. I too have problems with squash and have been hunting for eggs and bugs. This year I have pumpkins that I would like to harvest. I now have little worms in the stems. Do you get those there too. I slit the stem and dig out the worm and squish them and then bury the slit stem and water, but it is hard to find them all and I am afraid I will lose my plants before the pumpkins are ready. Does planting them with the corn and beans help with this problem? I don’t know for sure, but I figure something laid an egg in the stem for these worms to be in there. Do you know if that is correct what bug that would be? Love watching your garden grow.

        Reply
        1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

          Hummm… I’m not aware of the pest you speak of Cynthia – perhaps it’s a regional thing? A very valuable resource is your extension agent, ours has been amazingly helpful with a wide variety of questions. Give ’em a call. ~TMH~

          Reply
  6. ColleenB.~Texas

    I read that about your 3-sisters gardening but guess it just didn’t sink into my brain.(not enough coffee I guess for me to soak up all your information.) After taking a second look and rereading I now notice your beans in with the corn. Next time I will read more slower and absorb all your information. :} I’ve been doing lots of research about them beans.

    Reply
  7. Kath M

    Your garden looks great….so many tomatoes! I recently bought a spirilizer to make zucchini noodles. It works great, and my hubby even likes them better than pasta noodles. A Win Win! :~) I put my garden in late this year, and with all the rain recently in TN the plants are growning like bonanza…now just produce something! No, I’m not impatient…lol Soon you’ll be busy putting it all up. Enjoy your respite .. Kath

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I’m supposed to get my spiralizer tomorrow, I’m so excited Kath! I’m hearing that many are loving using those things to make pasta noodles – hope RancherMan loves it as much as I know I will! We had a rogue rain shower push through the area yesterday and my fingers were crossed but alas, it missed our Homestead (as it typically does) Areas around us are receiving a surprising amount of rain for this time of year, yet our little area is approaching drought status again. It’s so weird how the weather patterns work! Here’s hoping your garden is producing like gangbusters soon! ~TMH~

      Reply
  8. ColleenB.~Texas

    WOW! Everything looks great and your garden is coming along very nicely considering how hot and dry it’s been for awhile. Dang, are them green beans in that basket? How long are they? They look like a mile long bean. :} If you’re planning on spray weed killer, use a cardboard box, sheet of plywood or other barrier to keep the spray at bay. That way you won’t get the spray WHERE YOU DON’T WANT IT

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      The garden is doing surprisingly well this year Colleen. The green beans in the basket are called ‘asparagus beans’. They’re a pole bean and they’re very productive, plus the beans grow over a foot long. I’m processing them into dilly beans as well as using them in my endless soup. Gotta love it! I guess I’ll have to use the cardboard thing to get my garden sprayed – winds are still 15 mph or so every day for the next 10 days and I’ve gotta get it sprayed. Thankfully my spray is homemade and not toxic to my veggies, but very toxic to grass vegetation. But I don’t want to chance it getting on any of my veggie plants. ~TMH~

      Reply
        1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

          LOL – the asparagus beans are part of my 3-sisters garden Colleen, they are vining directly up the corn. The 3 Sisters Garden is a traditional Native American garden: They planted corn since it was a staple in their diet. They planted vining green beans at the base of the corn to add nitrogen to the soil for the corn which is a heavy nutrient feeder, but the corn supplied the trellis for the beans. Then they planted squash between the corn rows to trail the ground to shade the soil and conserve moisture for the corn & beans. All three plants using, yet helping the others – love the symbiotic relationship if of all! ~TMH~

          Reply

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