Monday, July 23, 2007

The garden's constant and rapid change amazes me. It looks nothing like the garden of a few weeks ago. Virtually all the small garden has come and gone, and soon will come and go again at unreasonable speed. The back garden is thick with green, narrowing some paths to extinction. I had to trim one of the tomatoe plants back to about 6 foot high.

We enjoy something from the garden almost every lunch and dinner. Mickey is adept at using whatever happens to be available each day. And since the garden furiously renews the "vegetable of the day", we've yet to tire of anything.

I estimate that we harvested about a bushel of produce this week, not counting the baseball bat sized zuchinni. Most of this is taken during the weekend. The garden hasn't caught on to our usage pattern, so we need to catch on to its production pattern. Some vegatables are best when picked within a one or two day window. We need mid-week harvesters! Mickey's without a car this week so come by, say hello and unburden some of the vines, bushes, etc.

Several spots have opened up in the small garden, and I've filled a couple with some yellow crooked neck squash, zucchini, beats, Chinese cabbage and fennel. In the remaining ample room we will put in some fall greens. Anyone with preferences/suggestions should let Rebecca know (you will meet her, Brian and kids sometime soon, I hope).

Here's this week's status:

Cucumbers *** (Don't let the regular cucumbers get too big; they get bitter. The Chinese cucumbers are best at about 1 foot long.)
Bush beans ***** (These need to be harvested when small, about 1/8 inch in diameter.)
Tomatos *** yes, for cherry; some Roma, a few yellow, some Early Girl (slicing)
Turnips done
Beets done, 2nd planting in a couple weeks
Dill *** waning quickly
Peas - one!
Lettuce - forget it
Hot banana peppers *** (these are marked with a red string on the cages)
Other peppers ***
Bell, Pablano (Ancho when dried), relleno (for stuffing), pimento (wait until red?), jalapeƱo (a little early, I think), & mild banana.
Chard ***** (2nd planting, very good green.)
Onions ***** (all harvested and drying)
Carrots nearly done
Eggplant (Japanese) - RIP
Radishs **** we found a patch!
zucchini *****
scaloppinni squash *****
acorn squash **** (we've baked this and it's easy and great, serve with butter & nutmeg.)
tomatilloes - close
potatos - We should harvest as the tops die. Also, we can dig "early" potatoes. The fingerlings wither within a few days, so gather them only for use within the next few days.

Kim

PS - I made 8? spelling errors above. Spelling these vejutabuls is tufff.

Friday, July 20, 2007

For the next few weeks we will have lots of produce. Please, please come by!

In some aspects the garden is going so well it looks as if everything is working. But we've had some setbacks this week. Some of the onions were in the ground too long and began to rot. We've been hit with lots of cucumber beetles. These suck the plant's juices and in the process spread a bacteria that clogs the plants vascular system. This may take a toll on some of the squash and cucumbers. We could spray for the beetle, but Seven also kills bees. Some of the radishes planted late are hard as golf balls and very strong. And we found that the bush beans and regular cucumbers need to be harvested when young. Otherwise, we've done VERY well.

Here's this week's status:







Cucumbers **** (Don't let the regular cucumbers get too big; they get bitter. The Chinese cucumbers are best at about 1 foot long.)
Bush beans ***** (These need to be harvested when small, about 1/8 inch in diameter.)
Tomatoes - yes, for cherry; some Roma, a few yellow, some Early Girl (slicing)
Turnips *
Beets * (2nd planting is on its way)
Dill *****
Peas - they're done
Lettuce - forget it
Hot banana peppers ****
Other peppers *****
Chard ***** (2nd planting, very good green. Mickey put them in scrabbled eggs, as you would spinach.)
Onions ***** (all harvested and drying)
Carrots ** mainly for kids to dig
Eggplant (Japanese) - succumbed to bugs
Radishes - only for the brave right now, we'll plant more when the weather starts to cool.
zucchini *****
scaloppini squash ****
acorn squash **** (we've baked this and it's great)
tomatillos - close
potatoes - close; we should plan a party for the kids

Stan planted pumpkins last weekend - timed for fall harvest.

I planted some Chinese cabbage in peat pots. I also planted some yellow summer squash in a pot. They will go into the garden this weekend.

I may plant more green beans in the small garden.

And, we got 1.25 inches of rain! What a relief!


Kim

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Does any one know what happened to the first 6 months of this year? One thing I know - Mickey and I reached the lofty age of 54. And another thing I know. People are still capable of change at that age, thank goodness. We've gravitated toward purchasing more locally grown foods, which fits in nicely with growing some of what we need right in our own backyard - with friends.

Mickey's taught me to appreciate food. She's known for her culinary creativity and good taste. I've learned to see in food and the culinary arts many of the most beautiful things: sharing, creativity, competency and accomplishment, seemingly endless variety, enjoyment, provision, experimentation and learning, culture and history, and the beauty of our and our plants' biology. Did our grandparents, who had to tend gardens out of necessity, think in these terms?

But back to weeds and the present state of our garden. Sidney's taken Stan and Terra to Missouri to see her grandparents. Mickey is out of town until Saturday to get a badly needed rest. And the garden's decided some things need harvesting. We'll start composting vegetables if they are not picked. Asterisks indicate relative availability.

Cucumbers **
Bush beans ***
Tomatoes - not yet, Penny
Turnips ***
Beets ***
Dill **
Peas - they're done
Lettuce - forget it
Hot banana peppers *
Other peppers - give it another week
Chard ****
Onions ***
Carrots ** - mainly for kids to dig
Eggplant (Japanese) **
Radishes - they're done for awhile
zucchini ***
scaloppini squash ***
acorn squash - maybe
tomatillos - not yet, but they look cool
potatoes - not yet, but we should plan a party for the kids

Other news: We just replanted some zucchini and more cucumbers (these are in case disease or bugs take out the existing plants). We tried more radishes, but they didn't like the warm weather. I planted more chard to have a larger source of summer greens. Edamame soybeans and fennel recently went in for fall harvest.

We've still not needed to use and chemicals. If (well, when) we do, we will indicate that with an orange or red flag in that row.

Needs:
Continued weeding. I keep the garden pretty weed free to the point that visitors don't see many. Don't be too fooled. They're out there, you just have to be as fastidious as me to get juiced about killing them. The problem with allowing them to get big is that eventually they'll have to be pulled anyway and uprooting large weeds often disturbs the plants you are tending. Penny's mulch is in place and has greatly reduced the weeding and watering chores.
Securing the straw mulch. This is a simple job. Distribute boards/stakes/whatever on top of the mulch so the wind does not blow it to Anderson.
Watering. If we don't get rain on the 4th, we are back to hand watering. The tomatoes and peppers need water about every 4th day. Seedlings and cucumbers need it daily. Use the (warm) water in the trash can for the cucumbers. They dislike 55 degree well water.
Label the peppers for easy identification.
Plant pumpkins.
Tie up some of the tomatoes that are not in cages.

I will be home all day July 4th. But I don't need to be here for you to take part.


Warm regards,

Kim