Summer Garden 2013- What’s Growing?

I’ve decided to keep it small and simple this year for our summer garden and we’re only using the two smaller raised beds we have. There’s more space available for gardening, just no space in my life right now for more of me gardening. I’m happy with what I’ve got and so far, so good.

This year, there have been no garden monsters, thankfully, pulling up my plants. I’ve finally learned from years past and covered the plants with chicken wire until they were big enough to crowd the boxes and keep the masked bandits out.

Changes this year:

Tomatoes: Almost every year we get big beautiful plants which develop plenty of tomatoes and then get blossom end rot. This year I buried several crushed egg shells in the bottom of each hole where I planted the tomatoes. Supposedly the extra calcium in the egg shells will help prevent this. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I’ve planted the same variety of tomatoes as I usually do, so not much else is different.

Fertilizer: I got tubs of chicken manure/compost from Mount Royal Farms and mixed it in with some organic Kellogg’s garden soil. I did not do the “no-dig” layered garden this year, though I did use some left-over hay from last year as mulch.

Watering: This year we used soaker hoses instead of drip irrigation targeted to specific plants or last year’s lazy hand watering (which was a failure).



4 tomatoes (3 red, 1 yellow)

6 eggplant

3 basil

1 green zucchini

1 Armenian cucumber






And that’s it! Really. I planted everything in April with the thought that more will follow but I don’t think that’s going to happen now. However, if everything grows, it should be more than enough for the two of us. In fact, I already have enough basil growing to make a batch of pesto.

What are you growing?

Oh! One more thing! The bare root apricot I planted a couple of years ago has a few small apricots on it! Fingers crossed that we might get a couple edible pieces of fruit this year.




  • Suzanne

    Nice garden! I kind of envy people who like to garden, as I’m not one of them. But I have planted four tomatoes (including a Paul Robeson, which I couldn’t resist just because…) and a basil plant in pots on my deck. I also have barbecue rosemary left over from last year. This is already the biggest “garden” I’ve had in a long time, and I have to haul water out to the porch. We’ll see how long it lasts~

  • Betsy Mosteller

    Please keep us posted on the progress of the garden. Good luck! I’m trying jalapeño peppers this summer and so far, so good.

  • Barbara | Creative Culinary

    A mile high also means a month late; we are just now able to start planting outdoors in Denver so I’m amazed at your produce! I’m doing all container gardening this summer; will be interesting to see what does and doesn’t manage that well. Lovely photos!

    • formerchef

      Thanks Barbara. We’ve had some super hot weather here already this year, so I’m sure that’s helped the plants along. I’ve got some herbs in containers too.

  • james

    still had the possibility of some frost in new england this past week, so we’ve held off on transplanting, but we’ve got roma, black russian, and german strawberry tomatoes ready to go in; green/red and orange bell peppers too; sweet & hot cherry peppers & banana peppers need some additional time inside; basil, parsley, kale, swiss chard, radishes, rainbow carrots, onion and oregano went right in a few weeks ago and are up (for the most part); just put my 2 year old rosemary plant outside; and the chives i left out all winter popped back up about 6 weeks ago (who knew?). put an apple tree in the side yard as well – jonathans, because they’re self-pollinating. 3 – 5 years i might have an apple. or a dead tree. we’ll see.

    we’re using the square foot gardening method for the first time this year. the up-front cost for the soil mix was fairly high (mostly because the box i built is 36 cubic feet – which is waaaaaaay to big – so we needed, for example, 12 cubic feet of vermiculite at $20 for a 2 cubic foot bag) but i’m told we won’t ever have to refill or add anything other than compost & it seems to be working nicely so far. we’ll use the tried and true topsy turveys for some of the tomatoes and peppers. those things really work well, especially in limited space.

    good luck everyone!

    • formerchef

      WOW! Your garden sounds amazing! I’d be surprised if you never have to replace the soil. Somehow, every year I seem to “lose” about half of what’s in each raised bed I have.

  • Natalie Dalton

    Next on my gardening to-do-by-May-two-four list was to get my peppers planted, and to get the beans, cucumbers, zucchinis, arugula and asparagus peas planted. This included installing a trellis for the zucchinis, which are a climbing variety. As of last weekend I hadn’t even started hardening off the peppers yet, so they spent the week on the porch (my attitude lately has been, “If you’re going to live, you’ll live, if not, I’ll replace you with nursery plants”). I just don’t have time to baby the things. And for some reason they just didn’t grow after reaching a certain height under the grow lights. I probably should have transplanted them into a mid-stage pot, like the tomatoes, but alas, I couldn’t be bothered.

  • Myra

    I haven’t had much luck with my garden for the past two years. I’m not sure if my veggies didn’t grow because of the usually cool summers, or something I’m doing wrong. Despite the disappointment, I’m trying again. This year I have three tomatoes, zucchini, bush cucumber, spinach, green onion, various types of lettuce, basil, green beans, and edamame beans.

  • Ann

    Blossom rot can come from from irregular watering too, especially from the start. Another good thing is epsom salt. It right on the bag as to how much to add to the base of the plant. Lov eth pics. I have raised beds as well. Love them.

  • Dash66

    Your garden sounds like a good size for two people. Unlike me. I was invited to take a community garden plot in my town. I made the mistake about asking the size of the plot after I agreed to take it. My plot is approximately 30×25 feet. Oh, and did I mention that I am a single guy? I have six bell pepper plants, five thirteen pepper plants in five varieties (I make my own hot sauces), a zucchini, a butternut squash, two types of cucumbers, 14 tomato plants (8 varieties), a cantaloupe, a honeydew melon, a watermelon and lastly a pumpkin, so on Halloween I can invite ladies to join me in the most sincere pumpkin patch around! 🙂

    I have no idea what I’m going to do with all of my produce. Friends are starting to run the other way when they see me coming with bags of veggies! I’ve started to leave bags of tomatoes on my neighbors’ doorsteps just to get rid of them.

    But I have to say, even though I have spent much more money on the garden plot than I would if I just went to the farmer’s market and bought my veggies, it has been a lot of fun. And when I picked that first tomato this year… well, let’s just say, I don’t think I’ve eaten a better tomato in my life!

    I hope that you have had a lot of success with your garden this year. Let us know how everything goes!

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