The Vegetable Garden at the End of June

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This is a sun kill warning. Houston’s summer is hard on many vegetables, but this is a great time to find plants cheap.

I think that the people at the garden center were happy to see us. The girls wanted to find more flowering plants. I was looking for a few plants for my wife’s new container. There were a few other customers. However, this is not the time to plant in Houston. The lack of rain does play its part. The unrelenting heat of the sun is probably the greater danger. You hear that plants want full sun, so why would too much sun be the problem? Annuals which have less established roots have a hard time since they need more watering. Many vegetables fall into this category.

    What vegetables are doing well? My asparagus beans have been attacked by aphids, causing me to wish for more ladybugs in the yard. I am a bit surprised that winter vegetables like collards and kale have not suffered (the kale was moved to a shadier spot). The pepper plants have steadily produced, but the peppers have been small. The eggplants have steadily produced too. I still have leeks in the ground, and they seem to be alright ( a little brown on a few leaves). The green onions are becoming quite large. The cucumbers appear to be succumbing to this heat. I think this may also be due to producing so heavily earlier as well. The squash plant is growing again, but no flowers are to be seen, so I have no squash. This is not the time to harvest, but the galangal and ginger are spreading. The hyacinth bean is starting to spread. The New Zealand spinach which is in the shade is thriving. I also like the salad herb purselane, and that plant has not done too badly. The jicama will be harvested in the fall, but the vine is growing.
    Have you ever pickled succulents? This is a time of year that succulents were eaten in years gone by. I have pickled the leaves of succulents in the past. These plants do not have much flavor, so pickling adds taste. This may not be in your diet plans, but have you considered cactus? The prickly pear cactus can be used like okra. This cactus has the same quality as okra when prepared, so I use it in gumbo type dishes. I do not eat this vegetable too often, because this can be dangerous.
    I have not harvested my carrots yet. I should check on them. I have been using the carrot tops in meals. These can be used like parsley; however, they do have a strong flavor, so I do not use too much. The bronze fennel has grown well. This makes a nice herb to use in dishes. In fact, the herbs in general have flourished, except for the parsley. Maybe I stressed this plant out by harvesting too much, or if the sun is harming the plant. I have been making pesto with the basil, or using it in salads.
    I want to find ways to encourage more vegetable growth. I am trying a bit of shading over some pepper plants and squash. The real challenge will be finding the balance between water usage and vegetable production. I do not want high water bills if I am not producing a crop, and I am not convinced that more water is the solution. I am trying it out in one area. If there are more crops produced, then maybe I will water more. At this time, I want to keep plants alive for a fall harvest.

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This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank


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