Garden is shaping up fine in summer heat

Jerry Apps

My daughter-in-law, Natasha called this a bouquet of radishes. Not to brag too much, but these are the best radishes we’ve grown in our Roshara garden in many a year. Usually they are tiny little globes filled with worms and impossible to eat. Not this year.

Author Jerry Apps says this "bouquet of radishes" is the best crop of red-globe-shaped veggies they've grown in many years.

So what else is doing well and not so well in the Apps vegetable garden on July 4th, 2018? I give the various crops a grade of 1 to 5, with 5 being outstanding, and 1 a total failure. Potatoes-5, Green beans-5, tomatoes-4 (seeing a little early blight), kale-5, lettuce 5, peas-4, sweet corn-3, zucchini-5, cucumbers-5, squash-3, pumpkins 3, carrots-2, beets-2, sunflowers (must have some sunflowers)-4, cabbage-4, and broccoli-1.

Most of the garden crops seem to flourish with rain and hot weather—so far at least. Unfortunately, with our sandy soil, a half inch of rain every few days is better than three inches at one time—and then two weeks with none.

We surround our garden with a two wire electric fence, the top wire to keep away the deer and the turkeys. The bottom wire to keep out the raccoons and woodchucks. Over the years it has worked well. But this year, we’ve had to repair the fence four times.

The broccoli would have received a 4 had not a hungry deer confronted our electric fence—successfully—and walked down the row of broccoli and ate every one. It must have gotten a message from its mother that broccoli is good for you. It didn’t touch anything else—left the sweet corn, left the green beans, left the lettuce, left everything but the broccoli. So if you happen to see a very healthy looking deer, it has probably visited my garden.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: For the non-broccoli eaters, remember, even deer know that broccoli is good for them.

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work go to