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Welcome To My Jungle!

Ah, the summer garden. Neat rows of staked tomatoes, tidy beds with cucumber vines keeping itself in the bounds you set for them, everything evenly spaced and easy to find…

…NOT!

At least, not in my garden. Not this time of year! Scroll down to each photograph, and I’ll give you a tour of my kitchen garden.

This first photo is of two twenty-foot beds that are mostly empty right now. I planted peas early this spring in the one to the left – they are, for all practical purposes, done with for the year – and in the one on the right, I planted the extra tomato starts.

The SmartPots that you see I plan to use for sweet potatoes next year.

Two long, empty in-ground garden beds

I’m filling the Smart Pots with organic matter to create soil inside them per the lasagna gardening method.

In the next picture, one of the extra tomato plants growing next to the trellis in the bed on the right-hand side.

The following photo is a view to the blackberry trellis and main asparagus patch, from the two beds shown in the first picture.

I have beetle netting over the blackberries to keep the cardinals from stealing the fruit. Look carefully in the next photo and you’ll be able to see almost ripe fruit through the netting.

How to keep birds off your blackberries? Cover them with beetle netting!

In the next photo, my back is toward the asparagus patch and we’re looking down toward the grape vine. Near the grapes are the two new lasagna garden beds I’m creating.

Next, a close-up of those beds.

In the next picture, my back is toward the grapes, giving you the view from there down toward the asparagus patch.

Next, standing by the grapes, I’m showing you the view of the high raised bed portion of the garden. Four blueberry bushes are in front, then there are four beds oriented east to west. The first three are mainly lasagna beds topped with an organic potting mix. The fourth bed is filled with a decidedly non-organic potting mix that I hate to admit buying. That’s a story for another post.

Here’s the first high raised lasagna garden bed. It has a tomato on either end and mung bean plants in the middle.

A close-up of some unripe yellow pear tomatoes on the same plant as in the above photo.

I think I started the cucumber vine, which is in the bed next to the one with the pear tomatoes, in the following picture at the beginning of April, and planted it out the first week of May. It’s a hybrid variety, and man, let me tell you: if you want a prolific plant, choose a hybrid over an heirloom!

The dried material in front are two or three spent cilantro plants, I hope happily reseeding into this bed!

I had to actually pick and THROW OUT 13 cucumbers of this size…and there were 15 super-mature ones like it left!

A view of the cucumber bed and the other two beyond it, looking toward the south side of the garden.

Now things get really messy. I have two sub-irrigated planter-beds (SIP beds), which are basically giant Earthboxes – which are self-watering planters. They run the opposite direction of the four high-raised lasagna garden beds.

In this first one, way to the right is a cage protecting a few broccoli plants. Right in front you see a lot of red malabar spinach plants surrounding a zucchini, plus one dill.

No, I’m not going to let all those malabar spinach plants keep growing! But I’m going to keep them there, cut short, to help confuse any squash bug that might come along and try to destroy the zucchini.

A close-up of the zucchini plant. Can you see the yellow blossom behind, at its base?

In the next photo: welcome to the jungle! Now I know why they’re called Kentucky Wonder pole beans – because you wonder how a plant could grow so prolifically, so fast, and take over everything! It’s all over the upside-down tomato cages that I’m using to stake the peppers. I think I’m going to have to prune some of the pole bean vines so that they don’t completely shade out the peppers!

Kentucky Wonder pole beans take precedence in this photo.

See? The beans even want to grow into the kiwi vine!

Next, a sad pepper, lost amidst pole bean vines and much-taller basil.

Here’s a closer view into that bed. In this half of the bed, the peppers are growing in the middle, with the basil next to them. The pole beans, though planted next to PVC pipe attached to the outside of the cage, are growing wherever they feel like it!

A lush summer vegetable garden.

At least the beans are finally producing. In the next two photos, a bean flower, than a bean baby. As opposed to a beanie baby, lol.

A side view of that SIP bed, looking at it from between two of the high-raised lasagna beds.

Next, a south-north view of this bed. In front is one of two Beit Alpha cucumber plants I have growing (the other is elsewhere, and yes, this is an heirloom variety),

The really tall plant by the cucumber is a huge lambsquarters. This is an edible weed, related to spinach.

After that, the jungle!

The following photo shows the path between the SIP beds and the high-raised lasagna garden beds, just so you can see that there is some tidiness in my garden. 😉

There ya go! Thanks for accompanying me on this tour of my kitchen garden. 🙂

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