90-degree temperatures here in Birmingham have brought on a growth spurt for all of our summer vegetables.

The plants are healthy, happy and doing really well. Shown above (left) are the ripply, pin-cushion-looking miniature beginnings of Costuluto Genovese (the most photogenic tomato). For perspective, the fruit is currently thumbnail size. Also shown (center) are rain-drop laden Red Figs, as they hang in a cluster. Cherokee Purple is the one (right) with darker green "shoulders" in a classic tomato shape.

These Cherokee Trail of Tears beans are just beginning their climb, but not every aspect of the garden has been this picture perfect. Here, a note from Farmer Mary Beth on some of the challenges we've encountered with beans: "I've had to re-sow the bean seeds two or three times for success. The first sowing I could not figure out for the life of me what happened. All rows came up but three in the middle of the garden. Turns out that a bird saw the fruits of my labor as an easy dinner and took the huge, speckled seeds for himself. The next sowing I did hurriedly to keep up with our photography schedule. We got rain for three straight days and I tried to sow seeds to catch up for the lost ones...but instead they rotted in the wet soil. See? I knew better--wet, sticky soil is a bean's worst enemy. So, alas...we have unintentionally spaced out some of the bean sowings but it'll give us a continuous harvest for weeks instead of all at once. Bright side!"

Just starting to bloom sporadically and will love it even more as summer heats up. The plants are 18" tall--just babies still--but here's a snapshot (above) of a bloom. Soon this will be a funky fruit.

Still a bit early, but one variety—Melrose—is already fruiting and anxious to get ahead of the others.

The leaves of our Moon & Stars melons are also peppered with constellations. How cool is that?