31 In Gardening

Growing Now – July

I am happy to report that my veggie garden is thriving.  This is my fourth year growing an edible garden in my raised bed as well as containers.  The growing season in zone 6a New England is definitely short, so July is a whirlwind of harvesting.  I am also enjoying some winged encounters of the pollinator kind.  I created a designated butterfly garden this past spring and filled it with plants and flowers for my fluttery friends to feast upon.  This marks week number ten in The Growing Now Garden Tour hosted by the great Beth Billstrom of More Than Oregano.  

Vegetable Garden

I feel like every year one vegetable seems to stand out in the veggie garden.  This single vegetable tends grow the strongest, have an abundant harvesting season and will show a minimal amount of problems. My first year was the year of the corn.  My second year was the year of the cucumber.  My third was the year of the tomato, and this year has been the year of the peas.  I feel like with each season that passes, I learn so much about different vegetables and what makes them grow successfully.  I spent a good amount of time picking a huge amount of peas earlier this month.  This year, I grew Early Perfection Peas and Sugar Snap Peas.  They took off like crazy and grew up my large wooden trellis.  Just when I thought I'd picked them all, I would find at least ten more pods I missed!  I love snacking on Sugar Snap Peas while I'm out in the garden, they hardly ever make it inside the house.  My favorite thing about peas is they are extremely easy to grow from seed.  If you are a seed newbie, I highly recommend planting some.  I find they do best with direct sow, and I really enjoy observing how quickly they grow.  


Now that summer is in full swing, it is tomato season!  My favorite time of the year, I refer to it as Christmas in my garden.  Who needs Santa when you have tomato plants that are ready to be picked?  Last year, I grew around ten different varieties of tomatoes.  This year, I narrowed it down to five.

Husky Cherry Red Tomatoes

My intense passion for snacking in the garden causes me to choose at least one variety of cherry tomato each year.  This year, I settled on the Husky Cherry Tomato.  I love how these tomatoes are small enough to pop in your mouth while pruning and weeding.  This variety never fails to impress. 

Green Zebra Tomatoes

Every year I like to try something new, so this year I picked The Green Zebra Tomato.  I am waiting for them to turn a golden color before harvesting.  I have yet to taste them, but I am eager to try them!  I can happily report that while none are quite ready to be picked, the yield for only two plants is incredible!  I am very impressed with the amount of tomatoes growing on these plants.  I am hoping to taste the zing these tomatoes are famous for within the next few weeks.  

Bush Goliath Tomatoes

This is my second year growing the Bush Goliath.  I am very happy with the flavor and the size of this sweet tomato.  This determinant plant tends to produce well for me late July.  The only drawback is because of the large size, they can be heavy causing them fall off the vine before fully ripe.  Nothing a few days on a windowsill can't fix!

Earlier in the year, I won some tomato plants from PanAmerican Seed during a weekly #gardenchat on twitter.  This is the Heirloom Marriage Genuwine Tomato.  It is a cross of Costoluto Genovese x Brandywine.  I can't wait to give it a try! 

A dragonfly resting on my garden bed.  I see them on my garden posts, my shiny tomato cages as well as resting atop my daylilies


Due to a limited amount of space, I decided to grow just one variety this year.  Not to worry though, this is my favorite variety!  I also switched from a regular old trellis to a bean teepee.  I am super happy with the results. 

Scarlet Emperor Beans always put on a show with vivid red flowers on thick, climbing vines.  Last year, I grew these beans on a tall trellis.  This year, I decided to give building a bean teepee a try and I am so glad I did.  I feel like the teepee supports the vines much better than the trellis along with keeping the surrounding garden tidy.  During summer rain storms and heavy winds, I have had no trouble!  I saved last years seeds, so I am proud to say this is generation number two of this plant.

Beautiful Bright Green Foliage

Rich Ruby Red Flowers


This year my garden has produced a prolific amount of peas.  I have decided to freeze some, as well as eat some of these fresh.  If anyone has any good recipes that include peas, please feel free to share with me in the comments of this post as well as on twitter!

Early Perfection Peas

Sugar Snap Pea Right Before Being Snacked Upon

Herbs & Flowers

I love to keep a variety of flowers and herbs around my veggies as companion plants.  I let most of my herbs flower in my veggie garden for pollinators.  I then have my designated kitchen herb garden in my CedarCraft planter for eating. 

