My Kitchen Garden in June

My kitchen garden in June

June is my favorite time in the kitchen garden. The hard work of spring – the prepping and the planting – is behind us, and the bulk of the food preservation efforts – canning tomatoes, freezing green beans, drying peppers – is yet to come.

June is truly a time to sit back and enjoy the garden and its bounty. It’s a time to delight in that first ripe tomato of the season, a time to wander around the garden with a basket collecting whatever looks good for dinner that night, a time to sample the new varieties we planted and to experiment with new ways of preparing old favorites.

As I have done each month of the growing season so far, I am giving you another photo tour of my garden. Here’s a look back at my kitchen garden in June.

My kitchen garden in June

June has been a wet month here in Iowa, and all of that rain has caused the garden to explode. That little cabbage I showed you in May? Here’s what it looked like on June 7:

CabbageIt became dinner on June 18 … and 19 and 20. Yes, we got at least three meals out of the thing, and all of the outer leaves became a tasty snack for the chickens.

And this cucumber plant that we transplanted in mid-May is now poised to take over the world:

cucumber plant

Fred, my 80-pound Labrador Retriever, is in the background to provide some perspective on just how big this plant is. We harvested the first cucumber on June 23, and there are hundreds more on the vine. I see lots of pickles in my future!

When I’m ready to make pickles, I will have no shortage of dill seed:

Dill flowers

Many gardeners probably can relate to the excitement that comes with harvesting the first tomato of the season. Really, is there anything better than a tomato right off the vine? We enjoyed these perfect little cherry tomatoes on June 9, super early for Zone 5:

Cherry tomatoes

Now I am anxiously awaiting my slicing and paste tomatoes to ripen, like these Italian Heirloom tomatoes:

Italian Heirloom tomatoes

It’s also shaping up to be a very good year for peppers, after a disappointing season last year. We’ve been harvesting green bell peppers regularly since June 19. We have eight varieties of peppers in the garden, including these bell peppers, which will turn orange as they ripen:

Green bell peppers

Other varieties include King of the North (a red bell variety), hot Portugal, peach habanero, jalapeño, ancho, paprika, and sweet Italian (pizza). By my July garden update, I expect the pepper bed to be awash in color as the fruit ripens.

Here are a few more shots of the food we have been harvesting from the garden in June:

Amish snap peas

Amish snap peas

red potatoes

Red potatoes

Chioggia beets

Chioggia beets

One of the main reasons I have a vegetable garden is because I love food and cooking. June is a great time of year to find culinary inspiration in the kitchen garden. On any given night, I can go out into the garden and pick a basket of random vegetables like this:

Garden vegetables

Kale, green pepper, celery, and chard

Within an hour, I can be eating a meal like this:

Grilled Italian sausage with sauteed vegetable

Grilled Italian sausage with sauteed vegetables (cabbage, kale, chard, carrots, green pepper, celery and onion)

And the leftovers can become a fabulous breakfast like this:

Hash and eggs

Italian sausage hash and eggs

And the best part is that everything but the sausage was grown in my own backyard!

Before I wrap up my June garden tour, I want to show off the new additions to the “egg garden,” my Easter Egger chickens:


Marigold and Betty joined the rest of the flock on June 13, and are assimilating nicely to their new home. I can’t wait until they start laying blue, green, and/or pink eggs! (You may have to wait until my September or October update to see them.)

What’s growing in your garden this month?