June is the time when all of that early spring work in the garden begins to pay off!

Broccoli heads forming on our plants in the garden
Broccoli heads forming on our plants in the garden

Not only do you begin to enjoy harvests of those early spring crops like sugar snap peas, lettuce, radishes, onions, strawberries and more – its also the time when those big producers like tomatoes and peppers begin to take hold with big growth spurts.

Here in central Ohio, this past month’s weather has been nearly perfect for the garden as far as rainfall, temperatures and growing conditions are concerned – a welcome change from the bitter cold winter, and the below average temperatures of early spring.

The Garden Plan:

Our purple potatoes in the garden growing strong
Our purple potatoes in the garden growing strong

It is always such a neat feeling to see the garden plan come to life each year.  I have to say that every year, there is always at least one crop that surprises us with its growth – and this year it is our purple potatoes.

This is our first year to grow the heirloom variety – and to this point, they have just exploded with growth.  I can only hope that the same growth is going on underground and that we are in for a big harvest!

As for other plants in the plan – the heirloom tomatoes are growing big and strong, and we are starting to see the first green tomatoes on the vines.

The same goes for our peppers – including our newest (and hottest) addition to the garden – The Carolina Reaper.  It is labeled as one of the hottest in the world – measuring in at over 1.6 million scoville units – or about 3000 times hotter than a jalapeno.  I still have no idea what we will do with it other than see who might be crazy enough to try it! 🙂

Getting Ready For The Garlic Harvest

The garlic harvest should be a good one this year!
The garlic harvest should be a good one this year!

June is the time that one of our favorite crops –  garlic –  nears the big harvest day!

In the early part of June, garlic begins to send up its flowering stems called scapes.  The scapes are edible, and in fact many people consider them a delicacy.

We love to chop them up and use them on potatoes, or in eggs, much like a green onion.

It’s important to cut them off as they appear, this allows the garlic bulbs to continue to develop to full size.  In late June, the garlic will begin to die back, and as soon about 50% has browned off – it’s harvest time!

 

Fertilizing and Watering

The Valenica tomato plant in our garden is just beginning to set some small green fruits.
The Valenica tomato plant in our garden is just beginning to set some small green fruits.

June is also the time we will usually give our plants a little boost with an application of our homemade compost tea fertilizer. (See:How To Make Your Own Natural Fertilizer). We will usually apply a couple of applications in June – one early and one late in the month to power up our crops.

The key with using any fertilizer in a vegetable garden is to never apply too much.

The first tiny peppers of our Black Pearl Peppers
The first tiny peppers of our Black Pearl Peppers

A little goes a long way to build strong roots and stems – but if too much is applied – you run the risk of creating all foliage and no fruit on your plants.

As for watering – we have been lucky so far – with perfectly timed rains taking care of all of our watering chores! Vegetable plants in a garden setting need about 1 to 1 1/2″ inches of water per week to grow, (See:watering the garden) and the rains have come every few days to supply it.

I have to say it is a good feeling to know that not only have we had plenty of rain, but that both of our rain water tanks are filled with over 500 gallons of water should it start to dry up!

Succession Planting:

Sugar Snap Peas Although we are harvesting daily now - we are also planting the seeds for the next crop in a month or so.
Sugar Snap Peas Although we are harvesting daily now – we are also planting the seeds for the next crop in a month or so.

Not to be lost in all of that harvesting is that June is also a great time to bet busy on second plantings of the early spring crops. Although our crops like cilantro, lettuce, radishes and sugar snap peas are in full production – they will begin to bolt as they near maturity and the summer progresses. Now is the time to get more seeds planted to enjoy a second crop in a month or so and keep the goodness coming all summer!

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Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary

Old World Garden Farms

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