Right now my hands smell of thyme and sage. Tonight we will have our first salads from the garden — a simple salad of mixed greens, and a small caprese salad with tomatoes and basil we’ve grown ourselves. There may also be mussels and/or salmon…we’ll see.
Some photos, with notes.
Indigo Kumquat tomatoes – this is a semi-indeterminate hybrid that has taken over a significant part of our deck. Purchased from the discount bin, it was already sprawling and complicated, and after some judicious pruning and trellising, has started to do pretty well. It’s in a pot that’s probably too small at this point, but there’s no way we can repot it without losing half of the existing large cherry tomatoes, so I’ve topped it up with pure seafood compost and with an extra gallon of water yesterday seems to be doing pretty well. The plant probably has 50 tomatoes started already, the first 4-5 we’ll be eating today, and is starting new flowers constantly. If I can keep it alive, I expect this plant will continue producing right until frost.
Pea flower – We’ve got three types of peas started, and the first flowers emerged this week. We have about 30 pea plants underway that are being trained up a simple bamboo trellis. I love fresh peas, so I’m hoping these will actually work, even though it’s pretty late in the season.
Sweet 100 tomatoes – these are a determinate tomato, which we also picked up in the discount bin, scoring 8 plants for $4. They’re planted out in the garden beds and are doing pretty well now. They’ve doubled in size in the last couple of weeks and have set fruit with plenty more flowers on the way.
Proto zucchini – We love zucchini so naturally I’ve planted far too many. I think we have 20 plants of four types, including golden, green, white, and “Sunburst” pattypan. This week we’ve seen the first itty bitty zucchini on all but the Sunburst plants, so we’ll be swimming in it soon. Luckily zucchini grills up like a champ and is something we’re happy eating pretty much every day.
The salad bar – I think there are eight types of lettuce here, including three red leaf, three green leaf, “Little Gem” romaine, and Black Seeded Simpson. The tomatoes in the back are “Patio” tomatoes which are a determinate cherry tomato. There are a couple of “Sweet 100s” in here as well. The lettuce is ready to start harvesting, which we’ll do as “cut and come again”, taking only a couple of the outer leaves from each plant at a time and letting them continue to grow for the rest of the season.
Radish – I’ve planted 3 types of radish and they grow like stink. I think this is two weeks old and it will be ready to harvest in a week or so. I’ll plant more when these are done so we have an ongoing source of radishy goodness.
Beets – We have …a lot of beets. Or, more accurately, currently we have a lot of beet greens. We’ve planted half Boldor (golden) beets and half Bull’s Blood (crazy dark red) beets, and will start harvesting greens from these soon. The roots haven’t developed yet, but they should be big and ready for a pickling marathon in late September or early October. I make a honey-ginger pickled beet that is pretty much my favourite pickle in the world, thus the comically large number of beets in our garden.
Broccoli Rabe – Still very small and struggling a bit with the wind (we get a lot of wind), but these have grown quite a lot in the last week or so. I believe there are even some proto-shoots starting, which is encouraging. I will likely seed more of these soon since they’re a cool weather crop and should do better in the autumn.
Swiss Chard – We planted Kaleidoscope chard seeds and have about a dozen plants going strong. We’ll be able to start harvesting leaves from these pretty much any time, and they should last through until October or so.
Kale! – This is Blue Dwarf Curly kale and we also have a bunch of Black Kale. Really too much of both, with I think 20 plants of each scattered throughout the garden. Luckily we love kale (thanks to @shappy), and will be experimenting with kale chips in addition to salads and sauted greens. Yum. Kale is another cool weather crop, so these should last through October as well.
Cilantro, herbs & hot peppers – the herb bed contains Sage (2), Cilantro (3), Thyme (3), Oregano (2), Sweet Basil (3), Thai Basil (3), Lemon Balm (1), Dill (2), plus Jalapeno, Thai Chili, and Habanero plants. They are all going total gangbusters and we can start harvesting from them (except the hot peppers) any time. I will probably figure out how to do herbs indoors this year as well, so should be able to score herb seeds in the inevitable end-of-season seed sales. Woop woop. Oh we also have a spearmint plant, but he’s banished to a container on the patio, and garlic chives courtesy of the previous owner of our house. The chives will be transplanted into a better spot next spring.
Rob’s Potato Towers – Rob is somewhat obsessed with growing potatoes, so has built and planted four potato towers with three types of organic potatoes (Yukon Gold, Russet, and Chieftain). The towers are about 2′ x 2.5′, and will be 2′ tall when they’re finished. The theory is that you build a frame that can be made taller throughout the season, and as the potato plants grow upwards, you build additional layers and fill them in with soil and compost, giving the plants more space for potatoes. Rob just added the second layer to these this week, and they should be finished up in a couple of months. The source of these plans claims that you can get as many as 100 lbs of potatoes from each tower, but we’ll see. We’ll make a video of the harvest when the time comes!
The crazy apple tree – this is one of the three apple trees on our land, and is by far the largest. This is also where about a billion goldfinches live. We have no idea what kind of apple it is, and the tree has been sorely neglected for at least a decade, but we’re looking forward to spending a few years rehabbing this tree and seeing what it can produce. One of the other apple trees is very similar, but smaller (also in rough shape), and the third is a crabapple tree, which will be handy for jams & jellies (crabapples are a great source of natural pectin) and for the birds.
Not pictured – two types of cucumber (doing well), three types of snap bean (also doing well, but pretty slow…we’ll see), and four types of winter squash that probably don’t have enough time to ripen anything before the hard frosts come, but I’m going to let them carry on and see what happens.
And that’s the update for today. There have been some failures along the way — I had to ditch all of the asian greens because they were infested with flea beetles. Next year they’ll all be in one bed and grown under row cover until they’re large enough to survive on their own. Also the cucamelons are super super slow and there’s no way they’ll produce anything this year, so I’m going to pull those out today and use the space for something else. I’ve got some bunching onions I want to plant, as well as perpetual spinach, snowball turnips, arugula, and maybe some leeks.