Summer Solstice is Near

Tomato Flowers on June 16
Piramide paste tomato flowers on June 16


Just five more days until the Summer Solstice and while the plants in my gardens may seem to be way behind those in other parts of the country I know that soon they will be growing rampantly. The garlic, onion, and shallots are doing best now but these are cool season plants that begin growth almost as soon as the ground thaws. I’m expecting garlic scapes in about ten days or so. Not to long after that the bulbs will be ready to pull.

Most of the potatoes are up and now I see that I missed about 50 feet in one row so tomorrow I’ll dig I trench and drop in sprouting potatoes from the basement. I’ll at least get some nice small potatoes for fresh eating from them. The other root crops are spotty in their germination so some re-planting may be necessary. The carrots look good, though, especially after I pulled the weeds from them. My cole crops also look good and the Zebulon sunflowers, quinoa, amaranth, and some beets are coming up. The chard will probably need to be replanted but there is still plenty of time for it to grow into huge plants.


Painted Mountain Corn Seedlings
Painted Mountain Corn seedlings


I planted Painted Mountain Corn on May 28, and Dakota Ivory Corn and the sweet corn grex on June 1. These are all up now and germination was almost 100%. Soup beans (Flambo, Good Mother Stallard, and an unknown red bean) and several varieties of pole beans were planted between May 29 and June 2. Except for two varieties of pole beans all came up and are looking good. I replanted the missing rows of pole beans yesterday hoping they will grow fast enough to yield something.


Flambo Bean seedlings
Flambo Bean seedlings


Although the night temperatures were above 40° F from June 2 on I did not transplant my tomatoes until June 14. I typically wait that long because there is almost always a frost around June 10. Sometimes these frosts can be very hard and kill tender plants right to the ground. To keep the tomato plants healthy and strong while they waited I potted them into large azalea pots where their roots could really spread out. This was a good idea as they grew almost a foot high and even formed normal blossoms.


Tomato plants transplanted under the trellis
Piramide paste tomato plants transplanted under the trellis


I started all the winter and summer squash, edible gourd, and cucumber seeds indoors by sprouting them on wet paper. Once roots appeared I planted the sprouts into the garden. Planting the sprouts into the gardens was done on June 6 and by June 12 all but a few edible gourds had come up. The rest of the gourds came up today. Only my Beppo hull-less pumpkins did not sprout. I direct sowed these and that was probably a mistake. In their place I planted a mix of scallopini, zucchini, and crook-neck squashes and some left over tomato plants.


Tromboncino squash seedlings
Tromboncino squash seedlings


I planted three species of winter squash: my Hubbarb mix (Cucurbita maxima), butternut and tonda padana (two varieties of C. moschata), and spaghetti squash (C. pepo). The C. moschata varieties may or may not mature in our short summers but the flavor of this species is worth the effort.


Winter squash seedlings
Winter squash seedlings


There is still a lot left to do. Rhubarb can probably be harvested one more time. So far there are 46 quarts of rhubarb sauce in the freezer. I’d like to harvest enough this next time to try making a batch of wine. After that I will be transplanting the new rhubarb varieties I bought this year. The Dakota Ivory corn needs to be mulched and there is weeding to do in the rhubarb, garlic, and root crop rows. But it’s good to stop and appreciate the flowers, too.


Iris "Sans Souci"
Iris “Sans Souci”

2 thoughts on “Summer Solstice is Near

  1. So many good things! It’s interesting to see what can still be grown in a shorter season. Bummer about the hulless pumpkins. I’m curious about these because I love pepitas but don’t know an efficient way to shell them.


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