Friday, July 13, 2018

Garden Friday

Garden Friday finds us in a state of transition.
Summer is half over, 
but it is still too hot to sow most fall crops.
Here's what's going on in our summer garden.

We had an unbelievable weekend last week,
waking up to temps in the 60's.
It was a great time to spend a little time in the garden.

The melons are still flowering,
although we are awaiting our first pick.

Two vines each of cantaloupe and watermelon
are teasing us with hanging fruit.

Both varieties are on the smaller size.
Without much experience growing melon,
it seemed like a safer way to get started.
I'll be thrilled if we actually get to harvest any of it.

A few new dangling orbs were spotted on the wire tunnel.
Next year, I plan to build a more sturdy and permanent structure 
that will be used for vining crops.

The sweet potatoes got their teepee this week.
It will be fun to watch the vines climb
and fill in the space with delicate purple flowers.

Not sure how visible this is here,
but I was stunned to see a broccoli head forming.
I thought it had been far too hot to get anything out of this plant.

Hope is running rampant
as I detect the first vestiges of eggplant

 and banana peppers.
I think I see ratatouille in my future!

 The turtle beans will be dried on the plant
and stored for use later in the year.
This has been an easy crop to grow
and there are plans to expand our dried bean supply.

One curious note.
Although these are the healthiest looking tomatoes I've ever grown,
there are very few flowers and absolutely no fruit as of yet.
I was a bit late in transplanting them,
but I've also heard that our lingering winter 
may have something to do with it.

Most of the kale has been picked,
but I left a couple to use as trap crops.
These cabbage worms will enjoy sampling this kale,
and maybe leave other plants alone.

You can see how hearty their appetites are.

With my North Carolina Planting Guide in hand,
I began sowing a few fall crops.
Seeds, pots, a bucket of compost and some composted manure 
were all that were needed to get a good start.

This is the Small Sugar pumpkin variety,
which only gets to 8 pounds at the most.
They will be grown on our gazebo frame.

Planted 1" deep,
I soon found out that the squirrels easily dig them up.

I later placed screen on top of the seed containers.
I also started broccoli and Swiss chard in seed starters.
Carrots will be directly sown in a large bin this weekend.
That'll be it for seed starting until next month,
when the majority of crops can be planted.

One of the small projects we wanted to get done,
was to use our free mulch

to create a walkway alongside the west side of the house.
Our property slopes here,
and the water tends to quickly flow to the backyard.
We're hoping this will slow it down a bit
and make it a bit easier to navigate with the large pavers in place.
The stones were found on the property, 
so this cost us exactly nothing!

I mentioned the composted horse manure eariler.
A sweet neighbor brought me over a trailer load
that is ready to use in the garden.
He gets the manure from someone nearby
and adds his grass clippings to it and lets it sit.
What a great addition this will make to the fall garden!

So many gorgeous things are in bloom right now!
Heading out for my morning walk each day
allows me to drink in the color of our crape myrtle against the cerulean sky.

Our butterfly bush has been heavily visited by pollinators this season.

I just can't get enough of these coneflowers.
Pollinators of all types love 'em,
and knowing they will return each year makes me 

This year's focus has been on the veg garden.
The plan for next year will be to totally revise the veggie area as well as 
incorporate more natives into the landscape for aesthetic purposes.
My goal is to create a wildlife habitat
so that we can welcome all sorts of natural elements to the property.
One step at a time!

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