This year, I wanted to change it up a bit.  I swapped buying a bunch of nasturtium seeds for zinnia seeds.  I adore nasturtiums, everyone should plant some of these helpful flowers especially if you have a vegetable garden.  I just really wanted to experience the beauty of the zinnia flower this year!

Varieties I'm Growing Are Thumbelina Mix, Cut and Come Again Mix and Pinwheel Mix

I am a sucker for sweet pea flowers.  Last year, I had to wait until September to see them bloom.  This year, I made sure to soak my seeds before planting to speed up germination.  I also planted them as early as possible right after the last frost date.  A few varieties I chose this year are High Scent, Jet Set and Galaxy Mix.

Honeysuckle Growing Along The Garden Fence

Bee Enjoying My Flowering Oregano

 I planted this oregano three years ago.  Having it right next to my tomato plants really attracts the pollinators.  As it grows tall, it uses the outsides of my tomato cages as support.  I really enjoy watching it flower and so do the honeybees.  The blooms are white and very delicate.  Oregano makes a great companion plant for garden crops like broccoli and cabbage.  The first year I planted it, it was a companion plant for my broccoli.  I also use it as a companion plant for my cucumbers to keep the cucumber beetles at bay.  This perennial herb is one of my favorites!

Butterfly Garden

This year I created my very first butterfly garden.  I decided to start with some milkweed and add more plants after they became well established.  I have various pollinator friendly plants spread all throughout my yard, but have been wanting an official area.  This fall, I will be planting different varieties of milkweed seeds for next season. 

Milkweed Beginning To Flower

Bee enjoying the perks of my newly bloomed swamp milkweed.  It is both a host and nectar source for monarch butterflies.  It is a native perennial to North America, and both of my plants have taken off very well for only the first year of growth.  This plant blooms in June and July.  Excited to see these plants come back year after year.  Learn more about this plant here.

Liatris Blazing Star Grown From Bulbs Planted This Spring

Liatris Beginning To Bloom

Butterfly Bush Blue Heaven

Don't forget to head on over to check out this weeks featured garden post by Laura Flanders at Colorado Backyard Gardener.  Her amazing garden transformation will make you swoon.  Anyone is welcome to share garden photos on twitter with the hashtag #GROWNOW2015.  Wishing you all abundant harvests and a wonderful growing season!

In case you missed it - In The June Garden

Happy To Be A Part Of Photo Friday

Pierced Wonderings

& Friday Photo Journal

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  • Jen - Pierced Wonderings
    July 25, 2015 at 2:51 am

    I am incredibly jealous of your garden! We didn’t plant one this year because we were pretty sure we would be moving (and we did!). I am really looking forward to putting in a garden next year, though. I’ve been thinking about a winter garden, but that will only happen if I’m working here at home this school year.

    What a beautiful place! Thank you for joining us at Photo Friday this week!

    • Thefreckledrose
      July 26, 2015 at 5:43 pm

      Oh thank you Jen! Congratulations on the move. 🙂 What zone are you in now? It’s nice when you don’t have to rush into designing and planting a garden so it’s awesome you have this winter to plan. Let me know if you decide on planting a winter garden, I’d love to see! Good luck on all of your future garden endeavors!

  • bettynz
    July 25, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    I’m hoping to attract butterflies next spring and summer, too. I know that bees just love my garden–the buzz is so comforting in a weird way.

    • Thefreckledrose
      July 26, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      I find that buzz comforting as well! Nothing more rewarding then seeing a beautiful butterfly land in your garden 🙂 I’m sure they will flock to your garden if you supply them with the right plants. I’m already excited for you, good luck!

  • chickenruby
    July 26, 2015 at 4:57 am

    where to start? this garden looks amazing. I love the idea of growing ‘snacking’ tomatoes. The dragonfly picture is amazing, looks like he’s out of a disney cartoon

    • Thefreckledrose
      July 26, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      Thank you so much Suzanne!
      It’s always nice to have a nosh ready to be picked especially when you are working outside in the hot summer heat. The dragonflies love to take a long rest in my garden so they make perfect subjects for my pictures! Hope you are having a great weekend!

