See my garden and borders in various seasons. spring

June Garden Pictures, Observations, and Notes 2023

For a while – even as late as the end of May, I didn’t think there would be any vegetables in the June garden big enough to show in photos.   But growth came quickly in the last couple of days in May and the first week in June.

Saving Seed Has Become a Necessity for me

Not only was the spring colder than usual, but I had more trouble with seeds germinating than in any year of the 43 years I’ve gardened.

As  reader Rob D exclaimed  in his comment to a recent postWe must save seeds!”   Then, using cilantro as an example, he went on to tell of his experience — which by the way is identical to mine.

I’ve mentioned several times in various posts that purchased seed gets worse every year. And I order from various places that I consider excellent sources.

This year I’ve resolved to save seed that I usually don’t save.  

For one thing, the decline of seed quality is so obvious I can no longer ignore it. And second  – there is a good possibility that we may find it difficult to get any seed in the near future — especially varieties that may be our favorites.

Since I eat primarily from my garden it’s a necessity to take steps to make sure there will be  something for me to grow and eat next year as well as this year. 

Seed I Save or Allow to Drop in the Garden

Until now I’ve only saved seed from

  1. tomatoes,
  2. lettuce (mainly Winter Density),
  3. cucumbers (Marketmore),
  4. parsley,
  5. dill,
  6. peas (tall peas and a bush pea),
  7. one variety of winter squash,
  8. buckwheat, and
  9. various beans that I grow for dried beans (which I have not grown since Bill died),
  10. seed of my favorite zinnias and Sweet Williams

Seed that I allow to drop in the garden and come up at the right time the following year are

  1. Russian Kale
  2. Chinese Cabbage
  3. seelect tomatoes
  4. Cilantro
  5. Dill (in addition to collecting some)
  6. Arugula
  7. Buckwheat (also collect it)
  8. Magentaspreen (a good substitute for greens when lettuce is scarce)
  9. Wild lettuce (that I started from purchased seed some years ago; good for medicinal use if you know how to prepare it. I’ve not yet learned but will. )
  10. Opal basil  
  11. Summer Poinsettia

In addition to those listed above I also allow what some may consider weeds, to grow and set seed in the garden.

  1. Chickweed
  2. Wild clover
  3. Henbit
  4. Plantain (great for itchy insect bites and other medicinal purposes)
  5. Venus’ Looking Glass (absolutely beautiful little purple flowers on a 10 to 20 inch stalk)
  6. Lambsquarters (great green for salads if my lettuce is sparse; and the wild greens always have more nutrients)

In my letter to TMG subscribers in May of 2019 I gave details of what to do with weeds to benefit your garden.

I also touched on this in the post under the sub heading: “A Best Kept Secret – Weeds are Valuable”.

One of the Most Important Posts on TMG

If you’ve not already done so, you may want to review a recent post that I consider one of the most important ones on TMG. You’ll discover the principles in place that make diversity of plants in your garden important. And why it’s important to have living plants through out your garden whenever possible. Find it here.

The Plan Going Forward

This year’s plan is to also save seed from radishes, onions, bush beans, and whatever else I like that I end up growing.

Where (most) of the Flowers Are in the Garden and What They Do

My garden is approximately 2500 square feet. I leave a border of 2 feet around the garden from the fence to where the permanent beds start. Flowers (perennials) are planted in the next foot.

Flowers serve lots of purposes including their roots keeping the soil life alive and active during the winter months, providing additional plant residue to enrich the soil, and serving as shelter and food for pollinators and beneficial insects. 

And they’re beautiful which enriches my spirit. 

Welcome to my June 2023 Garden

Click on pictures to enlarge them.

Picture #1 A few beds from the top end if the garden looking towards the lower end on the left hand side of the garden. The path in the middle of the garden shows on the righthand side of the picture.

What’s in the Garden on the left hand side and Remarks

At the bottom of the picture #1 above is the row of transplanted-this-spring strawberries that I mentioned in a recent letter to subscribers-only about strawberries.  You might recall these newly moved plants didn’t give me the abundance of strawberries that the untouched-from-last-year berries produced.

Thus, if you’re new to strawberries don’t expect as much production the first year.

Here are some of the strawberries that I didn’t thin or move.  They produced a LOT of berries!

