Garden update time!
It’s hot. Damn hot. If it doesn’t rain today or overnight, I’m going to have to bust out the hose tomorrow and give the gardens a drink. Humid as all git out, too, which means less puttering in the garden and more hiding in the basement studio (which is coming along to the point where I’m juuuuust about ready to go get my art stuff out of storage, woo!)
The gardens are still going utterly gangbusters, and we’ve started eating stuff out of them every day. So far it’s all just lettuce, radishes and herbs, but that’s mostly because we’re limited by our lack of kitchen and the fact that we can’t manage anything fancier than a salad in terms of prepwork. Once our kitchen is finished (~3 weeksish from now), we’ll be hip deep in kale, chard, zucchini, beet greens, peas and maybe the first snap beans. So, good timing all round, I suppose.
In terms of maintenance work, I do a tour of the gardens every day to keep an eye out for pests & diseases, as well as to yoink whatever weeds have sprouted. Takes maybe 10-15 minutes and is a pretty zen way to start the morning. So far we’ve had no disease issues, and no problems with pests other than the asian greens succumbing to flea beetles. It seems that we have a volunteer army of birds who really love eating all our slugs and seem otherwise content to snack on what we put in the feeders. So that’s handy. Birds! Who knew?
So, some update photos and notes!
All three types of peas have blossoms, and the earliest has set pods that are growing and fattening up nicely. I am so crazy looking forward to eating these, you have no idea. I’m totally making minted fresh peas with butter, and you can’t stop me. Aw yiss.
The earliest of the snap beans have started to flower, which is awesome. There are also three kinds of these in the garden, and it looks like we weren’t too late with these after all. If all goes well, we’ll have plenty to eat fresh and some for spicy pickled beans (which are excellent in Bloody Caesars #protip).
My most recent count has us with 40 visible zucchini on the plants, and around five times that number of flowers working on more. We are going to be utterly awash in zucchini soon, which is hilarious and not unexpected, but still hilarious. We will eat as much of it as we can, and likely foist it upon friends and relatives in the near future. Pictured are Sunburst Zucchini (they turn into fat little UFO-shaped golden pods), and Golden Zucchini. We also have Rich Green and Magda plants.
The beets have started forming roots! Huzzah! That is the best part of the beet, although the greens are also insanely great (try ’em – chopped up and sauted with butter and garlic, or with bacon? Omg, srs, you need to eat some.) I am a little alarmed at just how many beets there are in the one bed, but from what I’ve read they will happily push each other out of the way and grow in ridiculous conditions. We’ll definitely start harvesting these for greens & baby beets when our kitchen is finished up.
Spinach, Chard, Kale & Cucumbers
Not pictured: The bunching onions I seeded in a narrow strip of soil between the spinach and the chard. They haven’t sprouted yet.
I really have to get some trellises up for the cucumbers, because they’re putting out tendrils and want to climb things (which is great – keeping cucumbers out of the dirt is absolutely something you want to do if you can). So that will be some of my time tomorrow.
The spinach (closest to camera), chard, and kale are all getting huge. We can start eating those now and they should keep producing through until frost (or later). This is only a fraction of our kale and chard — maybe 1/4? We will have way more than enough greens to get us through ’til November, which is awesome and delicious.
Lettuces and Tomatoes
The tomatoes are doing their thing, which is mostly growing rapidly and starting to put out masses of flowers. It will be a while before we see anything off any of those other than the giant hybrid monstrosity that is rapidly taking over the deck.
We’re eating stuff out of the lettuce array every day, and need to step it up. For like $12 worth of seeds we’re going to have all of the salad greens we can eat for (seriously) the next 3-4 years. Plus the previously mentioned kale, spinach, chard, beet greens and all the rest. The only thing we’re missing is arugula and that’s because I screwed up and forgot to seed some. I should figure out somewhere to stick some now because that would do fine for the rest of the summer and autumn.
Potatoes and Winter Squash
This is where we’re playing the long game, since at best we won’t see harvests out of these until October. We have three types of potatoes planted out in these potato tower things Rob built, and they’re all going crazy now. It’s likely Rob will have to add the third layer of boards & more soil on the weekend. These will be harvest when all the foliage dies off, which won’t be happening for a while.
I planted four kinds of winter squash — Early Butternut, Sweet Mama, Sunshine, and Heart of Gold. The Early Butternut aren’t doing terribly well, but the rest have gone crazy and are huge and slightly terrifying at this point. They’re easily a foot tall now, and they seem to be fine with the ridiculously cramped non-raised bed thing I built for them. Last week I read an article suggesting that I didn’t actually start these too late, so may actually get a viable harvest thing year. Fingers crossed!
Not sure I’ve mentioned these before, but when we picked up plants for the herb garden, Rob found this sad little pot of three hot pepper plants in the discount bin and decided to adopt them. There was one Jalapeno plant, one Thai Chili (or Cayenne?) plant, and one Habanero plant. We stuck ’em in the middle of the herb garden, not expecting much, but holy crap. The Jalapeno plant has easily 15 peppers on it already, and just threw up a whole other shoot that has flowers all over it, and the Thai Chili plant is…festooned. Like maybe 100 peppers? It’s nuts. The Habanero is taking its sweet time, but has started to blossom — no visible fruit at this point, but we’re hopeful. Not bad for discount bin orphans.
Not pictured: Dill & Cilantro & Spearmint. Yeah, the herbs are doing crazy well and we’re using them daily. Thyme has been featured in pasta and cider-steamed mussels, cilantro in fajitas and …something else I can’t think of right now, dill & chives in tunafish sammiches, basil in salads, etc. Next year I have plans for a whole separate and much larger meandering, organic, lovely herb garden with a little fence around it and a comfy place to sit with tea or wine and a book. I may be turning into an old lady.
That’s it! We love our garden and recommend growing your own stuff to everyone who has any space at all. It’s really just neat, and seriously easy to do once you get the basics sorted.