Summer Garden August 2014

The garden is doing well this year, though half of it got started a bit late. We have been enjoying the addition of truly fresh food to our diets. Bryce has a garden bed at the office this year as well, so we’ve been getting good stuff from both places. Beet greens and swiss chard have made appearances on our plates, and zucchini has been eaten with gusto in a dish that’s new to us. (I’ll share the recipe soon….it was SOOO good).

swisschardzucchinizucchini2

Baby Boy loves eating the peas…hence there are few pea pods left on the plants to photograph right now, but there will be more in a week.

pea

Lots of green tomatoes, only a couple red ones so far. I swore last year I wouldn’t use the same wimpy tomato cages, but I didn’t follow through. Unfortunately, not all of my tomatoes are even caged at this point. I did find, however, that the “large” puny cages do alright when doubled up. They support the tomatoes much better doubled than when they are used singly.

tomatoes2

This year I planted the tomatoes closest to the fence in holes filled with compost, and the other 3 are just planted in our regular soil. The 3 closest to the fence do seem to be doing better, but they were also planted a little earlier if I remember correctly. And they are different varieties. So, not a true test of the difference compost makes, but I still believe the compost is the way to go. You should see my grandpas tomato plants. He plants in large deep holes, filled with just leaf mold/compost and his plants are MASSIVE and loaded with tomatoes. I mean, we are talkin’ 5 foot tall, lush, thick dark green plants covered in beautiful tomatoes. I’ll have to take a photo and show you sometime, it’s amazing!

tomatoes

tomatobabies

The gooseberry plants gave us a great harvest this year, and they are so much bigger than they were last year! The dill and basil have struggled. You can barely see them poking up between the brassicas and the gooseberries. I planted them late in the season as transplants and they’ve been too thirsty at times. Even so, the basil has been used a lot in my cooking.

gooseberrybushes

My ARP rosemary is doing well. It is supposed to be a variety that has a better chance of surviving our cold winters, so crossing my fingers. When you just brush your hand across a rosemary plant and breath that scent, oh my stars. I love it.

And look at those gorgeous chives and green onions! They both overwintered from last year, and I started the green onions from the left overs of a store bought bunch! After chopping the green tops for a recipe, I planted the bottoms. They’ve done really well, and even went to seed this year.

herbs greenoniongreenonionseed

I think a neighbor must have sprayed weed killer earlier this summer, and it must have gone airborne (volatilized) and hit some of my jerusalem artichokes. That’s the most likely explanation as to why there is a completely dead patch right in the middle of the bed. I’ll have to replant the spot this fall when I harvest the tubers.

jerusalemartichoke

I planted green beans around Baby Boy’s saguaro cactus rib teepee fairly late in the season. I thought it would be a fun “house” for him, and if we get beans, great! He helped me plant them. *smile*

Lyamshouse

Kale got in late, but is doing well. And I imagine with the cooler temps we’ve been having lately, they are going to take off soon. Aren’t they lovely!

kale2

Broccoli is flowering! Not necessarily great for edibility, but look how pretty it is! Looks like broccoli will be on the menu today.

broccoli

I’ve got at least two little watermelon forming. They seem to be growing pretty quickly, which is fun for impatient gardeners…not that I know any.

watermelon

Yes, there are obviously some weeds in my garden. Morning glory is a major pest in my yard and garden. We put a lot of black plastic down this year to help control some of the weeds and to retain moisture. This has worked well over all. It definitely has made weed control easier…although there ARE weeds in my garden, they aren’t as HUGE or quite taking over….so that nice.

plastic

Lessons I’ve learned (or have been reminded of) so far this year are:

That I need to plant stuff earlier to give it a better chance of producing a respectable harvest.

Use a good compost, and dig your holes wide and deep.

Control the weeds early in the season, and mulch to keep them down, and keep the garden looking nice. Don’t let them go to seed! Next year I plan to mulch the perimeter of the garden with straw to keep it looking clean and to help smother weeds.

Any gardening lessons you’ve learned that you’d care to share? Let’s hear it!

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