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Planting in July for a fall harvest

By Penny Stine

Last night, I decided to tackle this bed. It’s my front flower bed, and before we cut down the large, dying silver maple in the front yard, it got too much shade to grow anything but shade-loving flowers and herbs that will grow anywhere. It was overrun by parsley and mint.
I tore out most of the mint and parsley, saved the perennials that I liked to plant somewhere else and decided to plant a few melons, some peppers and my pineapple tomatillos in this bed, since it now gets a good amount of sunshine.


I did not add any wood chips to this soil last fall or this spring, which means the plants are faring better than plants elsewhere in my garden. Boy, did I learn a lesson about adding non-decomposed wood to garden soil… (in case you’re new to this blog - don’t do it!)


As you can see by the pic, there were plenty of volunteer plants in this bed, too, like cosmos, more mint and a pretty spreading ground cover that I dug up (or at least thought I dug up) and established elsewhere. The bed was also overflowing with bindweed.


It took me quite a while to pull everything and bust up the clods of dirt, which was important, since I decided to plant a mini fall garden in this bed.

In the empty spaces between the tomatillos, melons and peppers, I liberally sprinkled carrot, kale, Swiss chard and beet seeds.


I’m having trouble with this particular zone in my sprinkler system (of course, it’s the zone with the largest amount of garden space, which is also causing me additional problems this garden season) but this bed is right next to the hose spigot, and I’m willing to water with domestic water.


I’ll have to be vigilant about the bindweed, but I’m hoping the Swiss chard and kale like it and decide to sprout. Although I’ve got enough of both to eat a couple of times a week now, I don’t have enough to freeze, and I really like having frozen garden greens to eat all winter.
I’ll be curious to see how well seeds germinate in this bed, since they haven’t germinated very well at all anywhere else! 

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