1. I created a raised bed out of some old cinder blocks that I found in my garage. The bed is 3×6 feet. I planted some pole beans and constructed a trellis for them. The beans started to germinate a couple of days ago. We have had weather in the low 90s the last couple of days, so I have been watering heavy.
2. I have been harvesting snow, sugar snap, and shell peas over the last week. They make a delicious snack, especially with some homemade ranch dressing. With the recent heat, I doubt that I will get many more peas. I also tried an experimental trellis system that was a minor fail. Look for a future post about it, with pictures.
3. My spinach and arugula are done. I turned their beds and planted edamame to add some nitrogen to the soil. If the soybean harvest is early, I may turn the beds again and plant arugula and spinach again in the fall. My spring mix is still providing great yields, but it doesn’t like this heat. I keep the ground well watered in order to keep the soil temp down. This allows me to get 1 or 2 extra cuttings.
4. The cooking greens are looking great and will give me and my friends a steady supply of kale, chard, and collards through October. Look for a future post with my sesame kale recipe. I planted several different varieties of cooking greens, because I had a major pest problem with my lacinato kale last year. Hopefully, that pest is a picky eater and it stays away from the other varieties.
5. The curcubits and nightshades are doing better after a rough week for some of them. I didn’t harden off all of my starts. Therefore, some of the plants got leaf burn from the intense natural light. I trimmed the leaves that were burned, so the plants could spend all their energy on new leaf growth. Overall, I lost one pepper plant, but all of my tomato transplants look healthy enough.. The cucumbers are taking off and I planted two summer squash varieties (Patty Pan and Zucchini) today.
6. I threw a final layer of dirt on top of my potatoes. I did this 3 times. It tricks the potatoes and increases yields. Basically, I let the leaves break through the soil and then I cover them with more dirt. This is the first time that I have grown potatoes, so I am interested to see how well this technique works.
7. I have hops growing along a fence in my backyard. If supported they will grow to be 20 to 30 feet tall. They smell great and can create a natural privacy fence. Oh, and of course you can brew some bitter ales with them come Fall. Watch for brewing tips from agridude’s resident brew master, Austin Jevne from Driftless Brewing.