It seems that I won't make it for weekly garden updates this summer. Oh well, logging our progress every couple of weeks is better than nothing at all. Yesterday I was reminded just how important these garden entries have become to us. Sitting in the garden, lamenting over the fact that some pest swooped in and pretty much ate all of my basil in 48 hours (never did see it... Japanese Beetles?), I remembered that last summer I directly sowed some basil seeds on a whim, some point in July. So I was able to look through my garden archives and pinpoint dates (check it out!)... it was only one week earlier than today, that basil did indeed grow and we enjoyed it well into September. It wasn't quite the big pesto haul, but still plenty for eating through August and September. Well, you know I just had to put a bunch of basil seeds in the ground yesterday and try again for a late summer harvest. Take that Japanese Beetles.
Here is our last garden visit, nearly three weeks ago.
And now, let's take a stroll through this week's garden.
Every year, mid-July, I wake up and it seems the entire garden is taken over by weeds. We spent about 15 hours in here this weekend getting things back into shape, pulling bolted lettuce and peas that are finished. Compost was added and late summer/fall crops were planted. Now the food growing plants can have the nutritive soil all to themselves and the air flow is much improved.
Raspberries are starting to ripen. The one thing we did not check off the list this weekend was netting the berries so we have to take care of that over the next couple of days. I know some people like to share with the birds, but in my experience the birds do not feel the same way. They'll eat every last ripe berry and leave none for us. So, if we want fruit, we must cover - and it makes all the difference.
We are in the middle of a three day rainstorm which is so very needed because growth was starting to feel quite slow for this time of year. I have a feeling at this time next week things will be looking much different in here.
See what I mean? I have picked the first few handfuls of bush beans, and beans in general are good performers even without perfect conditions, but the plants are looking a little sad. Hopefully this rain will fix that right up.
A variety of squash, winter and summer varieties. Slow and steady.
The second planting of shelling peas is in full harvest right now. They seem to grow by the hour so I check them twice a day for picking.
My broccoli that won't seem to make broccoli. I started this very early, sometime in April, and we are well past the 56 days to maturity that was expected. Now I imagine it's just too hot for anything to happen. In a couple of weeks I'm going to try another row (if I can find a spot) for an attempt at a fall harvest. I had such high hopes for this broccoli.
My garden rock star. Thanks to the kale cage, we are growing the healthiest greens we have ever grown. Not a single worm! The only two observations I have are that when we build the second cage (still have to do that), we make it so both sides hinge upward. It's a little tricky, though not impossible, to reach all the way to the back for harvesting. Also, the greens seem on the small side. I imagine it's a few degrees warmer in the cage and they'll become more robust in the cooler months of autumn, but for now we are incredibly happy to have plenty of dark leafy greens each day, even if they are on the small side.
Swiss chard is one of those plants that almost never disappoints, but this year it's been a struggle since day one. Poor germination, something eating huge holes in it (nothing ever usually eats chard!), and weak stems breaking off at the base with the slightest touch. It prefers the cool air of autumn, but usually hangs on and performs quite well in the summer too. Kind of perplexed on this... any thoughts?
Six beds have opened up as garlic, and the first plantings of peas and lettuce greens are all done. After some compost was added, rutabaga, parsnips, more beets, carrots, shelling peas and greens went in. Oh! And two more varieties of winter squash that I hope we are not too late for. We planted delicata squash last July and it matured just fine.
These are the pickling cukes. I had some seeds from 2012 to use up so this row is half 2012 and half 2014 seeds. Both are producing equally, and the picking has begun!
I have to remember that only 10 seeds come in a pack of the English cucumbers next year and order two packs. Of course saving the seeds is a good idea too. I've never saved seeds before but am learning to do so this year. I figured I'd start small and would save tomato, pepper, dill and cilantro (coriander) for my first year - maybe I should add cucumber to that list.
This row will be plenty for us, but cucumbers are such a great thing to share and I love adding them to smoothies or fresh juices. Their high water content makes them perfect for that. These plants are now filled with the first growth, yesterday morning when I checked they were all about three inches and at night they were FIVE inches! See? The rain is a much needed tonic.
Oh, potato boxes. I don't know about you. Your plants look healthy and happy, we continue to stack boxes and add soil, but I'm just not sure you're going to produce what you claim to. I'm challenging you...!
Eggplants are so pretty. It's hard to tell from this picture, but this one plant is dripping with the tiniest starts, at least ten fruits. That one in the front grew an inch in one day with the rain. So cute.
So happy we are growing corn this year, I really missed it last year. Although next year, at least two rows should be planted.
Happy blueberries. I guess sprinkling all those coffee grounds around the bushes is paying off. This is their third summer in the ground.
Shelling peas is my current obsession. I think I could plant 1/4 acre of just shelling peas and be very happy.
And finally... the garlic is in! In this pic it had been drying for a couple of days, so I brushed off the dirt and trimmed the roots. Now they are all set up single layer for curing. Fingers crossed for successful storage.
Almost forgot! The last three weeks of our pretend CSA. So far we've been able to offer a nice selection each week.
- peas - sugar snap, shelling, snow
- kale - dinosaur, red russian
- collard greens
- swiss chard
- onion thinnings
- last of the lettuce
- the first bush beans
- pickling cucumbers
- a few remaining strawberries
- chives, basil, oregano, sage, parsley, dill, cilantro
- flowers - black eyes susan, daisies, calendula, bachelors button, cilantro and dill blossoms, salvia, lavender, bee balm, echinacea
Thank you for coming out to the garden with me this morning!