The State of the Garden {A Tour}: July 2013

A quick tour of our backyard gardens, which got off to a late start due to the inclement weather we had this spring, but are now finally in full swing.
The State of the Garden (A Tour) July 2013

I think it’s about time I shared the ever changing landscape of my backyard.

We started the summer with a plan to build a shed, which turned into a first step of building a new garden box. Of course, I am referring to the collective “we” here, by which I mean I do a lot of consulting and Ole does a lot of building, digging, hammering, sawing, and the like.

Since we’re being honest, some of these pictures were taken two weeks ago not long after the new garden box was finished, and a lot has changed in two weeks’ time.


The State of the Garden (A Tour) July 2013
A GIF! Okay. I may be getting obnoxious. Still, you get to see the yard from two weeks ago. Please note the giant hole in the back hill.
The State of the Garden (A Tour) July 2013
The State of the Garden (A Tour) July 2013

The State of the Garden (A Tour) July 2013
The garden box was the solution as to where Ole would dump all the dirt from the hole on the opposite side of the hill. This picture is from June, but the tomato plants are easily 3 feet tall now, the squash have filled in and are full of blooms and tiny vegetables, and the green beans are massive in comparison to where they started.
The State of the Garden (A Tour) July 2013

The State of the Garden (A Tour) July 2013

The State of the Garden (A Tour) July 2013

The State of the Garden (A Tour) July 2013


The State of the Garden (A Tour) July 2013
This is really just so you can see the progress that’s been made on the shed pool house.

We got a slow start to the planting season with the snow following us into May. As a result, some of the plants are a bit behind their usual July size, and the new garden box was planted even a few weeks after, but it’s been eager to catch up.

What we planted:

  • Heirloom tomatoes – 15 varieties including: Amish paste, Caspian pink, Brandywine, Tigerella, Green Zebra, Pineapple. A few of them are in each garden bed, including on the trellis system. The ones that didn’t fit on the trellis either have free-standing trellises or poles with clips to anchor them to the poles.
  • Herbs: A little bit of everything and something in between. I have them both in raised beds and in pots at the back door for easy access. I can never seem to have enough.
  • Pattypan squash: 2 Flying Saucer, 2 Sunburst.
  • Crooked-Neck Squash: I don’t know. I always feel like different summer squash are prettier. Right. I needed two of these plants. Clearly.
  • Courgettes: The green variety of summer squash this time, also known as zucchini.
  • A pumpkin: For years we’ve been carving out own pumpkins, except for last year when the vine did not like its new home. This year I made its home a whole 4 feet east of its last home (also known as in the new garden box), so we’ll see what we get come October.
  • A mystery vine, possible a watermelon: It looks like a watermelon at least. It just sort of sprouted in the garden box in an area that wasn’t occupied, and I let it. I’ll get back to you once we get a few flowers and something growing.
  • Haricots verts: Or is it haricot vert or haricot verts or haricots vert? I don’t speak French. I just eat green beans from the 10 plants in the garden.
  • Purple asparagus: This one is a long-term investment, as we won’t harvest for a few years, but these perennials aren’t terrible to look at in the meantime.
  • Lacinato kale: x8. Yeah. Eight.
  • Butter lettuce and red romaine and some other leafy green: Like it says above: Dinner salad for days.
  • Peppers: Two bells, chile de arbol, Thai, Ghost, something else. Really, are you still reading and interested, because if you are, I’ll go look at the tags.
  • Tomatillos: I planted a two of them solely because I want tomatillo salsa in mass quantities. Is two plants enough for this to happen? I guess I’ll find out. So far, so good.
  • Strawberries: More of them. I have several everbearing varieties, but I wanted a good selection of Junebearing plants, and so I planted 20 new plants this year.
  • Carrots: Danvers and Little Fingers. Yes. I purchased the Little Fingers seeds just based on the name. Winter is coming. My carrots always end up small because I am terrible at thinning. I thin, but never enough. Plus, I plant them in the wrong soil and expect them to survive.
  • Sunchokes: Gifted to me this spring by a friend.
  • Scallions: My kids eat these out of the garden. I never even get to harvest a single shoot, but if that’s what keeps them happy, I’ll happily sow the seeds with them each year.
  • Sugar snap peas: These are another product that I can rarely get enough to use because my kids think the garden is their personal snacking grounds.
  • Saltwort: It looked like seaweed and I can put it in salads. These seemed like good reasons to purchase this plant when I was feeling like my new garden box was oh so large with oh so much space to fill.
  • Cucumbers: I have two Suhyo Japanese cucumber plants, two pickle cucumber plants, and one something else.
  • Sweet potatoes: This was an accident. They came in a box while it was wet and humid here, and when I opened the box they had sprouted. Naturally, I stuck them in the dirt, and now I have a few very large potted plants. I need to read up on how to encourage sweet potato production to see if they can be more than a pretty plant.
  • Honeycrisp: This was a gift from Ole while I was mourning the Cortland in the back. Some girls get flowers. I get tomato plants and apple trees.
  • Calendula: This marigold was also a gift from the husband. See, he did give me flowers.

