Friday, August 10, 2018

Garden Friday

Welcome back to Garden Friday!
We've got a bit of this 
and a smattering of that 
on this fine summer day.

 We recently had some troublesome weather.
This is a neighbor's house after the storm.
Thankfully, no one was hurt and another neighbor
was able to take care of the aftermath.

The skeleton of the garden hasn't changed much in the last week.
With autumn fast approaching,
the next few weeks will be busy with building a new elongated bed
and transplanting starts into the fall garden.

 For now, we are still harvesting a few scrumptious morsels
from the summer garden.
The cukes just keep on comin'!
I've been pleasantly surprised how easy and problem-free 
these slicing cucumbers have been to grow.
The flavor is mild, refreshing, and crisp!

 The okra has been producing quite well.
Every couple of days,
a few are snipped off the stem
and added to a sauteed vegetable medley.

 New blooms means that they are not slowing down yet.

The tomatoes.  Oh, the tomatoes.
Don't they look gorgeous?
They are teasing me so.
I picked the first Cherokee Purple the other day,
only to find that it was waterlogged.
Not sure why that happened.
What smidge I could cut off and taste was delicious.
I'm holding out hope that the remaining fruit
will be able to be enjoyed.

Of course, that means that I have to beat the cutworms to them.
Each day when I return from my walk
I am diligently checking for these pests.
How'd I miss this monster?
Sorry to say, it was his last meal.

The Japanese eggplant has been so tender and yummy.
I usually cook these with some of the banana peppers I pick,
along with onion and tomato. 
Even though the leaves are riddled with holes,
the fruit does not seem to be disturbed by anything.

 This guy seems to be in a holding pattern.
It doesn't seem to be growing.
I'm gonna add some turkey poop to the container
and see if I can pull it out of its funk.
There are only two watermelons still hanging on the arches.

The Slenderettes never disappoint.
A couple of months back,
it seemed like they were on their way out.
Lo and behold, they sprang back to life.
This is the most tender and delicious string bean
I have ever eaten.

 The turtle beans are drying on the vines.
I'm not sure if I should pick them as they dry,
or wait until the end of season and pick them all.
I have a friend who grows all sorts of drying beans,
so I think I'll pose the question to her.

With the rain we've had lately,
the pumpkins are starting to take off.
They seem quite content nestled in their pots
under the trellis.
They, more than most crops I've grown,
really respond to the downpours.

A bit of cardboard pilfered from a neighbor's trash pile
will help me to cover more of the grassy area
and expand the growing size of the garden.

 These brush piles scattered around the property
will be used as we begin exploring
Hugelkultur in our next raised bed project.
Not only does it recycle the materials on the property,
it is less costly to fill a bed with soil.
Always trying to learn something new
and improve the chances for successful growing.

 In our growing zone (zone 9),
it's time to start several crops including
beets, kale, lettuce, and spinach.
I took some time to get some seedlings started
so that they will be ready for transplanting in a few weeks.

 I'm planning on really focusing on succession planting,
especially with lettuces this fall and winter.
I know that Vates kale will winter over without protection
and I want to test the lettuces and see how they do.

 An old toothbrush is used to get the needed depth for seeds.
Most lettuces are planted 1/4" from the top of the soil.
In general, the smaller the seed, the shallower the hole for sowing.

These seeds are pelleted.
(They look like tiny white eggs.)
The idea is that it's easier to see where you are planting
and to prevent from having to thin out seedlings later on.

The seeds are sown in seed starting mix,
and the soil is gently pressed down
to ensure good contact. 
Misted for good measure,
they are on their way to a great start!
(Indeed, these were checked on yesterday,
and there was already germination in many cellpacks.)

Our first plantings for the fall garden.

 This curiosity peaked my interest.
Hopefully, with a bit of research, we'll figure out what it is.
There is always something new to learn.

 Both the lemongrass and the lantana near the front porch
have savored every drop of rain we've had.
I can see this entire bed being filled in with lantana.
The pollinators love it!

 Oddly enough, the magnolia tree is blooming again.
For some reason, I thought it only did its thing in the springtime.

The Gerbera daisies took their time coming back to life
once they were moved to the butterfly bed.
I never gave up on them though,
and we are being rewarded with stunning blooms.

What's new in your summer garden?

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