Friday, July 29, 2011

Vegetable Garden Update in My Tennessee Garden

It has been forever since I've updated on you my vegetable garden so today is an update. I really miss doing those monthly updates and may go back to them but to tell you the truth I've been so busy since my husband officially retired that I rarely have the time to blog much anymore. I am still maintaining it because it is such a good scrapbook but just not as busy with blogging as I used to be. I do want to tell my dear buddy Skeeter a most heartfelt thank you for keeping the blog going while I was on vacation. I so enjoy sharing this blog with you each week.

The above picture shows the harvest from Monday morning. We then picked five more on Wednesday. Cucumbers rule! The peppers are a close second. I've only had one tomato ripen so far this year. I planted four 'Better Boy' tomatoes this year. Normally I plant a variety of tomatoes but instead chose to go with the same variety this year. I like it better because in my small vegetable it is easier to have the plants all about the same size and with the same growth pattern and habit. There are several more tomatoes on the plants but they are not in a hurry to turn red. I think that with the heat and high nighttime temperatures the tomato season will not be all that stellar, still, they are doing well as you'll soon see.
I always like to include long shots of the garden. For me they are what I enjoy most because I don't often get up close and personal with the plants. I tend to enjoy my garden from inside or on the deck. Here I am standing on the deck or even walking and sitting in the garden. I don't get up close to the flowers unless I pick them or smell them. I enjoy the long views best so I include them on the blog. The vegetable garden is bordered on all sides by several large oak trees. To get any vegetables from the garden is a miracle. It is, believe it or not, the sunniest location in my yard with the exception of my south facing parking pad. I can't grow much there though I do have several containers full of ornamentals. The vegetable garden you see above is bordered on two sides (east and north-the two sides closest to me in the picture) by my Sunny Perennial Border. This border is such a delight for me-and the vegetables as you'll see.
Here is the east side of the vegetable garden. It receives shade as you can see but still gets plenty of sun to grow several ornamentals.
This angle is looking into the vegetable garden proper from the corner between the east side and the north side of the Sunny Perennial. We are looking over a David Austin rose 'Falstaff', a brugmansia, and other perennials into the vegetable garden where the pink gladiolus and orange cosmos grow. The tallest plant we are looking through to the orange cosmos is helenium. This is a wonderful native that will begin blooming in a few weeks and will add some late season color to my gardens here. If you don't grow it you should give it a try.
Looking west from inside of the vegetable garden proper we see more gladiolus, basil interspersed with strawberries, a night blooming jimsonweed, three huge zucchini plants (just past the A-frame leg), also visible in the foreground of this picture is an outstanding surprise plant that will be revealed in a later post. You can just make out the leaf of the mystery plant in the foreground. The leaf looks like an eggplant leaf-hint.
On the northeast corner bed of the garden I planted several vining plants. I believe these are all cantalopes or watermelons. I got confused because when I planted the seeds some came up and some didn't. I hope it is all cantaloupe though. After the cantaloupe came up I planted more seeds including 'Kuri' squash. Therein lies the problem. I'm not sure which is which.These vines have gone wild even with the heat. All I can do is try to keep the vines from the main walkway and growing toward an area where they can roam. That is a difficult thing in my vegetable garden-not too much room to roam. I'm not sure why I didn't grow these on one of my A-frames but I didn't. Sigh.
Here is a long shot looking west. The tomato plants are over five feet tall here. They are nearing the end of the length of their concrete wire cages but will be okay even if they droop a bit. In the foreground you can just make out more zucchini. These seeds were sown in late June. So far successive sowing has been a big success for me and it barely took any time sow the seeds. It did help we received rain toward the end of June so sowing was pretty easy this year unlike in years past.
Now we are looking north at a second A frame covered with cucumber plants. Directly underneath I planted the pepper plants. These pepper plants went in after the lettuce came out in April. So far so good and all plants are happy and growing well. I have been regularly watering the vegetable garden by overhead sprinkler on a weekly basis. I think the schedule has helped all of the vegetables. I do not normally water any gardens on a schedule. The vertical foliage you see everywhere in the vegetable garden is the foliage of gladiolus. They are volunteers and most difficult to get rid of. The ones that grow here in the vegetable garden are used for cutting only. Since they don't take up much room and don't interfere with the vegetables I usually don't pull them out.

