Saturday, July 31, 2021

This Month in the Kitchen Garden: Vegetables and Annual Flowers

Each year I give the entrance to the kitchen garden a slightly different look. Last year I used pots of zinnias and marigolds on either side of the arbor; the year before I had planters with large coleus there. The tall black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia maxima) that I planted last fall has come into its own this year. In front of each towering plant I placed pots of exotic-looking, red, orange, and yellow annuals: canna, lantana, and gomphrena. My grandson, Jonathan, chose the hot hues from the White Flower Farms catalog. A couple of stone bunnies were my final touch -- after all, I don't want rabbits INSIDE my garden.

Clockwise from top left: Left side pot; Canna Toucan® Scarlet; right side pot; Lantana Bloomify Red; Globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa)


Before we enter the kitchen garden, take a look at the rose on the outside fence. This is my (formerly) beautiful hybrid tea rose, Rosa 'Peace'. It has rose rosette disease (RRD). One symptom is the red elongated shoots and red foliage that never turn green. The disease is spread by mites from multiflora rose, an invasive that grows in our woodland areas and is difficult to eradicate. I must remove and burn the whole plant before it spreads to my other roses. I wrote about RRD in a previous posting when I was worried that my 'Lichfield Angel' rose had contracted it. My angel was O.K. then -- hope it continues to be safe from this awful scourge. 


Rosa 'Peace' with Rose Rosette Disease


Also along the kitchen garden's fence line is the rain garden. We are glad that we extended it earlier this year as we have had some dreadful downpours. Last night, three inches fell in a very short time and created havoc in my garden. The rain garden collects a large amount of water from the house gutters and basement. It does tend to overfill a little, so I have to devise a means for it to overflow safely. That is my next rain-garden challenge.


The Rain Garden


One of the casualties of the rain is my poor squash plant. I thought at first that it had bacterial wilt or squash vine borer, but I can find no evidence of the striped cucumber beetle and there are definitely no borers in the stems. I believe it has root rot caused by the excessive amount of rain. I used a moisture meter that showed me the soil is saturated. I planted this zucchini in a raised bed that is not very deep, so drainage is quite poor. I am considering increasing the depth of my raised beds next season. I must pull out the wilted zucchini. Bummer.


My poor, wilted zucchini

Well, I think that is all the bad news, so let's see what is working well in the kitchen garden today. The following vegetables are looking healthy:

Clockwise from top left: Pole beans, kale, cherry tomatoes, parsnips, Swiss chard.

The bush beans and cucumbers are thriving. You can see three puny zucchini in the basket -- I believe that's all we'll get this year. The beans are delicious and prolific; they are a three-color blend from Burpee. The cucumber is Muncher from Annie's Heirloom Seeds.

I planted annual flowers among my vegetables and in the cutting garden with mixed results this year. The borage had root rot and there is a great deal of powdery mildew (the rain again). 

Zinnia; Cleome hassleriana 'Rose Queen'; bee balm beyond the cleome; the tiny white flower is Yarrow Achillea 'The Pearl'

Cosmos Sea Shell Mixture

Zinnea elegans

This post shows that my garden is not perfect, and neither am I. As the English poet, Alfred Austin, wrote:

"There is no gardening without humility. Nature is constantly sending even its oldest scholars to the bottom of the class for some egregious blunder."

And my favorite quote of his:

"The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body but the soul."

I am linking with Sarah Down by the Sea in Dorset, England for her monthly meme. Thank you for hosting, Sarah.


Pamela x


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  1. Looks gorgeous! My beans failed utterly - 3 showings and not a one came up. But the rest are doing great. Definitely worth raising the beds. David made mine 3 boards deep and we bought good quality top soil and it has made such a difference compared yo my sand, rocky soil.

  2. Beautiful, beautiful, Pam! Your garden is inspirational. The garden gate and structures really add personality. And the produce looks delicious! :)

  3. Sounds like you are having a few of the same issues I'm seeing this year. Mold and mildew and rot... it sounds terrible!
    But I still prefer a wet year over a dry one any day.
    I love the entry way planters. The rich colors and the rudbeckia framing the door... and all the goodies inside the fence. I wish my beans were as productive this year!
    It really looks nice, and it makes me really wish I planted more zinnias.
    All the best for August!

  4. Your flowers are beautiful Pam and the Kitchen garden looks wonderful! I always enjoy your monthly views.

  5. Goodness, an embarrassment of riches! We generally beg for rain all summer, although for the last month we’ve finally had some rain. But nothing that would give us rot! But your other vegetables are giving you goodies in the meantime.

  6. There's never a year when everything does well in the garden but you're doing pretty good there I'd say. We haven't had much rain here even though it's been forecast, though we're due storms today so we'll see if they materialise.

  7. What a wonderful garden! Love those quotes.

  8. Have been checking our weather - heavy rain, cold and snow on the mountains next weekend again. We'll see.

    Your Rudbeckia archway looks impressive, makes an exuberant statement.