Midsummer Porch

The herb/tomato/eggplant/potato/pepper/lettuce/chard corner of my back porch

The plants on my Southwest-facing back porch are doing well for the most part. We had plenty of rain lately and last week we had a couple of really hot days so those tiny chard and kale seedlings are finally catching up. I am very impressed with the potatoes and the lettuce.

Leaf lettuce
Baby kale planted after head lettuce harvest
Swiss Chard
Astilbe (on our Northeast-facing front porch)

Porch Update

The plants on my back porch are doing well. I am growing tomatoes (Paul Robeson), eggplant (Fairy Tale), hot pepper (Jedi JalapeƱo), cut lettuce, butter lettuce, potatoes, Swiss Chard and herbs (mint, sage, thyme, rosemary, basil and parsley). Also on the porch are our grapefruit “tree”, our palm – both are indoor plants during the colder months – and several potted perennials: lavender, Osteospermum and Dianthus.

butter lettuce


Today, I transplanted most of my seedlings: 6 tomatoes, 1 pepper, 2 cucumbers (1 pickling, 1 slicer), 1 butternut squash and a six-pack each of golden beets and leeks.

I also thinned the radishes and harvested two huge overwintered leeks that were in the way. All lettuce and the cauliflower plants have chew holes but the inner leaves look healthy. The spinach is looking good, not too much pest damage. The peas are coming along and the garlic is looking strong. The carrots are a no-show again. Not sure what the problem is. I will wait a couple more weeks and then resow.

More Seedlings

My local farmers market opened last weekend and at this time of the year there are a lot of seedlings on sale by Neighborhood Farm. I bought: leeks (six-pack), 1 eggplant Fairy Tale, 1 butternut squash, 1 Early Jedi jalapeno, 1 mini bell pepper (forgot the name and the label only says “Flavor”, so I am banking on that), and 4 tomato plants: Paul Robson, Pineapple (late-season), Green Zebra and Cosmonaut (early/mid-season). I planted the eggplant, the Paul Robeson tomato and the jalapeno in containers on my back porch. Everything else will go in the plot.

Tomatoes: I now have 7 plants for the garden plot. The remaining three plants I bought today and three surviving home-grown seedlings: Paul Robson (the Sand Hill variety, they can’t vouch that it is the exact variety and call it Poll Robson), Dr. Wyche Yellow, Green Zebra. I also started another Poll Robson very late, but it is still very small. Not sure if this seedling will make it. This will give me 6 or 7 tomato plants for the plot, which is plenty. I also staggered the varieties to prolong tomato season and will have 2 or 3 early-season, 1 mid-season and 3 late-season tomatoes.

Tomato Seedlings

I re-potted my tomato seedlings today. I had originally planted two of each: Paul Robeson, Break O’Day (both early varieties), Dr. Wychee Yellow (mid-season), Green Zebra and Baker Family Heirloom (both late season tomatoes). Only one of the Dr. Wychee’s came up, but that’s okay. I still have nine healthy tomato plants, all except for one Paul Robeson will be planted in the community plot later in May. The Paul Robeson will be planted in a container on our back porch. I also re-potted four lettuce seedlings. I put them all back under the grow light for a few more weeks. The remaining seedlings (eggplant, hot pepper, cucumbers, kale, lettuce) are still in the peat pots under the grow light.

Frost Warning

Temperatures tonight are supposed to reach 31 degrees. I harvested most of the rest of my tender vegetables tonight: chard, last (green) tomatoes, two last cucumbers, hot peppers, two small eggplants. Still growing: carrots, radishes, leeks, fall greens, arugula, kale, chard, butternut squash.

The last dahlias of the season (perhaps).

I still need to plant garlic, dig up my dahlia tubers and clean my plot to get it ready for the winter. Hopefully I will get to it this weekend or next week.

No More Cucumbers

Today’s harvest: Swiss Chard, Kentucky Wonder pole beans, tomato, eggplant, dahlias.

The cucumber vine has started to wither. There is a couple more cucumbers still but I am not sure if they will make it. Well, we had a good run for sure. Still growing: tomatoes (winding down), pole beans, eggplant, chard, kale, carrots, leeks, hot peppers, greens, radish, arugula. The last three were just sown a couple of weeks ago, so they are not ready for harvest just yet. I also still have my directly sowed butternut squash. It looks great and has plenty of flowers, but I believe it is too late in the season for it to bear fruit. Alas.

I ordered seed garlic this past weekend: softneck Transsylvania from Burpee. I decided to save a few of my biggest Red Russian heads for planting. This will not happen until late October/early November. I also ordered a ton of bulbs and perennials for fall planting for our front yard (tulips, crocuses, black-eyed Susan).

Rainbow Harvest

Today is Labor Day and the temperatures are in the 90s. The tomatoes and cucumbers are winding down. There is still a steady production of pole beans and chard, and the eggplant has a handful of fruit. The arugula and radishes I sowed are coming in nicely. The golden beets and mache are a no-show. I never got mache to grow in my plot. Not sure what the problem is. I successfully have grown mache in the spring in trays on my back porch. Also, no fall greens and lettuce yet, which is strange. I might re-sow in the next few days.