Tristar Strawberries not thinned.

Here’s  a view that leaves out the row of spring-transplanted strawberries so you can see more.

Picture #2 – Closer view of beds on left hand side of the garden.

The  bed at the bottom of the picture above  holds potatoes on the left side.  And behind them is one volunteer  tomato that I’ve not decided whether or not to pull up. The right hand side has carrots coming up that are still too small to see in the photo.  Another potato on the right.

And by the way, I have potatoes in various spots all over the garden. I grow early, midseason and late varieties.

I harvest only enough potatoes at one time for a few meals. Others stay in the ground until  I need them or until frost. If I can get enough straw on the potato beds, they’ll keep in the ground much longer.

The next bed (in the picture) shows spring-planted lettuce.  The Winter Density is visible on the right.  The Reine des Glaces (translation is Queen of the Ice)  and Gustav lettuce is to the left of the Winter Density and not visible in that photo.

The primary lettuce I depend on in all seasons is Winter Density. A few pieces of Deer Tongue lettuce is mixed in with that.  And one or two Oak Leaf lettuce plants.  By the time these larger lettuces set seed, it can be hard to tell which is which unless they’re marked. So that’s how other varieties get in with the WD seed.

Reine des Glaces is delicious and a definite favorite. Wonderful by itself or mixed with other lettuces.

Gustav is a butterhead that is new to me this year. It’s ‘ok’.   It’ll probably outlast the other lettuces because I don’t pick much of it. But I’ll use it a lot when there’s not much left of the others. It makes small pretty heads rather quickly.

#2 – Reine des Glaces in front and Gustav in back of it

In the bed past the lettuces  (in Picture #1 or 2) you can barely see the new radishes coming up.  Carrots are planted to the left of the radishes.  That was my first planting of carrots this spring.   They’ve not germinated well.

To the right of that is my patch of Plantain that I allow to grow in the garden.  It is said to be edible when young.  I don’t like it, but  grow it for the medicinal properties, one of which is to take the itch out of insect bites.

In Picture #1 you can see it’s directly in the path. Can just hear Bill now asking me why I’m letting it grow in the middle of the walkway.  — I guess because it first positioned itself there and looks so pretty. He’d breathe a sigh of relief that at least I’m not allowing the patch to get any bigger. 😉

Picture #3 – Patch of Plantain (about 3 feet wide and 2 1/2 feet deep)

The next bed (Picture #1 and #2) is cabbage.  It’s doing great.  With all the rain we had a few days ago about 5 heads got too big to leave in the garden.  Those were harvested.

Here’s a closer view from the middle path.

Spring -planted Early Jersey


Spring- planted Early Jersey cabbage heading up in the bed above.

The next few beds are not visible.  They contain mainly tomato plants, asparagus, radishes (one older radish is overlapping onto the peas as you’ll see in the next photo), and a few onions.

The tall green plants in the far distant bed are tall peas and short bush peas. This year’s planting of peas is only 25% of what I usually plant. Peas are work intensive and I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle anymore.  I’ll probably end up a little shy of a gallon in the freezer plus seed saved for next year. And some for fresh eating of course.

Tall peas on the left; shorter bush peas on the right. Ready for the first harvest. (A large wintered over plant of Russian Kale is seeding to the left of the tall peas.  You can barely see its thin stalks heavy with ripening seed  in the upper left corner of the photo.)

The bed behind the peas held winter rye.  On the right hand side of the photo above you can see some of the rye that I left for seed saving. It’s not yet dry enough to harvest the seed.

Had I known we’d have so much rain I would have cut stalks and bundled them. If they’d been inside with a fan blowing 24/7 the seed heads would be dry by now.

Not sure what I’ll plant there. It could end up being a bed used for winter greens.

After that are blueberry bushes. Not shown.

The Right Hand Side of the Garden

In the picture below I’m standing in a path between rows looking back at the entrance gate. The yellow sunflower-like plant is heliopsis. It’s one of my favorite flowers in the garden. It’s usually accented with more red daylilies but I removed too many of the red one last fall.  It’ll be back to normal next year.

Standing in a path between beds and looking back at my garden entrance gate.

The tall lighter green plants in the picture above  are potatoes.  A red cabbage shows on the left hand side. The pink oenothera will be taken out when I get ready to use that space.  Until then – it’s helping soil life and nourishing my spirit with its beauty.

