The summer garden is at that lovely and anticipating time when flowers are blooming and fruits are ripening. I didn’t really have time for it, but I planted lots of flowers – zinnias, hollyhocks, Tithonia, marigolds and cosmos in the flower beds in front of the garden. I used to mix herbs and flowers together in the garden, but found that sometimes the herbs were too invasive and smothered out the vegetables, or vice versa. The flowers would be pretty at first and then either turn into an impenetrable jungle, or be hidden in weeds and slowly wither away.
I am really enjoying the order and accessibility of the flower beds. I seeded several kinds of zinnias, and of course got them mixed up when it came to planting out the starts. In my mind I had planned out beautiful and striking color combinations – dark opal basil with bright lights cosmos and red marietta marigolds, or pink cactus-flowered zinnias, thai basil, and picotee cosmos….but the way it actually happened, I had no idea what colors were planted with what! In a way, I like it better, because it is fun to go out and see what the flowers look like once they open. There have been some interesting, if unplanned, color combinations.
I did make an exception because of too many zinnia starts, and companion-planted them with the eggplants. I am almost afraid of how much eggplant we might have later on. I started seeds I had saved, and more than I expected actually grew. This also happened with the tomatoes – the first lot I started in December froze, and in desperation, I started two more flats worth (that’s 100 plants). They started off well, and then somehow the flats that had frozen had more tomatoes growing out of them once the weather got warm. I ended up with a lot of tomatoes this year!
The sweet corn is mid-calf height, and growing nicely. The bush beans are filling out, and the pole beans have reached the first wire on the trellis. The first tender squash is just about ready to pick! The cucumbers are also ramping up for a productive seasons. I am envisioning lots of pickling this season, since I have 12 plants. Green peppers, green tomatillos, and green tomatoes are hanging all over like Christmas ornaments. The garden is out of the vulnerable seedling stage, and it is only a matter of waiting now.