  • Mammasaurus
    July 26, 2015 at 5:04 am

    Oh how lovely, so nice to read of someone making such an effort for the butterflies. You have put a lot of effort into your garden so it’s great to see that it’s harvesting well for you.
    I’m a sucker for a sweet pea too, the scent is heavenly.
    Beautiful photos – thank you so much for sharing x

    • Thefreckledrose
      July 26, 2015 at 6:01 pm

      Thank you Annie,
      It’s hard not to be fascinated at the beauty of the butterfly. I’m happy to provide them with a food source and a safe place to live. I find it so rewarding! July is such a fun month full of harvesting and lovely flowers to enjoy. So happy I found your blog, I love it!

  • Mammasaurus
    July 26, 2015 at 5:04 am

    Oh how lovely, so nice to read of someone making such an effort for the butterflies. You have put a lot of effort into your garden so it’s great to see that it’s harvesting well for you.
    I’m a sucker for a sweet pea too, the scent is heavenly.
    Beautiful photos – thank you so much for sharing x

  • Ivy
    July 27, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Your garden are sooooo lovely! I wanted to have one also. The flowers are so lovely as well.

    • Thefreckledrose
      July 27, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      Thank you so much Ivy! Wishing you a happy week ahead 🙂

  • Nikki Rae
    July 27, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Beautiful pictures. This is our first year growing tomatoes. They aren’t as beautiful as yours though.

    • Thefreckledrose
      July 27, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      I bet they are delicious! Thank you very much Nikki 😀

  • Heather @ new house new home
    July 27, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Wow, your tomatoes are so much further ahead than ours. They will all be ripe next week while we’re away, of course!

    Question about your bean teepee…..Is it something special or did you make it yourself? Mine is made from simple bamboo poles tied together to make a teepee.

    • Thefreckledrose
      July 28, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      Hey Heather,
      Thank you! It never fails right? When I was on vacation, all my peas were ready to harvest! I made the bean teepee myself just like you! Bamboo poles tied together. I am so happy I decided to try it, I love it! What kind of beans are you growing up your bean teepee?

  • Sarah Koontz {Grounded & Surrounded}
    July 27, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Darling, your photographs are amazing! I am in the market for a camera, what do you use? I doubt I get one until December, but I am going to learn all I can about photography this winter so I can shoot beautiful photos of my garden next season…just like you!

    • Thefreckledrose
      July 28, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      Hey Sarah,
      Thank you very much! Right now, I switch between using my Canon EOS Rebel T3i and my Canon 30D. That’s awesome BTW! I find it so relaxing to get out in my garden and shoot some pictures of what I love to grow. 🙂 Let me know if you have any other questions during your camera hunting journey. I am always happy to help!

  • Tamar SB
    July 30, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    What a gorgeous garden you have. Enjoy all the veggies!

  • a spirit of simplicity
    July 30, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Just beautiful! and delicious.

  • Kim Cunningham
    July 30, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    How exciting to see someone’s garden thriving. Mine was kind of a bust this year and I’m not sure why. Clearly I don’t know enough. 🙂

    • Thefreckledrose
      July 31, 2015 at 10:33 am

      Hey Kim,
      Thank you! I know how you feel, I’ve had some tough times with my garden in the past. I think sometimes it can be due to circumstances that are difficult to control like weather and such. Hoping you have good luck with your garden in the future! 🙂

  • Lisa M
    July 30, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    Wow, your gardens are amazing! I am so jealous!

    Thanks for linking up with Green Thumb Thursday. I hope to see you back this week!


    • Thefreckledrose
      July 31, 2015 at 10:35 am

      Hey Lisa,
      Happy I found Green Thumb Thursday! Have a lovely weekend 🙂

  • Cathy
    July 31, 2015 at 6:48 am

    You have such beautifully plump tomatoes. The photos make my mouth water!!! Have a wonderful day!

    • Thefreckledrose
      July 31, 2015 at 10:37 am

      Hi Cathy,
      Thank you so much! Nature is so amazing, happy they are doing well this year 🙂

  • Jenna L
    August 27, 2015 at 7:04 am

    Your garden looks great!
    One day, I’d quite like to grow my own vegetables too. It looks like so much fun.

    Oh, and I nominated you for the Liebster Award here!

    | princessparasox.wordpress.com | bloglovin’ |

    • Thefreckledrose
      August 29, 2015 at 3:51 pm

      Thanks Jenna! I totally appreciate the nomination 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend

  • Vy Tran
    April 5, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    you tomatoes look absolutely stunning!