What's Growing - June
Growing food is such a rewarding thing come June. There is bounty that can be indulged in and put by. First greens and early berries, then late berries and beans, this month is full of diversity. The shifting of the Equinox makes this month one of extreme abundance, late enough in the spring to provide the warmth and long days, early enough in the summer that the rain is still abundant and the sun hasn't scorched everything to oblivion yet.
Here are things growing in my garden this month:
- The end of kale and lettuce for now, all those spring greens will get bitter with the heat or 'bolt', the term used when they shoot into flower. Some say to cut lettuces down and they will resume growth once the soil cools a bit, but I've never found it worthwhile to leave the space virtually empty. We will enjoy those last few salads and wilt the kale to eliminate the bitterness.
- Cabbages are heading up very nicely this month, and should be ready to harvest in a few weeks. When mulched a bit, these babies can stand a little more heat but generally I lose them to cabbage worms before heat. Be on guard for worms and slugs, picking them off by hand or adding diatomaceous earth below the plant.
- Green Beans! As a staple of summers of my childhood, I always plant these, though in recent years began planting them in two week succession. They generally last for a bit but then putter out, so if you plant multiple runs you will be able to enjoy a more continuous harvest.
- Garlic. This has been hanging out just looking pretty but not saying much since late October. Garlic scapes (the curly flowering shoot) were harvested this month and used to make delicious pesto and sautéed. Now is the time to test and see if the bulbs are ready to harvest. Pull one and observe how the bulbs look. If it looks like a head of garlic, well done! If it's a bit little, wait a week or two and try again. Once they are harvested, it is important to cure them before storage.
- Carrots, Beets and Onions. My below ground root veggies are in sad display this year. I planted majority of them in the bed that has drainage issues, and with the extremely wet spring, many of my carrots got soggy, and the beets didn't germinate well. Check the carrots and beets just by pulling one and observing. Depending on the variety you planted beets are best before they get too big, carrots are also great as young little things, but they also store well in ground so leave them if you'd like. Onions are a little easier to tell the size from the shoulders that stick out of the ground a bit, and theses are also good as young things, which works well if you planted a little too close together.
- Cucumbers are present, the fruit a little small yet, but we are so so close I can practically taste the crisp snap of one freshly picked. Early on, these plants are pretty susceptible to disease and pest issues, mostly caused by the cucumber beetle, which feeds voraciously when they first emerge. But once the plants are a bit stronger, and a little later in the month, this subsides and gives way to the fabulous fruit (if they didn't manage to kill the plant). I prefer to do hand picking and use a homemade garlic spray preemptively.
- Raspberries, oh raspberries. We put in the berry patch our first spring here, and I am so glad we did. The fruit is coming in so well and because I chose a summer bearing and fall bearing, we have a pretty continual supply for a good month now, and we will get another run in a couple months time. I do have to cage the fruit to prevent the birds from getting the whole harvest, but that and mulching and pruning are all I have to do.
How about you? What do you have growing?