Jim’s Garden Adventure 2018 Chapter 6 “Jim’s Garden Goes Growing Along!”


Jim’s Garden Adventure Is Lookin’ Good!

It’s the middle of June – just a few days before the Summer Solstice – and, with all the extra rain we’ve had this spring, the veggies are bursting forth in numbers I could only have barely imagined several months ago!  The day I took the pictures for this article, I gathered up a number of garden tools and fertilizers, along with my camera and headed off to the garden in my Husqvarna garden tractor – you can see in the picture above that I also have my Gorilla cart in tow to carry my veggie plot paraphernalia.  So, let’s get on with Jim’s Garden Adventure, Chapter 6…


The Straw Bale Garden

Straw Bale TomatoesStraw Bale Cucumbers

Straw Bale Cucumber Growing





First off – the straw bale garden tomatoes and cucumbers are growing well – but, not as energetically as their “soil planted” cohorts.  My first few cucumbers harvested this year came from the straw bale plants.  For some reason, my eggplants are not doing so well this year either in the bales or in the ground – it could be the result of excessive rain taking a toll on them.  Along with their bi-monthly dose of Miracle-Gro plant food, they are now getting a liquid treatment with 0-0-60 fertilizer.

On the plus side, there are virtually no weeds growing out of the straw bales.


Tomatoes and Cucumbers and Weeds!

Tomatoes on the trellis.Cucumbers on the trellis.Cardboard and wood chip mulch around the trellis.








Though the straw bales are weedless, I have been incessantly yanking weeds around the ‘mators and cukes planted in the ground and trellised – even though they are blessed with a considerable amount of mulch – cardboard and weed chips – strategically placed around them.

I put up 2 trellises this year.  Each one has cucumbers on one side and tomatoes on the other – they are great companion plants!

There are massive amounts of tomatoes and cucumbers on the vines – growing and soon to be ripening.  Everyone says that I take more care and spend more time with my tomatoes than any other garden veggie.  It’s true!  I admit I have favorites – and tomatoes are at the top of my list!  I’ve already cut up several dozen old socks and panty hose – using them to tie the ‘mators to their trellis – to make sure the heavy fruit won’t break the branches.

And, for the last week or two, I’ve been pruning off the lower branches to drive energy up into the flowers and fruits.


Pickin’ Some Salad Makings

Malabar spinach growing well.


For several weeks, I have been harvesting enough lettuce, spinach, and scallions to complement our household’s daily meals – just a few leaves and stalks here and there.  I couldn’t wait to enjoy them – but, I plan on giving most of them a chance to grow much more – especially my tasty Malabar spinach!


The Three Sisters

Corn tassels in The Three Sisters.Corn silk in The Three Sisters.Green beans in The Three Sisters.







The sweet corn islands in my Three Sisters configuration are starting to produce tassels, silk is coming out of the growing corn ears, and, the green beans planted along with them are beginning to climb the corn stalks and flower.

Zucchini in The Three Sisters.


The zucchini and yellow squash are taking a little longer to cover the ground between the corn/green bean islands but, they are flowering as well.  It won’t be long before their leaves are the size of dinner plates – covering equally large squash.


Extra Green Beans and 0-0-60

Kentucky Wonder green beans on the fence.Healthy bell pepper








I planted some extra Kentucky Wonder green beans along the fence to compare their production with the Three Sisters green beans.  They, too, are flowering – and, I am starting to see a few small beans taking shape – slightly hidden under the leaves.

Since most of my garden vegetables have reached the flowering and fruiting stages, I have begun an application of 0-0-60 fertilizer to encourage a higher rate of development.  Removing all doubts, this is unquestionably an opportune time to give them some extra potassium.

Even my slow-growing bell peppers are flowering and fruiting – earlier than usual.  And, I dearly love fresh garden bell peppers!

I anticipate that, when all the veggies start producing steadily in a few more weeks, it’s going to be a daily ritual for canning, dehydrating, and freeze drying – to preserve everything we can’t consume as fresh.


My Garden Flowers Are Chasing Away Bad Bugs

Nasturtiums planted with my tomatoes.Marigolds planted with my cucumbers.Sunflowers will attract pollinators.







Let us not forget the flowers.  This year, I’ve got nasturtium and marigold growing as companion plants for my tomatoes and cucumbers.  They will help ward off stink bugs and cucumber beetles.  I also had to have a few sunflowers – to attract my favorite pollinators, the bees – and to give me some seeds to munch on later in the growing season.


Jim’s Garden Song

In closing, I would like to share with you my gardener’s version of the famous old World War 1 song and U.S. Army Anthem, “The Caissons Go Rolling Along.”


Jim’s Garden Goes Growing Along

Over here, over there
I plant veggies ‘cause I care,
And Jim’s Garden goes growing along.
In and out, corn stalks are stout,
I grab the weeds and pull them out,
And Jim’s Garden goes growing along.
Then it’s:  My!  My!  Gee!
Many veggies do I see!
So many that I have to sing this song.
‘Cause where’er I go,
I reap just what I sow,
And Jim’s Garden goes growing along.
And Jim’s Garden goes growing along.

Jim's Garden Goes Growing Along

Sing it loud.  Sing it proud.  As you yank those wretched weeds away from your treasured veggie plants!

Check out Jim’s Garden Adventures for other interesting ups and downs – and tips and tricks – I share during my gardening exploits.

Comments and emails are welcome!  Share your gardening stories or questions with me!


Jim, the Lifelong Gardener



2 thoughts on “Jim’s Garden Adventure 2018 Chapter 6 “Jim’s Garden Goes Growing Along!”

  1. Pam Muir Reply

    I really enjoyed your post. You seem to enjoy gardening, and have put the right veggie with the flowers to complement each other. Tomatoes grow well when looked after and it sounds like they are your babies. I have done some gardening but, mostly flowers .

    I have grown runner beans and done really well. Unfortunately I don’t use any fertilizer. Saying that everything grows well. On the scale that you are growing veggies, fertilizer is needed. Your page is really good and well thought out.

    • Jim Reply

      Hi Pam,

      You’re right – I thoroughly enjoy gardening.  And, my tomatoes are definitely my babies – but, before long, my tomato offspring will be older and more mature – intent to leave their garden home and head for my dinner table or a canning jar!


      You may want to rethink your practice of not using fertilizer.  Fertilizer is “plant food” and all living things need food.  If the soil gets depleted, as it often does, then the plants will starve to death – and we don’t want that, do we?

      So, at a minimum, throw a little 10-10-10 on them occasionally to keep them healthy and happy.  They will thank you for it!


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