What was already there:

  • Raspberries: We’ve been cultivating a little raspberry patch in the far corner above the compost pile for a few years now, and this year looks like it should be a wonderful crop. So far the Japanese beetles haven’t been buzzing, so we might actually get to enjoy the berries I can see ripening before they do. {knocks on all the wood objects}
  • Sorrel: You haven’t? You should.
  • Herbs: We moved them inside last fall and back out this spring. It was worth it, and the ones that didn’t make it, we replanted.
  • Chives: Always the first to come up in the garden, I really should find better uses for them.
  • Rhubarb: My mom always had rhubarb when I was growing up, which meant that it was one of the first editions to my garden. I bought two teeny tiny plants from a vendor at the farmers market, and from that I’ve received countless pounds of rhubarb stalk to turn into syrups and cakes and to give away.
  • Apples: This is our third year for two of our trees, and it is also the year that the rabbits got to the one in the backyard that flowered. After one of the late snows, the rabbits stripped the bark. We have a graft in place to see if we can save it, and the tree has since sent up pear shoots from the roots, which we’ve allowed to live in hopes that roots and leaves are talking to each other. No apples this year, but I’m holding out hope that we can save the tree and see fruit from it.

There you have it, the state of this year’s gardens. What are you growing?


  1. I seriously have garden envy! LOVE your garden and all the amazing things you have growing. 🙂

  2. Oh my goodness you have been busy! Love those planters 🙂

  3. So jealous. What a gorgeous and healthy looking garden!

  4. Looks like it’s all coming along so beautifully! I love watching things grow! This is our second year having a garden at our house and I’m enjoying it so much! We mostly have tomatoes, zucchini, basil, bell peppers, cucumbers and cantaloupe. Not a ton, but just perfect for our two raised beds.

  5. Your yard and garden are stunning! Can Caleb come play? 🙂

  6. I’m so jealous! The bunnies and I are in constant battle in my yard that I can’t even grow a lot of those yummy things! Looks fabulous!

    • We’ve evicted the bunnies from our yard for the most part. (They aren’t a fan of the constant hammering and sawing that’s been going on for two springs, so they find somewhere else to stay. Three years ago, though, we had bunny babies right in the raised bed. Ahem.

  7. You are going to have the mother load this summer! The raccoons always eat my strawberries…sigh.

  8. WOW! That’s awesome! I want to vacation in your backyard! Perhaps that sweet little building by the pool is a guest house? *fingers crossed* 🙂

  9. I am in awe!!! How beautiful and thriving and amazing your garden areas and backyard space are!!! Your hard work shows! xoxo

  10. With all the work you’ve done, you’ll never be able to move from that house. But then again… why would you?

    Happy to help with any excess harvest you have, if that’s even something you deal with. Seriously gorgeous yard, Shaina. Props to you and Ole.

  11. Your garden is so lovely…
    And rows are great. 🙂
    I think the grass is greener than normal!
    I’m jealous. 😉

  12. Veronika says:

    Gorgeous!!! Reminds me so much of my dads cottage
    He grows everything. I wish I had inherited his green thumb 🙂

  13. What a beautiful landscape! The fruits of your hard work will taste delicious, no doubt. 🙂

  14. Marilyn says:

    I love your yard!! Is your new planter box custom built? I have a similar spot in my back yard that could use this!! It’s one of the few spots I get enough sunlight to grow anything…other than in planters on the deck. Thanks for posting. I love your sight!

  15. You have a very full back yard. I will be looking for some kale recipes from you. I’m trying to use it more in my cooking. This is my second year of planting it. I have lacinato also … But only 4 plants. My favorite things to grow are tomatoes onions peppers and potatoes. Sweet potatoes too! And I have 4 different varieties of carrots!

  16. Gorgeous garden! I’m jealous 😉

  17. G’day! I LOVE your garden boxes, true!
    A veggie garden is something I would LOVE to be able to do!
    Cheers! Joanne

  18. WHAT IS THE OTHER PEPPER? Come on, don’t leave me hanging!

    In all seriousness, I’m jealous of the whole deal, but I’m also envious that your haricots verts are still standing. Mine have farted out big-time this year and I’m in bean withdrawal.

  19. Great job! LOVE the garden box!

  20. LOVE this post! Hey, does Ole hire out? I’m wanting to change up my garden, to incorporate raised beds. 😉

  21. I’m seriously jealous!!!LOVE the garden box!

  22. So I got my husband drooling over your garden box with me! Did you follow a plan somewhere? We live where it frosts so we would need it secured. Any suggestions on how to make it? Thanks!

    • Ole built this himself and just made a plan according to our hill. We also live in a frost area (hi from Minnesota), and to protect the box from frost heaving you’d just want to dig post holes below the frost line, cement 4x4s into the ground, and then anchor the garden box corners to those beams. I hope this helps!

  23. That garden box is gorgeous, girl. Can you send Ole over here when he is finished? 😉

  24. WOW!! All kinds of fabulous, topped with a wee-bit of jealousy. Love it!

  25. I would love to have a garden like that! Love all of the work ya’ll have done!

  26. WOW- it’s all so beautiful! I’m seriously jealous- I have a black thumb. 🙁 I’ll just admire your garden.

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