Here’s a better view of the heliopsis:


Onions, Lambsquarters, Dahlias and Daylilies

Didn’t think  Lambsquarters were going to appear in my garden this year.  One plant finally showed up! Came up in a path between an onion bed and a potato bed close to where the flowers begin.

Onions, on the left, Lambsquarters on the right; Dahlias, Daylilies at the top and even a plant of Russian Kale on the left hand side under the yellow daylily.

Would hate to be without it since it’s a good back up for salads if lettuce is sparse.  And of course wild plants have a lot more nutrients in them.

As soon as it seeds, I’ll save a few seeds just in case, let the rest fall where they may, pull the plant and lay it in the path to decay.


Huge parsley plants can be ruined over night when voles decide the root looks like a good meal. I try to have at least a dozen plants distributed around the garden.  It’s not a guarantee but it gives me a better chance of enjoying my parsley.

I missed saving seed from my parsley last year.  So I didn’t have as many plants as I wanted this spring.  But I have 7.

Curley parsley

Russian Kale

Russian Kale self seeds in my garden.  It comes up in spring and in the fall.  Its bluish leaves are a nice change of pace from all the green. Several times I’ve picked the one bare in the picture below.

Late planted onions, potatoes, Russian Kale, and Oenothera.

In June the Russian Kale that wintered over sets seed in abundance.

Cilantro (shown with cucumber)

As you past the Plantain and look to the right in Picture #1, you see a tall plant with frothy white blooms on top . That’s Cilantro blooming and setting seed before the wind and rain knocked it over.

This next picture was taken after 3 days of rain.  I’ll be glad when the Cilantro sets and drops seed so I can remove the plant giving the cucumbers more room.

Cilantro with blooms. Blooming small patch.of Oenothera is on the side of the entrance path. The cucumber plants have babies on them.

As Rob D mentioned in his comment about saving seed, I too never had much luck growing cilantro. Finally got one plant.  It seeded.  So I saved a bit of seed (backup) and allowed the rest to drop in garden. Now I and my pollinators and beneficial insects have all the cilantro plants we can use.

Whenever any of the self sown plants are in the way of planned plantings I just pull them up. Then I lay them either whole or cut up on the bed or in the path to decay and be pulled into the soil by the soil life.

Not a problem as long as I have one or two elsewhere in the garden dropping seed for next year.

Since we’re talking seed saving — lets talk spinach.

I’ve never done well with spinach.  But this year I saw great potential for the future.  Rather than just ignoring the plants, I paid attention when they were setting seed.   Seed has to be what I would call totally dry before you save it.  The stalks that were “dry” and brown I’ve already collected.

Some still remains in the garden bed with green leaves and seed as you can see in the picture. To see the seeds on the stalk better – click to enlarge.

Spinach that has set seed but is not yet “dry”.

Hopefully the cilantro story will repeat itself with my spinach seed and I’ll have lots of spinach that begins earlier in the season and lasts longer than what I’m use to.


The lettuce in the picture below was planted late last summer. It provided lettuce for me during the winter and spring.  I stopped picking it when my spring-planted lettuce got big enough.

The oldest lettuces are blooming and starting to set seed now. The seeds are held under the white fluff.

Chinese Cabbage

It was exciting when I started growing Chinese Cabbage year before last. It’s easy to grow and it comes up when other things are not yet ready to grow. Sadly, only  one plant  headed up.  It was quite good.  This year I didn’t even get ONE to head.  Just leaves.

A brief internet search indicated there is a loose-leaf Chinese Cabbage. But each source used for my purchased seed indicated what I chose would head up.

Although I won’t purchase Chinese Cabbage seed again,  I intend to keep it in the garden.  It makes an excellent winter green here in Virginia even with little if any protection.

It goes to seed very quickly.  I let it bloom and seed. A few of the nicest seedlings are kept and used for backup in case other greens are in short supply. Then they too are allowed to set seed and start the process over.  With this process happening in my garden 3 times a year I can almost always find some of its beautiful leaves in the garden on any given day.

Chinese Cabbage volunteer.


In late summer last year carrot seed was planted that never germinated. Much to my surprise this spring I found 4 carrots in that space.

