It’s mid-July and we recently experienced a heat wave they referred to on the news as a “heat dome” that was stuck above most of the United States during Fourth of July week. The week before, I was down in Connecticut visiting my family for my father’s 85th birthday celebration. When you’re away from your garden for a week, you can really see the difference in growth when you return; it seems to me everything has more than doubled in size. The plants love the heat and thankfully Mother Nature took care of watering in my absence.
Since returning to New Hampshire just in time for the temperature to be peaking in the middle of this week, I have been going out to the garden very early (around 5:30am) in the morning with the dogs. I spent time wandering the garden as I water the beds and the smart sacks – hose in one hand, coffee in the other. The dogs are usually also in the garden smelling the fragrant odors that waft from the plants and flowers. I’m fortunately to have a wonder space for our garden – it’s basically flat, fenced-in and faces southwest. So it’s able to soak up more than 8 hours of sunshine usually. It’s also at 1500ft so there is no any obstructions such as trees which cast shade upon it and it sees the sun until about a half hour before sunset.
While we were away, our 3’x6′ garden was attacked by a ravenous chipmunk who dined on our lettuce and peas, which I had forgotten to harvest and take with me down to Connecticut. Now I must clean out the remaining bolted lettuce and dried peas, add some fresh compost and reseed.
Succession planting is the practice of planting something new in place of a crop that’s been harvested. Seeing how it’s early July, there is plenty of time to seed some new crops in the place whre we had the peas and lettuce.
Here in Zone 5, there are plenty of time to enjoy growing beans, beets, Brussels sprouts, sweet corn, cucumbers and radishes, just to name a few. There are varieties of broccoli and cauliflower which could also be seeded now. Once thing to consider is what was growing in the space before and how it may have effected the soil. Remember no matter what you sow, you need to replace the nutrients with some fresh compost.
The 3’x6′ originally started the season off with lettuce, peas, and carrots. The lettuce and peas are done but there are some remaining carrots to take in to consideration when choosing what I will seed next. Bush beans grow quickly in the hot summer soil, so they would be a good option. Bush beans are also good companions to carrots; other thing to consider veggies that complement each other, instead of possibly hindering growth. Not everyone plays nicely in the
sandbox garden together. If you want more information about companion planting check out my post
Brussels sprouts is another consideration and would do fine with the carrots but would be better suited to be coupled with beets and onions. Cabbage and Kale could also be on the list; however we don’t eat a lot of it so I’d rather use the space for the veggies we do enjoy more often.
Sweet corn is another possibility. Corn likes beans and also gets along with cucumbers too if I choose to include those in the bed. Corn would be fun – I’ve grown it successfully once before and know there are few things in life as sweet as the taste of an ear of corn you have grown in your own garden. Mark usually gives me a hard time about growing corn since it usually invites critters to the garden. Growing corn isn’t difficult, but keeping the harvest can be since it’s trust that critters love corn. Whether its the crows or squirrels- they find it as tasty as we do. The other reason Mark balks against growing corn is that it generally needs a lot of space. However, you can grow corn in a small garden. By sowing the seeds 12′ apart We should be able to grow 18 cornstalks in our 3’x6 raised bed.
A quick trip to our seed storage tells me I have a few varieties to choose from. I’ve picked Sweet Country Gentlemen corn, Golden Bantam 12 Row corn and Glass Gem Corn which I will couple with Alibi Hybrid Pickling cucumbers since cucumbers and corn make for good companions in the garden.
Gentlemen Sweet Corn – introduced in 1890 by S.D.Woodruf & Sons which is described by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds as “sweet, delicious and milky…with tender white kernels.”
Golden Bantam Sweet Corn – introduced in 1922 by the Clark Seed Company in Milford, CT. This golden yellow corn is suitable for freezing and fresh eating.
Glass Gem Corn – introduced by the Native varieties of Carl “White Eagle” Barnes, the famous Cherokee corn collector. This corn has amazing color that looks like strands of glass beads.