Its hot and blazing now, summer is in full fury. The garden is a jungle, just how I like it! Here’s what’s happening in my garden so far:

Bursts of color make this variety of Swiss Chard a focal point of the garden.

In my first of three garden plots, the Five Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard has really produced. Its beautiful stuff, all the colors make for a lovely patch in the garden. I suppose I should cut a few bunches for friends… nahh, I’ll eat it all. The peppers fill out the majority of the rest of this garden plot. Poblanos could be harvested whenever I want, but I’d like to see some turn ripe and red. I have three plants laden with deep green, beautiful peppers. I have another two in containers equally laden. I’ve got some Melrose peppers at full size and can’t wait to see some ripen, and a few Shishito peppers have shown themselves. I’ve got two Jalapeño bushes heavy with peppers too, waiting for some to ripen. So far, none of the others have fruited, but they are quickly heading that way. At the end of my pepper patch are three mighty okra plants, taller than me now. They have produced consistently and I have a huge batch of okra saved up for frying. These plants, Star of David Okra, have massive stalks 2″ in diameter. They are huge, impressive plants. The lizards love them.

Nice poblanos ready to eat.
Nice Poblanos ready to eat.
Melrose peppers, these Italian-via-Chicago legends are doing well in the southern sun.

The tomatoes are producing wildly, at least the Romas are. The Cour di Bue and Brandywines have slowed a bit due to the heat, but have put on a few new fruits. There is a bit of blossom end rot going on with my new fruits on the Roma plants, not enough calcium in the soil. Such are the problems with first year, unstable soil, not properly amended.I also have five Panteno tomato plants in small containers that I did not expect to do very well, but they have fruits and today the first one began warming in color. These seeds were purchased from an ebay heirloom seller long ago, I managed to sprout some. I do believe the proper name is Pantano Romanesco, my seeds were marked Panteno. Either way, its always fun to grow tomatoes in containers, a five gallon bucke with some holes drilled in the bottom is the ideal size in my experience over the years.

Still, even with the setbacks, I am not complaining. I’ve been enjoying some tomato dishes and I’ve made a nice pasta sauce, Mediterranean stuffed tomatoes, basic sliced tomatoes and a really delicious Balsamic Bruschetta. More good eats to come.

A few day's harvest
A few day’s harvest

I sadly must report that the local birds have figured out the huge plastic owl and Irritape anti-pest flags I put up are not a threat to them. I guess the allure of bright red fruit on the vine is just irresistible. While most birds are keeping away, I’ve found a few fruits that are bird-pecked and eaten. Its mostly those closer to the ground, and the culprits are sparrows. Time to do some more backyard vermin hunting.

And there is basil by the pound. Some of the greatest basil plants I’ve ever had are even now growing like weeds. As I mentioned a while back, I’ll probably plant only two or three varieties next time instead of six, but all of them have been fantastic producers. The pesto is absolutely amazing.

My beans are now spilling over the garden borders, and even though they are bush varieties, you can’t get the crawly vine out of the bean completely. I’ve begun harvesting the Ozark Razorback cowpeas, over time I will have one or two family-sized servings per summer month from the small 4’x4′ plot. There could be more if these are heavy producers. The green beans, of which there are many more, are now setting flowers like mad. I should have some canned green beans soon.

Container gardening adds variety and space to my garden, I love trying to bring food forth from buckets. The eggplant is producing heavily, I can say that Ping Tung thrives in a five gallon bucket. What a beautiful plant! I’ve got 16 large to medium eggplants awaiting a good recipe on the plants even now. Try it, container gardening is easy, but in the summers requires daily attention so the plant doesn’t wilt or dry out. I have to water the eggplants and my other containered plants every day.

There’s an update, everything is growing nicely, I’m a happy gardener! How about some more photos:

Arkansas Razorback variety cowpea loving the heat
Ozark Razorback variety cowpea loving the heat
Blossom End Rot, not a good condition to discover.
Blossom End Rot, not a good condition to discover.
Okra towering tall, its getting to be a jungle out there!
Okra towering tall, its getting to be a jungle out there!
Bird damage always makes me fightin' mad!
Bird damage always makes me fightin’ mad!
Beans and eggplant thriving in the summer heat
Beans and eggplant thriving in the summer heat