Carrots that spent the winter in my garden and were not discovered until spring.

From the looks of the top of the carrot that appeared above ground the carrots would be huge.  Decided to save these for seed. Couldn’t resist pulling the smallest one to see what I might be getting in future carrots.

The carrot I pulled was at least 8 inches long.

Much to my delight the carrot was perfect. Was at least 8 inches long,  had a diameter of 1 3/4 inches. It was one big beautiful carrot!

I have 3 sections of beds planted in carrots thus far. Percentage of germination in the first planting was low as I mentioned previously .

Germination rate was high in the second and third planting. The spacing is too close and I’ll have to thin some.  I’ll transplant some of the seedlings even though I may lose some to that.

I want at least one full bed of carrots still in the ground going into winter.

Upper Corner of the Garden

Upper corner of the garden.

I so enjoy looking at this corner when the daylilies are blooming.  Most of those (all pastel shades)  are outside the garden.

If you could see past the large tomato plant at the top center of the photo above you’d see mainly potatoes and strawberries.

The pink of the Oenothera and the blue leaves of the red cabbage coupled with the pastel shades of the daylilies make it very appealing to look at.


Close up of the tomato plant shown in the top middle of the picture above this one.  Lots of tomatoes hiding in all that foliage that is so dense I couldn’t get a picture.

Usually my tomatoes start ripening in mid July or later.  This year I might get some sooner.

The plant shown above is the largest.  Others planted later are about 1/2 the height.

More Kalibos Cabbage

That’s my patch of Plaintain in the lower left corner.  The cabbage in the bed is red Kalibos except for the two plants of green Columbia cabbage.

Heading Kalibos

When I first mentioned trying Kalibos, friend and reader Abigail mentioned to me that she had grown Kalibos and liked it. After that I really looked forward to it even more.

And WOW!! was I surprised at not only how beautiful the heads are, but how delicious it is.

Most of my diet is made up of chopped vegetables. The more variety of veggies I have growing the better my meals taste.

I couldn’t believe how much more delicious  meals were when this wonderful cabbage was included!

Head of red Kalibos cabbage. This one weighed 2 pounds.

Harvesting Cabbage

Rather than trying to store a lot of cabbage in the refrigerator I leave it in the garden as long as possible.  They keep well there as long as the heads remain “tight” and don’t show signs of “opening”.

In the few years  I’ve grown cabbage they obligingly form heads at different times rather than all at once. That makes them even more perfect for my lifestyle.

After that 3 days of rain I noticed 5 heads that needed to be harvested.  One of which was the red Kalibos.

Left to right: Red Kalibos (2 pounds) , three Early Jersey (1 pound each, Columbia (2 pounds).

More Cabbage

This week I’ll start more cabbage.  Maybe 6 plants at a time.  I’ll continue every few weeks  through September.  The last plantings will be for the winter garden.

Other Vegetables


I’m always into late June or early July planting beans. Only a dozen contender bush beans have been planted.  I’ll soon plant some other varieties that a friend shared with me.


Detroit Red Beets are about the finest you can get. (Over the years I’ve tried many varieties.) Only two germinated from my first small planting.

Happily almost every seed germinated in my second planting.

They’re too close together.   I’ll transplant as I thin.  They don’t really care for that, but they look too great to toss.

My plantings are scattered throughout the garden.  Sections of beets are small, averaging about 2 to 3 square feet.

Small butternut-like Squash

I have a small butternut like  winter squash that somehow ended up in the fence border by the driveway. I can’t believe I put it there, but I did. And it loves it!  Has already produced lots of forming squash.

Small butternut-like squash that ended up in my fence border


Waltham Butternut Squash

In my opinion this is about the best winter squash one can grow.  A great keeper and so delicious.  This is the first year since Bill died (8 years in October) that I’ve grown it. I’ll be glad to once again have my own seed from this squash.

First ones planted didn’t germinate. (They were from purchased seed.)

Second try produced 5 beautiful seedlings. They’ll be planted outside the garden at the lower end tomorrow.

Waltham Butternut Squash seedlings

I’ll place some plastic fence netting around them until they grow a bit.  Another plant in that section was “cut” to the ground earlier in the spring. Have not seen any rabbits but that’s what the damage looked like.


