June ushers in the arrival of the gardening season. For those who live in the North, you know how short and generally cool our growing season can be. That’s why it’s so important to get things in the ground on time. Of course, no two growing seasons are the same. In fact, the month started with abnormally high temperatures. Then in the middle of the month, our nighttime temperatures dropped to near freezing – which is quite normal but felt extra cold after that early heatwave. Needless to say, this has been quite an interesting start to the garden season but I won’t let that stop me. Now that the month is coming to a close, it’s time to share the ups and downs of the June 2021 garden.
June 2021 garden
The backyard vegetable garden is my pride and joy and where I spend a decent amount of time during the summer.
What I planted
Over the years, I have focused on certain plants over others because they grow well in the conditions and our shorter growing season. Because of this, I tend to grow the same things every year. Usually, I also toss in one of two new plants as an experiment but this year I have skipped that step. The closest I have to experiments is trying a few different varieties of plants I normally grow to see how well they do here.
Beans are my favorite item to grow in the garden. In fact, they take up nearly the entire inground garden area. Beans grow quite well here and so it makes sense to dedicate such a large space to them. The two varieties I grow are contender green bush beans and golden wax yellow bush beans. Though planted in the middle of the month, the beans have only just begun to sprout, so there isn’t much to show yet.
A single variety has been planted so far and that is the sugar snap vine peas. These peas grow well up the garden fence and do help to provide a small amount of shade to the garden. Much like the beans, these have barely begun to sprout.
Herbs are the perfect item to grow placed throughout the garden. Whenever there is a space, tuck in an herb. Herbs are a newer addition to my garden, as I used to skip over them in favor of vegetables. However, in the last couple of years, I have realized the benefit of growing them. So I grow a nice mix of them. This year, I am growing two varieties of basil, cilantro, dill, and chocolate mint.
This year, I committed two raised beds to grow carrots. The whole family enjoyed eating garden carrots, though generally most of them are canned and eaten during the winter. The variety growing this year is Nantes coreless, which is what I grew last year as well and they did quite well.
One of the quickest and easiest vegetables to grow. Since my husband is the only one in the family who eats radishes, I have planted a small number of them in a container. As usual, the variety grown is cherry belle.
A decent chunk of this year’s garden is dedicated to growing brassicas. Two varieties of broccoli, green sprouting and romanesco, fill one raised bed. Green and red cabbage fill another. Brassicas tend to do well in cooler temperatures, which makes them ideal for growing up here. Though with the early warm weather, it will be interesting to see how they do over the summer. If the heat returns again, I have plans to cover them with shade cloth in an attempt to prevent them from bolting.
Generally speaking, I don’t grow tomatoes. They require longer summers and warmer weather than what we have. However, I decided to give them a try again this year just for fun. Plus the seed I have is quite old, so it was an experiment to see if they would even sprout. So far, all of the seeds have germinated which is surprising. The seedlings are still quite small so there is a chance they won’t get big enough to produce anything but only time will tell. The two varieties I have growing are Beefsteak and Tiny Tim.
Most gardeners know how easily zucchini grow. Even a single plant can produce a ton of zucchini under the right conditions. This year I have several green zucchini seedlings in one of the raised beds and I am sure they will give us more zucchini than we can eat fresh. However, this is fine because I can freeze the extra or turn it into zucchini bread.
Lettuce, spinach, and Swiss chard are the green I tend to grow. It gives us a nice mix of leaves to use for salads, sandwiches, or simply snack on. These were planted back in mid to late May. They had sprouted shortly before that early June heatwave and since then have struggled to grow. If they don’t grow much soon, I will likely pull the planted and sow another round.
I mostly grow flowers in the vegetable garden to draw in pollinators and deter pests. The marigolds are the main flower I grow, which I spread throughout the entire garden. Marigold is great for deterring pests and looks nice too. Impatiens are a childhood favorite, as their seed pods are fun to pop. Snapdragons are another flower I enjoyed from my childhood, so I do my best to incorporate them into the garden. These tend to be put around the outside of the garden to add a bit of color. A couple of nasturtiums are growing this year as well, as they did quite well last year and really brought in the bees. Lastly, I am growing sunflowers. I have grown them in the past but this year I am trying the sunspot dwarf variety which was developed to grow well in shorter seasons.
Yes, there have been some failures already. The majority of these stem from seeds non germinating. While most of my seeds are newly purchased this year, there were a few which were older, such as the pepper seeds. These were planted more out of curiosity than anything else.
What didn’t grow well:
- Long island improved brussel sprouts
- Early Calwonder peppers
- Champion moss curled parsley
- Sweet peppers
Of all of the above failures, they all suffered from little to no germination. I expected that to happen with the older pepper seeds, but for fresh seeds it was surprising. It’s especially strange that the parsley didn’t sprout when last year it did so well. I do plan to resow some of these, especially the herbs as they still have enough time to grow and be harvestable despite living in a short growing season area.
Front flower garden
Like last year, I went simple with the front flower garden. Mostly this was because flower seedlings were still hit and miss in the greenhouses. This year, I planted two additional chocolate mint plants as well. The plants currently appear in rough condition due to a recent wind storm, however, I have full confidence that they will recover soon enough.
That’s it for the June 2021 garden update. There is still work to be done, some more seeds to be planted and seedlings to be transplanted, but all things considered, I am happy with how it is so far. What are you growing in your garden this year?