Shaker Gardens Thread: July Edition

July pink zinnia photo julyzinnia_zpsljq3q2v2.jpg

Howdy Shakers! How is your garden looking these days? I figured we could all stand to look at some pretty flowers, tasty veggies, and gross insect eggs...wait, WHAT? Anyway, here are some pictures from my garden!

First let me share some veggie pictures. This is a blossom from a purple pole bean I am growing. I will be honest; neither I nor my partner really love the taste of the beans. But the flowers are really pretty! they look nice all over the vines.

Julybeans photo julybeans_zpsnfpwhqmm.jpg

On to the nightshades! I'm growing some white eggplant this year as well as little mini eggplants. These are ripe at about 2 inches, and are super-productive.

july eggplant bebe photo julyeggplant_zpsxgvhp85c.jpg

Here's some of the baby eggplant, basil, and a zucchini waiting to be turned into a tasty casserole....nom!

julyzukeggbasil photo julydinner_zps3arxtcdn.jpg

I don't usually grow conventional zucchini, because of the horrible squash vine borer. It's a pretty moth with an ugly habit: laying its eggs on the vines of c. pepo and c. maxima squash. The eggs hatch grubs that burrow into the stalk and kill the plant. In some places, there is just one generation and you can time your plants around it. Down here, they're present pretty much May-September. And the eggs are suuuuper hard to find. Unlike the squash bug, which at least lays their eggs in clusters, the SVB lays eggs that are tiny brown individual dots. Here's one on my finger:

julyegg photo julyegg2_zpsmtkhc0oj.jpg

And here's one on the plant. The moths leave them scattered in random spots, and yes, they blend in with bits of dirt, etc.

july SVB egg2 photo julyeggs_zpstzu607f7.jpg

So basically, I avoid growing the varieties the SVB like in favor of c. Moschata and c. Argyrosperma squash and pumpkins. But this year, I decided to try conventional zukes--in 2 pots, next to my back door, so I can check them everyday. It's just not feasible to scout for those tiny eggs among 6-8 plants in a bed on the ground. So far, I've gotten about 4 zukes, which is more than I've gotten before. Partner really likes zukes, so it's a good compromise. I figure the SVB will win out eventually, but hey, it's been fun while it lasts.

How about some flowers? I have a new rosebush of an antique climbing variety-- "Ballerina." The flowers are not showy but it's supposed to be a tough plant that does well in shade.

 photo julyballerinarose_zpswxwwmkgd.jpg

That rose is from the Antique Rose Emporium, by the way. I'm not advertising and I don't get kickbacks, but I have had good luck getting old timey roses (read: low-maintenance) from them.

Here's another rose, not an antique variety, but also a climber. It doesn't produce as many flowers, but they are really pretty. Imagine this covering an ugly tree stump, and you can see why I planted it:

july red rose photo julyrose_zpsndd1szwe.jpg

I'm trying to get some pink and purple coneflowers going in our front beds which are hotter and dryer (by virtue of being close to the asphalt road) than the rest. This one I took on a morning when it was just starting to bloom--thus the dew.

July coneflower photo julyechinacea_zpspqv9n225.jpg

Okay, some more veggies now? Let's talk cucumbers. Mine are really happy this year! I am not a huge fan of cucumbers unless they are very fresh--so I eat a lot more if I grow them. And these are some cherry tomatoes from a plant I bought at Lowe's or somesuch. Usually I get the variety "Mexico Midget" from Seed Saver's Exchange, and they grow like gangbusters, but for some reason, this year, they all keeled over.

july cuke and tomatoes photo julycucketomato_zps2p5cxkjc.jpg

Here is possibly a very unexciting picture. Unless you have ever tried to grow rhubarb in a hot climate. BEHOLD MY rhubarb in JULY!

julyrhubarb photo julyrhubarb_zpsyehcvcjx.jpg

Rhubarb, which I love, just really doesn't thrive in long hit summers, and it needs a bit of cold in winter to go fully dormant. However, with lots of watering and afternoon shade (as well as some anti-Japanese beetle measures--they love to destroy the leaves), I have a 3 year old plant and a 2 year old plant getting along pretty well. There's another plant I put in ths year. Some day it will be a decent patch--in the meantime, I've gotten enough this year for a couple of pies! Yay!

Here's another interesting vegetable--a Fortna white pumpkin. It's a c. argyrosperma with a cool shape and creamy white skin. Since I took this, it's doubled in size and is about 7-10 pounds.

 photo july fortna pumpkin_zpsuomfgivv.jpg

This is an heirloom squash from the Fortna family in Adams and Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Holding up very well so far in our heat and to our bugs. The dreaded pickleworm arrived this week, so we'll see how they do. I have a TON of these--over 15! on the vine, so I am hoping for lots of little ghostly pumpkins for fall decor as well as for pies.

Let's end with some more pretty flowers, shall we? I'm starting to warm up to lillies more than I used to. I'm not big on a lot of orange and yellow in my flower gardens (just personal tastes), but the red, pink, and white shades of these look sooo good in July, when everything else is starting to poop out. I love this one:

lily july white photo julylily2_zpsrvwc9s1x.jpg

The cool white shade makes me feel less awful, even when the temp is 100F and feels like 112! And let's end with this pretty pink one:

julylilypink photo july pink lily_zpsssa7qbz5.jpg

That's it, Shakers! How does your garden grow? feel free to share your pictures and stories in the thread below. It doesn't matter if your "garden" is a pot on the window, a single bed, or a few acres--all are welcome. (And Southern Hemisphere Shakers, please do tell us about your winter garden, share some older pictures, or tell us your plans for spring if you wish!) Please remember that people garden for many different reasons and with many different needs and constraints: budget, time, growing organically, saving water, etc. Let's keep the conversation positive and judgement free--thanks!

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