The harvest was good but not as impressive as I had hoped.

I lost some plants because of all the rain.  Guidelines to harvest plants are after 50% the leaves turn brown.  Many of mine had all green leaves but their bulbs were opening from all the rain. So harvest was required.  Those are the ones I’m eating first since they won’t cure.

The other plants are curing in my mud room/ enclosed porch.  What a wonderful smell when I open that door in the morning.  I’m sure many would not agree with my description of the strong garlic smell. 😏

One young man who worked delivering for Fed Ex endeared himself to me by telling me that he loved coming here because it smelled just like his grandmother’s house after she harvested her garlic each year.  It was endearing because most young people nowadays don’t know anything about how vegetables are grown.


They’re just about as important to my garden as tomatoes.  And  unfortunately I only have ONE plant in my garden. Other seedlings started earlier didn’t make it.

I looked through my seeds and found some pepper seed saved from last year.  Scattered the seed in a grow bag that’s in the garden.  Covered with some straw before all the rain. Looks like every seed germinated and they’re growing faster than usual. So there’s hope for a great fall crop in spite of the lack of germination and/or seedling growth in the spring.


I don’t usually grow melons, but decided to this year.

Lost every seedling!  To what — I don’t know.

It’s late but I’m starting more seed this week.  We’ll see what happens.

Final Thoughts

The only thing Mother Earth demands for your success in the garden is for you to abide by the principles that are fixed.    Your methods to obtain those principles can vary with each individual.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour of my 2023 June garden and that you’ve benefited from some of my experiences and thoughts.


All content including photos is copyright by All Rights Reserved.


  • .your garden sounds spectacular this year. I grow Chinese cabbage every year and it is an excellent crop for me. It is started in February indoors and planted outdoors as soon as it is a few inches tall. Also Joi Choi bok choi started and transplanted at the same time. Both varieties are from Johnny’s Seeds and have been very reliable for several years. This year we kept both as well as baby bok Choi covered it’s whole growing season for the cabbage moths. One of the best things about bokchoi is how long it will keep in the fridge once it is harvested. Hope you have continued prosperous season.

  • Thank you so much for the tour of your garden. Gave me several ideas I would like to try. My garlic cloves are very small this year ( snow and more snow ), arugula that reseeds itself each year did not come back this year, dill reseeding everywhere I don’t want it. Our first Summer weather finally arrrived two days ago. Anxious to see what happens now. Thank you for sharing.

  • Your tour and comments are so informative and encouraging! Thanks for all your efforts on our behalf! God bless you with a wonderful summer and fall harvest!

  • Your garden is absolutely beautiful and so bountiful. You’re doing a beautiful job with your photos. They are so clear and bright. I know how hard you are working to produce such a wonderful garden. thank you, Theresa.

  • It makes me feel good that I grow almost exactly the same things that you do! (only on a much smaller scale do to space restrictions). Thank you for the wonderful tour and for giving me some ideas of some things I may try growing down the road.

  • It’s a lot of work to photograph and document your garden; thank you for doing that for us! I always like to see what you’ve done and how high your straw is on different plants.

    I’m also always surprised by what volunteers and am grateful every time I find something new—kind of like a treasure hunt! I had an old planter box full of soil that I took outside and watered to moisten the soil—I went out to plant in it and it was full of vegetables; beets, radishes and a few bush beans. I vaguely remember processing dried seeds over it so I didn’t spill in the garage—that was 4-5 years ago!

  • Hiya Theresa!
    I love your garden tours! You do such a good job with photos that it’s almost like being there. Your cabbages look amazing and you’ve inspired me to keep trying cabbage and winter choi till it finally works for me. So far I have not had much luck with either, but gardening (and you) teaches a person perseverance.
    Also saving spinach and radish seed this year. Who knew little radishes would send up such huge seed stalks?!?! Hope to get enough De 18 Jours seed for a few years, next year save a few years worth of a different variety, and then rotate saving seed between the 2 every year thereafter.
    Saving seed is so satisfying. There’s so much more than you get in those little envelopes and it’s just a great feeling of security, independence and well…. freedom.
    We’ve had rain, rain and more rain (well, storms, storms and more storms really) along with extreme heat off and on since last Thursday, so better get myself busy outside now that weather has calmed down again. Happy for the rain, even if my nerves are shot from storm sirens going off constantly…..
    God bless and take care,

  • Thank you Theresa for this beautiful and informative garden walk, I always learn so much!

