Welcome to Bepa's Garden!
This blog is about organic gardening, healthy eating and healthy living.
Each month I will be posting Garden To-Do Lists, Tips & Techniques, Garden Project Plans, Photos from the Garden, Recipes and Book Reviews.
I hope you enjoy reading and I hope I can inspire others to start a backyard garden!
Happy Gardening!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

How does your garden grow?

It's been a tough growing season so far with mother nature throwing everything at us from above normal temperatures, to a late frost, a heat wave and now torrential rains and flooding!
(I am kicking myself for not setting up a rain barrel irrigation system)

Miniature sunflowers.
The flowers seem to be loving this weather and are growing much better than the vegetables.

Morning Glory getting ready to sleep last night.

Same Morning Glory this morning.
 Some of the vegetables aren't really enjoying the fluctuating temps and heavy rain too much!

The rain has been really pounding the lettuce, kale and collards. 
The romaine has been holding up well, but the leaf lettuce is looking a bit tattered.
There is plenty of new growth, so as soon as the sun comes back out it should bounce right back.

The tomatillos are loaded with puffy pods. 
This is my first year growing them so it will be interesting to see how they develop.

Cucumbers seem to be doing great. They are planted in the mini-greenhouses with the roof panels removed so they have some protection from the rain. The plants have several flowers and baby cukes!

The garlic and onions all look like they are wearing boots! 
The rain has been falling so hard that the splashing dirt has caked up around the base of the plants.

The greenhouse still holds a couple trays of basil and petunias that were started in the classrooms for the school garden. They weren't quite big enough to be planted when we planted the rest of the garden, but are ready to go in, as soon as it stops raining!

The School Garden

Most of the plants at the school garden are doing much better than the ones at our home garden. Some of the squash, peppers and tomatoes were started here in the greenhouse from the same seed, but because the school garden has more direct sunlight, and is planted in raised beds, it is fairing much better with the heavy rains.

The yellow squash that was started here in the greenhouse is already growing several small yellow squash!

The tomato plants are twice as big and are much thicker than the same ones I planted in our home garden. They were given a dose of coffee grounds, which seemed to really green them up quickly.

The squash that was transplanted just before it got it's first leaves is doing outstanding. 
I swear it doubles in size every day.

One of the most exciting plants this year has to be the sunflowers. 
I planted several different varieties, including a dwarf variety, that are just about ready to open!

I have been having such good luck with flowers so far this year that I am already planning on adding several more varieties next year. I have been diligently dead-heading the marigolds and already have thousands of seeds drying for next season! 

Every growing season is a new learning experience, especially with the changing weather patterns. I think that's part of the reason why I love growing so much. Besides growing healthy food and becoming more self-sufficient, it is always changing and you are always learning, adapting to new conditions. I was surprised at how different the growing environment is between my backyard garden and the school garden, which is only 5 minutes down the road. We have several maple trees in our yard which shade the gardens at certain times throughout the day and lower the air and ground temperatures. The school garden is in an open area, with pine trees on the north side. It gets sun all day long and gets very hot and dry because it has no shade. The plants and beds seem to dry out quickly and we have to water much more that in our backyard garden.
The growing conditions are completely different, some things are better and some worse, but it is a learning experience and it is fun to figure out how to adapt to grow successfully.

Grapes starting to form.
Hopefully all this rain will end soon, the sun will come back out and everything will continue to grow!
I think the ducks are the only ones who really enjoy all this rain!

How is your garden growing?


  1. Everything looks awesome! Your shots of the morning glory are so stunning. Really beautiful photography! We had a rain barrel system set up at our old house that worked really well, but we haven't yet installed one at our new place. Too bad, because we have had a lot of rain lately! Those tiny baby cucumbers are the cutest things ever. I just love them! I've been wondering about adding coffee grounds to my garden and it looks like it really does work well. Starbucks has free coffee grounds for use in the garden so I'll have to pick some up next time I'm there! At least the ducks are enjoying the rain; they are so cute!

    Sorry for the long random comment, haha. I really enjoyed this post so I had to comment on everything! :)

    1. Thank you! The coffee grounds we added to the school garden came from Starbucks. The only drawback was they put the filters in the bag as well, but they are easy to dig out, or you could just add everything to your compost bin. Acid loving plants like tomatoes and blueberries really benefit from coffee grounds, and egg shells.

      I don't mind your long comments. :)

  2. Your photos of everything are gorgeous! I agree about the weather. My cool weather plants are doing well but tomatoes starts are already battling fungal problems due to rain and cool weather. I may have to replant some of them. :(

    1. Thank you! I have just the opposite, my warm weather plants are doing well, but my cool weather plants are growing slowly because of the heat wave we had. Luckily lettuce and spinach grow quickly so I can start more if I need to.

  3. It s winter in my garden but the rain has continued. I. Am due to sow pumpkins this weekend. It s helpful to read what you are growing as it gives me an idea of what to plan for our spring summer garden.

    1. Thanks for stopping by!
      My summer garden is pretty much planted, and I am busy planning the winter garden. I will be starting my winter seedlings soon!

  4. Rob - I love those photos of the ducks. Your garden is looking amazing. I can't believe how big your squash is! Have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Thanks Gretchen. I started the squash early this year in the greenhouse. They are doing much better than the direct seeded plants.
      Hope you have a wonderful weekend as well!

  5. Beautiful photos. I love the morning glories. We've had cooler than normal weather and no rain. But I agree with you, part of the fun of gardening is that it's different each year. While I planted lots of tomatoes and thought I'd have enough to can all our tomato products for the year, they haven't done very well. But our melon have done great. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Angi. It looks like the rain has finally ended here, so hopefully I can get back out in the garden this weekend!

      I thought we would have lots of lettuce already, but the weather has been hotter than normal and the cold crops are growing very slow. I don't think they will be as sweet as usual either, but I can always plant them again in the fall for the winter garden!

  6. Wow...beautiful pictures. Your garden seems so advanced! I tried tomatillos as an experiment 2 years ago and they were very productive. I even found 2 "volunteers" last year. I didn't think that would happen (I'm in Ontario) so keep an eye out next year and you might not even have to start new seeds.

    1. Thanks Natalie. I started the plants in the greenhouse early this year, hopefully the weather will cooperate and we'll have early yields! I'll have to keep an eye out for those tomatillos next year!