I've been looking after my neighbor John's garden for a few days. His vegetable garden. As in vegetables that he wants to eat. Obviously he hasn't had a good look at my veggie garden recently, nor has he read about my poor spring crop.

Fortunately he has pretty low expectations for me. He mainly wants me to turn on the sprinkler every couple of days when needed. That's simple enough, so I'm on it!

He grows everything in raised beds. This is only the second year for his garden (or is it the third?), but he's had pretty good success it seems. He's growing a lot of plants that I either don't have room for, or just haven't had too much success with.

The garden is fenced off so rabbits are not a problem, and he's added some rope to (hopefully) stop the deer from jumping in. He had a problem with that last year. This year no fence jumping, and I see a couple of deer back there (outside the fence) almost every day, so it appears to be working.

He's got carrots:

I'll have to remember to ask him how they turned out. Mine always end up inedible or tiny, so I stopped planting them.


I won't post a photo of what my pepper plants look like right now. Let's just say I'll consider posting one if they survive.

I think this is okra:

I've never grown it, so can't be sure. I think this is one of the veggies he's most excited about. It sure is a nice-looking plant though.

Beans! Lots and lots of beans, both bush and pole:

The best thing about the beans is I got to eat some!

You don't want the pods to get too old, so you need to keep picking. I benefit from that in this case. Fresh from the vine green beans -- so delicious! (One of the best benefits of gardensitting.)

This is zucchini maybe:

Not sure. All I'm sure of is the ant party in each blossom. Most of his plants are a couple of weeks (or more) ahead of mine, except for the beets. My beets look further along than those in his garden for some reason. I got a late start on most planting in my veggie bed this year, and John didn't.

On to the tomatoes.

The number one backyard garden crop in this country, and the plants that usually get the most care. Everybody loves a homegrown tomato, right?

John, like me, has planted several different varieties. Unlike me he has planted several of each variety, so he's got a lot of tomato plants in his garden.

To me it looks like too many plants in each bed, but he's had good success. The crazy thing is he has more tomato plants coming -- I have some extra 'Black Krim' plants that he was planning on taking, but I'm not sure where exactly he'll put them.

Besides watering, I also desuckered his tomato plants.

I'm glad he mentioned he was trying to be diligent with removing these, because I wouldn't have thought of it, and before you know it he'd have huge suckers:

Kinda looks like my tomato plants. I'm terrible at removing those suckers especially early on, and it's not uncommon for my plants to develop 2 or even 3 main stems because of this. Three or four years ago I used bird netting to protect my tomatoes, and because of the hassle of removing the netting I ended up letting most of the suckers grow. Those were some huge plants!

If you're wondering why this needs to be done (and if it needs to be done at all), I don't really know. I think it keeps the plant focused on creating flowers and fruit instead of more leaves. It definitely helps to keep the plants a more reasonable size.

One thing I noticed about his garden was there didn't seem to be too many pollinators around. Bees, hoverflies, etc. I also noticed there were some empty patches in some of the beds. I therefore took this opportunity to plant a trio of Agastache foeniculum into his garden:

They're a little past their peak, but bees love these, as do some butterflies.

My motives for planting these were somewhat selfish. Not only did I want to help attract pollinators to his garden, but I've got several of these plants in small pots, and having to water them two or three times a day was getting to be a drag. They won't need nearly as much water (or any) in a couple of weeks now that they're in the ground.

Besides, if John doesn't like them, or wants to move them he can easily pull them up without too much fuss.

Maybe he'll dig them out and put the 'Black Krim' tomato plants I'm saving for him into the resulting holes. Or the bronze fennel. Or maybe some of the dozens of other extra plants I've got to find homes for.

Whatever he decides to do, I'm definitely enjoying the up-close look at somebody else's garden.

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