  • I LOVE “walking” thru your garden paths and soaking in the beauty! I can almost smell the wonder!
    Once again, you have given me some new vegetables to try in my own garden.
    I’m excited for the follow up to see how your transplanted beets and carrots do after you thin.
    Thank you for this wonderful post!
    Oh did I tell you I lost 130 beautiful onions to the gophers! Broke my heart

  • Always interesting to hear from you. This time saving seeds and allowing them to drop. Quite by accident I found parsnip grow better if I let some drop to a parsnip patch but now I see I can try others. For those senior seniors like me who for some reason are having trouble gardening, please don’t give up. I am almost a total container gardener now. Not quite as much fun as on your knees but it can work. I now grow or experimenting with everything I used to grow. I have grown everything I ever did except for inground veggies and this year I’m trying all of those in pots to see if I can and it looks good. I found some free 5 ga. pots and potatoes looking as good as my inground. Fall will tell. I also do most of it with a medical scooter using Theresa’s system as always so don’t quit.

    Thanks Theresa, happy gardening

    Ray Kent

  • Bonny
    I’m assuming from what you said that your Chinese cabbage heads up for you?
    I checked the varieties at Johnny’s Seed – all look beautiful of course, but I didn’t see any heirloom varieties – just hybrids.

    Was disappointed because I feel the urgency to save seed at this point in time. And as you know the seed from hybrids will not produce plants identical to the parent. It’s a toss up as to what one will get.

    However, will make it a point to start some seed in February (as well as fall and spring) and plant out when a few inches tall if the ground is not frozen and see if that makes a difference.

    The cabbage moths don’t seem to bother my chinese cabbage — which I found interesting when I read that you protect yours from the moths — indicating you would have damage if you didn’t.

    Can you let me know what state you’re in?

    So glad you added your input to the post Bonny.

    Was very pleased that my post gave you several ideas about things you’d like to try.

    Sorry your arugula didn’t come back. I know that was a disappointment.

    Since finally some summer weather has arrived in your garden — things will be growing gangbusters!
    (Brings to mind the watermelons that surprised you last year.)
    So nice to hear from you! It’s been a while.

    The fact that the tour and my comments were “so informative and encouraging” to you was music to my ears!

    Wishing you a wonderful summer and fall harvest as well!
    Thank you for your compliments.
    You know already that Bill taught me what I know about photography. And although I can’t match Bill’s skills I try to post photos that reflect what one would see if they were standing in my garden.
    Rob D
    Hopefully you’ll update me when you put into action your new ideas about things you may try down the road. Will be anxious to know your experiences.
    Dear friend, yes! it is a lot of work to photograph and document the garden. Thank you for recognizing that!

    But I think it presents ideas in a way that are more easily picked up on — especially when accompanied by pictures.

    I too find volunteers fun — especially when they’re totally unexpected.
    Your experience was definitely an exciting one!
    Glad you love the garden tours!

    I’m going to write a lot more about growing cabbage – but in the interim — keep at it. There’s so much they’ll reveal to you that I’ve not seen written about anywhere.

    And I agree – one of the great things about seed saving is that we get more seed than in those envelopes that may contain as little as only 10 seeds.
    Makes me so happy that you continue to learn from my posts Giulia. You definitely have the right mindset to learn! You pick on things that may totally escape many others.
    I will be anxious to learn what new plants you’ll try in your garden as a result of ideas from the post.

    In prior years, I’ve transplanted both carrots and beets . Although some make it and some don’t — I’ve never felt the results were “as good” as planting directly in the ground and letting them grow where they germinate.

    I feel your pain with the loss of 130 beautiful onions!
    That is heartbreaking.
    Hopefully you still had some left??
    Sure appreciate this encouragement for your fellow readers.

    Although we recognize that growing in-ground is the ultimate — often times life throws a curve ball that will not allow us to do that. So we do what we “CAN” do and don’t worry about what we “can’t” do.

    I’m delighted that you continue to find a way to garden and at the same time inspire us all. THANK YOU RAY!
    TO ALL who commented:
    Thanks so much for all these great comments. They add so much to the posts!

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