Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Vacation Days

I'm watering two additional plots this week as many gardeners are on vacation.  One has allowed me to enjoy some of her ripe tomatoes while she is away.  What a treat!  Nothing is more delicious than that first homegrown tomato of the season, dressed with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  The two in the back were "payment" for my services.  I'm harvesting a pint or two of cherry tomatoes a week from my own plot.  And of course the broccoli leaves continue for Mao Mao and I.  I've added the chopped leaves to pasta, pizza, rice, eggs, and even pierogies.

The sunflowers have topped out at about 9' this year.  The tallest is supporting a very vigorous cucumber vine that has its sights set on the fig tree.  So far the flowers have all been a classic yellow with large brown center.  The mixed red variety I planted has had trouble catching up under the shaded canopy of jumbo leaves.  I might clear out the largest in August to see what happens.

The plot is just packed with foliage and flowers.  Everything is big and bushy and green and competing for space and sun.  As usual, I misjudged the capacity for some things to branch out when given the chance.  One misplaced tomato plant is stunting the growth of another.  Two misplaced pepper plants are wondering why it's been such a dark summer.  You never know what will thrive.  Every season is different and full of surprises and disappointments.  This year the broccoli has been a steady producer, loving its shaded corner of the plot.  Next year the hot peppers are getting a front row seat to the sun. 

The vegetable garden is never perfect, no matter how many times I read the seed catalog descriptions, draw planting diagrams, and consult the plant succession tables.  There are so many variables to consider.  Fun, fun, fun!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Beautiful Jungle

BIG cucumber, little pepper

Bee Hangout

My Beautiful Jungle

Monday, July 16, 2012

Instant Insalada

The harvests are definitely getting more colorful!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Floral Diversion

Three nasturtiums are growing under the cucumber plants.  I would love to add the flowers to salads but they haven't been flowering too much.  They might need a bit more sun.

What flower is this?  It has feathery silver leaves and delicate yellow blossoms that turn white after a while.  The centers of the flowers also change from yellow to white.

More clues: They seem to have four petals.  They grew from seed.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Summertime in the Garden

Big and Green.  The garden is enjoying the heat but could use a bit more rain.  I try to get there every other day but when the temps are in the 90's, the plants get thirsty.  The big leafy things are my volunteer sunflowers.  They'll be yellow with red and rust colors mixed in.  One in the center extends way beyond the top of the photo and trellis.  I think it's close to 8' tall.  There isn't a whole lot going on right now in the plot in terms of harvesting or flowers.  Everything is in production but not quite there yet.

The first Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes are coming in.  I've got three plants and they should all be big producers.  Depending on what i harvest, I might try making some sauce with them.

These red onions can be used as scallions or small onions.  I've picked some early and chopped them into salads and stirfry dishes.  If they last through fall, they might have more of a bulb on the end.  This is my first year growing onions and I'd probably get sets or plants in future seasons if I want actual onions in the summer.  I grew these from seed but they've taken longer than I thought to get this far.

I've got several 7" long cucumbers that are just starting to fill out, from the bottom up.  I won't be making pickles, but we will have our fair share of cucumber based salads.  Maybe I'll be able to contribute a little more homegrown bounty to this year's batch of Asian Gazpacho!