Also growing but not pictured are blackberries (still picking when we beat the birds), raspberries, carrots, kale, and blueberries (we never beat the robins-they've enjoyed a good feast this year). I harvested the onions last month-it was my first time having them successfully grow a bulb. I also dug out all of the potatoes. They were a pretty good crop and it was nice getting them from my own garden.
Under the A-frame you can see one of the many butterflies gracing both the vegetable and Sunny Perennial gardens this year. I allow some self seeders to grow in the brick pathways and beds of the vegetable garden and I tell you they make all the difference in a beautiful versus not so beautiful vegetable garden. This butterfly was in love with the orange cosmos that grows throughout the backyard.
I had forgotten where I planted my cuttings of 'Black and Blue' salvia but it reminds me as soon as it blooms. This is on the east end of the vegetable garden. I winter cuttings over in my greenhouse for planting out each year. I do believe that next year I am going to stop doing this in order to save myself some work. My gardens are too full for tender perennials. When I planted the salvia in May there looked like there was tons of room but looks can be deceiving.  In addition to the salvia I also winter over: pineapple sage, lantana, and impatiens. Most of these are huge plants that make a big statement in the late summer garden but they can crowd out the hardier perennials so I have to make a choice for what is best for the garden in the future.
Daylillies will always be a favorite. I wish I knew what type this daylily is but I unfortunately lost my entire garden catalog when my external hard drive decided to go bad. Not a nice feeling and I sincerely feel the loss of that handy document. I now find myself having to start over with cataloging all of my plants and I don't think I'll ever get it done. At any rate this daylily has been blooming for nearly two months and as you can see, is still full of buds to come.

Lastly, another flower in the Sunny Perennial Border outside of the vegetable garden. I believe this plant to be 'Gloriosa daisies' (Rudbeckia hirta). These are the same kind of flowers my grandmother grew in her garden when I was a child. I had tried them in my garden before but never had much luck with them so I gave up the fight. I don't usually have enough sun to effectively grow these. But then here comes a good friend to the rescue. Upon visiting my friend Naomi she had three large groups of these dug from her garden to give to me. What a surprise! I think the plants will have a better chance of surviving the conditions in my garden since they are already fully grown and established rather than as seedlings. In addition Naomi gave me several Japanese eggplants, tons of fresh corn and a few other lovely plants that now live in my garden. 

That's it for the vegetable garden with its surround of a perennial border. What's growing....

in your garden....?

Happy Birthday to my sister Dawn!!!!!!!!!

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. Tina, what happened to Anonymous who used to post?

  2. Tina, your veggie garden looks so pretty with all the flowering ornamentals. I usually plant some marigolds and zinnias at the front of mine to add a little color, but I really don't have room for much else. Your cucumbers and peppers look great! My cucumbers haven't even blossomed yet, and I'm not sure what's happened to the peppers--they look terrible this year. But the green beans were a resounding success, and the tomatoes are looking good, too, though not ripe yet.

    Too bad about your hard drive; after my computer crashed a couple years ago, I swore I'd keep everything backed up that was important, but I haven't been as good about it as I intended. Losing your plant catalogue must have been especially frustrating!

  3. Your gardens are so full and lush Tina, looks wonderful.
    I have Glads for the first time this year....they send out volunteers??? By seed? I am excited if mine procreate.
    I put in Black and Blue....Skyler thinks it is a place to roll-- he is in trouble when he does that!

  4. I picked 5 ripe tomatoes from my garden yesterday, 3 of them were tiny tho. Wonder why those ripe early? I planted different plants thinking I'd like one more than the others but I never look at the tags! My squash is going wild too, it's climbing my gate. I hate to move it around. I planted glads in pots. 50 bulbs, we'll see what they do.
    Yes, Happy birthday to me, and manny moorrre!!!!

  5. Everything looks so good. I have had lotsa beans, both yellow and green and the peas have been great as has the lettuce but have only had 1 ripe tomato. Mega tomatoes on the plants and still lotsa flowers but just the 1 ripe one. Hopefully soon. My okra is looking great. Can hardly wait for that. Will not be too long now.

  6. Tina your gardens look awesome as always girl! I love how you have veggies and beauties intermingling together. Me thinks the butterflies and bees like it that way also. Great for veggies to be pollinated.

