June 2022 Field Notes – Zone 3 Garden
June is gone just as fast it came. What a whirlwind of a month! Between downpours of rain, extreme wind storms and inconsistent temperatures here in Manitoba, there’s certainly been some challenges so far. But documenting it in this way has made me realize, the garden isn’t really as behind as I might have believed.
The talk of the town (well from most gardeners in Western Canada at least) is how slow this gardening season started. And while I agree that Spring took her sweet time getting here, I really don’t think we’re more than 1-2 weeks behind.
The garden is really starting to fill out and come together, which is what the end of June typically looks like here in Zone 3.
I scrolled back in my camera roll to June 2021 for last year’s “data.” Here’s a snapshot of what the garden looked like around this same time.
See, we’re not really far behind this gardening season at all!
All that to say, I love taking notes on each season so I can look back like this. And for the record, photos are considered notes too!
Now here’s a look at what’s going on this June in our gardens.
Our Zone 3 Homestead Is Coming Together…At Last!
This year will be our seventh on this property and it finally feels like the hard work is coming together.
We’ve planted over 500+ trees that are now thick and lush. The grass is filling in and the garden and greenhouse look like they really belong in their respected spaces. It’s taken a lot of hard work, but it feels good to be here. Finally.
Just look at this Prairie view we get to enjoy each night.
There’s been a lot on our plates this June away from the homestead (including our 4 best friends weddings!!) so I’ve taken a low maintenance approach to my patio plants.
While I have a few annual flowers on our front porch and deck, I’m a big fan of just bringing houseplants outside for the Summer months.
It saves money and basically doubles the size of your houseplants. They so benefit from spending a few months getting lots of sunshine and fresh air.
I will forever and always keep succulents outdoors during the Summer. They’re so low maintenance and love full-sun.
PRO TIP: Bring succulents indoors when heavy rains are forecasted to avoid them being overwatered. This is a good tip for most annual container flowers too. Plants in containers don’t have enough soil for adequate drainage if Mother Nature rains down heavily.
A Look At Our Zone 3 Garden In June
While the weeds are completely out of control (as per usual) our plants don’t seem to mind. A relief for me as I typically try to weed once/week…but that schedule isn’t always followed.
Everything has caught and is really establishing itself now. The smile on our new little gnome friend’s face is an accurate representation of how I feel. Happy and content!
It always surprises me how much faster anything planted in our raised beds grows. The controlled environment really speeds things up!
And now that we’ve added a few more “un-raised beds” to our garden space (check out May’s Field Notes for context) I’m seeing how true this is. All our in-ground plants are slow and steady compared to what’s in beds.
The same goes for our container vegetables, they’ve really taken off! And this year I followed the advice I received from our guest Tyrell Benton on Episode 129 of The Grow Guide podcast.
He says, “Growing hot and bell peppers in containers in Zone 3 is the best approach.”
And so far, I really couldn’t agree more! All our peppers are flowering and filling out so nicely. I’d even say they’re a few weeks ahead of where they’d normally be when planted in the ground.
I’m hoping I’ll be swimming in peppers by the time I write July’s Field Notes next month.
Of course, I’ve mulched all our peppers in containers with a heavy layer of HealthiStraw. This makes all the difference when it comes to watering and ensures soil moisture remains consistent. If I haven’t converted you to straw mulch yet, what are you waiting for??
As always, our girl Pepper has been the best garden helper day in and day out.
Anybody remember my Instagram story series “Pepper Tries Garden Veg” from when she was just a little puppy? Maybe it’s time to bring that back…
What’s Blooming In June in Zone 3
So far kale has been the star of the show this season. I’ve been harvesting big bowls full daily. Yes daily! And freezing tons as I go.
Dill, cilantro, spinach and chives have also been abundant.
Try my Easy Vegan Chive Pesto recipe if you’re in the same boat!
There’s lots of other plants on the verge of being ready to harvest too…
Our snap peas are flowering and really starting to climb tall. I’m growing ours up DIY chicken wire trellises as well as this cute decorative metal one.
I’m also thrilled to say we will finally have a good broccoli harvest this season. At last!
After years of trying and loosing to flea beetles eating our broccoli before we can, we’re finally just days away from harvesting.
And my “secret” to growing beautiful broccoli in Zone 3 is to grow your plants under cover.
