A Note From Rick | It’s a Squash Extravaganza!

July 20, 2023

By Rick Bogusch

Bridge Gardens

July is a summer squash extravaganza. Though it’s still early for tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, there are plenty of zucchini, yellow squash and specialty varieties to go around.

We especially like a pale green, Lebanese variety, called ‘Alexandra,’ known for its flavorful, abundant fruits and its extreme vigor. Vines continue to be productive, even when beset by borers, long after many other varieties have given up the ghost.


Pale green Lebanese squash

Though our squash bed looks to be productive for a while, we are still planting a new bed of summer squashes for harvest next month and beyond. That new squash bed was previously filled with cabbages, just harvested, 3 months after planting.

Harvesting the ripe cabbages this week prompted us to sow fall’s cabbage crop, as well as broccoli and cauliflower, in cell packs now, for planting out in the garden in 6-8 weeks. They will be ready to cut and enjoy in late September and October.

Planning ahead, thinking about the next crop, is an important part of gardening, farming and dare I say, life. As is dealing with the unexpected.

Like the loss of our much-loved, venerable white pine, whose wide-spreading branches provided shade for picnic lovers and a focus for this half of Bridge Gardens. Sadly, 2 weeks ago, it started cracking at the base in early morning, a victim of a heartwood disease called red rot, and then gradually fell, gently, without a crash, an hour later.

We miss our tree and the shade and shelter it provided us and fellow creatures and will take the rest of the season to decide how to replace it.


Our fallen white pine tree

The Herb Garden has gotten its summer makeover and continues to be a draw for both visitors and pollinators.

Poppies, foxgloves and valerian have all gone to seed, but have been replaced by marsh mallow, St. John’s wort, coneflowers, bee balm and more in the medicinal bed. Look for disease-resistant basils, epazote, ginger, turmeric and lemon grass in the culinary bed, as well as more traditional herbs.

Globe thistle, ‘African Blue’ basil and native mountain mint light up the ornamental bed, while the textile and dye bed is radiant with the reds, ranges and yellows of dyer’s coreopsis, elecampine, tansy and black-eyed Susan’s. July is a peak month for the Herb Garden, so it’s definitely worth a visit.


Textile dye bed is radiant with color

The summer’s first small fruits are starting to ripen. Currants and raspberries are ready for sampling now, soon to be followed by blackberries, blueberries, elderberries and black chokeberries, with plenty for all, including the birds.

We’re especially impressed by our thorn-less blackberries, which not only provide a dependable abundance of fruit, but also make attractive landscape plants with large pink or white flowers and long-lasting fall color.

Learn more about growing small fruits in our upcoming workshop with Paul Wagner, owner of Greener Pastures Organics and our very own Lawn Expert, coming up in our fall Connections calendar.

There’s lots to do and enjoy at Bridge Gardens in July! I hope to see you soon.

~~~ Rick

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