    I planted 3 Roma Tomato plants after saying I would not fool with them this year. Last year was a depressing year for maters in my gardens and I just did not want to mess with them this year. Bargain prices got the best of me. Well, I want you to know we are getting tons of Roma’s! I am picking them at about 20 or more weekly! The Saint is eating lots of mater sandwiches. I have frozen mater’s waiting for winter chili, soups and spaghetti sauce. I reckon I will have Roma’s again next year too…


  7. Sally's mom, Thanks for the reminder as I haven't talked to my friend 'anonymous' in a while. I called her this morning and aside from being very busy with her 5 children ranging in age from 17-2, she is doing well but just too busy to comment much on the blog. Thanks for asking!!

  8. Hey looking good there! loving all the perennial flowers. I hear you about the tender ones, though. A girl can only do so much and it is time consuming. I think I'm gonna to a veggie update on the blog soon too.

  9. Happy Birthday Dawn! How I wish we have cucumbers now:). Yours look really good. Your veggie garden is so full of colour and healthy.

  10. Tina, your garden looks wonderful. There is not much growing in mine because it has been so hot and dry. I have managed to keep my basil and tomato watered and have a good supply of those. I have never experienced such a hot summer and I really don't care to ever again. Are you coming to NC soon? Let us know when so we can come and see you. Carla

  11. Your garden are BIG. And lush and full. I think I should have been watering the veggies more since tomatoes look wonderful, but taste rather bland. Looks like you are getting some nice produce.

  12. Evening all.
    Tina girl you do it all the time. Your garden looks wonderful. So hot here all is about burned up. My peppers are still doing good. Beans are gone. Only got a few maters from the "Patio" that was in a pot. I read somewhere to rejuvenate your potted maters is put a tea bag just under the soil. I'm trying it to see if it works.
    Hope you had a wonderful HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Dawn.

  13. Wow. You have a lot growing and it all looks so healthy. Not sure if you have a squash or cantaloupe but watermelon leaves are usually more "cut." Hard to explain.
    It's nice to see the long shots. Gives a better feel for everything.
    You are really harvesting a lot. Enjoy!

  14. I am envious of your cucumbers. I don't seem to be able to grow short, outdoor cucumbers. Never seem to thrive for me. As for zucchini... I am drowning in them!

  15. It's always a pleasure to visit your garden via the blog. I can almost smell the plants and hear the insects buzzing. Happy Birthday to Dawn, congrats to Mr. Fix-It on his retirement (not sure if I wished it before), and kudos to you on growing such a beautiful garden.

    No veggies growing here, just ornamentals and a few herbs in pots, but there are fresh veggies and fruit available (cheap!) from local vendors. It's not the same as growing your own, I know, but living in the woods kind of limits what I can do. Next year we'll try some container veggies.

  16. Hi Tina! Everything looks good, but what got me - your cucumbers!!! I used to be proud of mine and shared them with my friends and neighbors. For third year in a row I have very few of them, as well as tomatoes! There is not enough heat for them! I love support system for your climbers. You have such a hot summer, but you have a good harvest too!
    Stay cool!

  17. dear tina, seeing the long shots really gives an idea what it feels like being in your garden. everything looks healthy and happy. I'm not currently growing veggies, my main crop is parsley and most of them seem to have disappeared. Is that a pizza sign on the shed? happy birthday Dawn.

  18. Your garden is so prolific and those tomatoes, sigh. I envy your heat. It is too cold and rainy here for much to grow.

  19. Cat, Yes indeed! Good eye. It is indeed a pizza sign from "Bourbon Street Pizzaria". A great flea market find I picked up for a mere $10 many years ago. Thanks for asking.

  20. You got lots of goodies. Veggies look great but also the flowers they produce. Our tomatoes are just started to ripen about one week ago. Husband is eating cucumbers and peppers every day...think he would be tired of them by now.

  21. Glad to see your post Tina, your veggie garden is looking good. My cukes and squash are my best producers at the moment but the tomatoes & bell peppers are a close second. :)

  22. Hi Tina, that tomato is very tall and healthy, i can visualize it with big red and green fruits in a little while. BTW, what are those 2 long lines for in the first photo?

  23. Happy belated Birthday, Dawn!

    Looks fantastic with all the ornamental plants in your vegetable garden Tina.

    I can definitely empathize with veggie gardening in only part sun. The tomatoes do seem to take longer ripening, but it's fantastic having garden tomatoes when they're ready. Cucumbers seem to do really well in part sun - they rule here right now too!