Seriously, it makes all the difference. A row cover doesn’t only protect your plants from pests, but it also offers some sun protection. This is so key for cool weather crops like broccoli.
Invest in a light weight row cover (I like this one from West Coast Seeds) and keep it over your brassicas as soon as you transplant them in the garden. I grow my cabbages and cauliflower under it too.
On another note, we’re also preparing for our best garlic harvest yet.
This is one of two beds like this! I’m thrilled this is what our hardneck garlic looks like after the terribly cold Winter we had here in Manitoba. A thick layer of mulch really paid off!
And with scape season right around the corner (typically mid July here in Zone 3), I’m so excited to share some garlic scape recipes with you.
If you’re already harvesting yours, try my Miso & Sesame Glazed Garlic Scapes recipe. So, so tasty.
The borage is in full bloom too and the bees are loving it.
I grow borage for this exact reason; it provides early food for pollinators and attracts them to our garden.
If you’ve never tried borage, both the leaves and flowers are edible. The leaves have a fresh, cucumber-like flavour while the flowers are sweet.
Add some borage to your garden next year! It also has a tendency to reseed so you’ll find volunteer plants everywhere, which I really don’t mind.
Finally, the pole beans have taken off and are ready to climb!
I’m growing a few “new to me” varieties of pole beans this season:
- Purple Peacock (pictured above)
- Kentucky Blue
My next garden task is to add some twine to these bamboo tipis so the beans can really vine.
My Fav Companion Planting Combos This Season
While I don’t necessarily follow the scientific approach of companion planting (though there definitely is validity to it), I do love pairing different plants together each season.
Here’s a few companion planting combos I’m loving this year.
Dill & Nasturtiums
I just love how these two plants look together. As the dill will start to flower, the nasturtiums will spill down the side of the bed. It’s a perfect pairing to add both height and “spill” to a raised bed.
Zucchini & Bush Beans
This is probably one of the oldest companion plantings in the book, but I do find it’s a great way to maximize space. The zucchinis get big, wide and tall while the bush beans create a nice boarder along the front of the beds. As always, I’m growing our fav Dragon Tongue Bush Beans, which are so reliable and productive.
Tomatoes & Basil
Another classic companion planting pairing but one I can’t help but love. Science shows that the strong scent of basil repels pests while also helping with tomato productivity. I also like that I can harvest both my basil and tomatoes from one bed and then go make a delicious Italian-style sauce with them. The best.
Carrots & Onions
It’s the perfect symmetry of the rows for me. I’m loving onions and carrots together this season. There’s also some science to this pairing, but what I especially love is that these are two crops that will be ready to harvest around the same time. So I’ll be able to fill their space in the garden with a succession of new root crops at that time.
Tools & Garden Products I’m Loving This Season
First, you need a Sproutbox Garden raised bed, trust me. Just look at these healthy plants! It wins for my fav new product this season.
- Bamboo Stakes — I use them for everything from bean tipis to tomato supports. Love a bamboo stake in my garden.
- PRO-MIX Organic All-Purpose Granular Fertilizer — I’ve been working as a brand ambassador this season with PRO-MIX and have been blown at the difference using their fertilizer makes. You can see the results on my Instagram.
- Glass Rain Gauge — A must for a season like this with all the rain. Plus, I love how a rain gauge really gives an accurate reading of how much water your garden received and whether it needs more from you.
- Recycled Fabric Grow Bags — I grow all my tomatoes in these and wow, does it ever make a difference. The fabric allows your plant’s roots to breath, which improves growth.
A Few Challenges of The 2022 Growing Season…so far
- Rain, lots of rain. We had 7 inches within an hour on June 24…I know this isn’t unique to our Manitoba garden and likely what most of you Canadian gardeners are experiencing but we’re praying it slows in July. We don’t need more rain, for now.
- So much quack grass! What’s going on? Not sure if this is from the new 4-way soil mix we added to our beds or what, but my god…the weeding never ends. And quack grass is probably the hardest weed to pull from our garden.
- Night time temps dropping to 10°C. It’s been bizarre to wake up in the morning and be cold! We had one short week-long heat wave so far but aside from that June has been rather chilly.
And there you have it, that’s the June Field Notes!
I hope you enjoyed this inside look at our Zone 3 homestead.
If you have any questions, be sure to comment below. I love hearing from you and answer all comments.
You can follow @fromsoiltosoul on Instagram and Pinterest for more gardening content too.