Saturday, July 19, 2014

Mid-July Miscellany

It's mid-July, and while I've got a continuous harvest going, I do feel like it's not as much of everything as this time last year. (Except berries, which continue to deluge the household.)

The tomatoes, it must be confessed, are not producing anywhere like they should. See the Green Zebra at left - nada. What a waste of time, water, and dirt. My son's Sun Gold has one or two a day. My other cherry has one or two every couple days, and the Indigo remains disgusting - just tastes unripe, no matter how big it gets. Let's blame the drought, or possibly Flora Grubb Gardens for selling it to me.

I am getting - literally - a handful of green beans and sugar snap peas daily. That, at least, is perfect. Can't stop congratulating myself for not overplanting!

Between the two pumpkin plants that came up (out of I can't even tell you how many seeds), we've got two well-established baby pumpkins, with a couple more tiny possibilities. At least all my potted herbs are doing great, for once.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mid-July Harvest

Nectarines ripening up (note new backyard fence section - complete!)
Lettuce tragedies aside, the garden is producing about a pint of blackberries and a handful of green beans and snap peas per day. I'm getting a zucchini a week (perfect!), an occasional tomato, and a bit of lettuce. The Miracle Gro regimen of every two weeks seems to be helping the basil and mint, and boy did the mojito I made last weekend with our mint and our lime really help me.

I am looking forward to when the tomatoes really start producing. We've got a couple of days before the oddball nectarines are ripe. This was an inherited tree in a stupid place in the backyard. The grownups in the family aren't fans of the fruit it produces, but last year anyway my son enjoyed them for its week of abundance. The fruits are small, just about the right size for his hand, and that's as good a reason as any to eat a fruit.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Happier News

Our two pumpkin plants are both happy campers, the slugs have been so busy with lettuce lately that they overlooked a strawberry plant, and my son's colorful garden corner is brightening things up around here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Lows

With gardening as with childrearing, the highs are very high ("I love you, Mommy!") and the lows are VERY low ("I wish you weren't my mommy!"). Some nasty pest - probably a slug colony - nibbled off all my potted mesclun over the course of 48 hours. So discouraging, I didn't even have the heart to snap a photo of it before I angrily upended the pot and destroyed all the slugs clinging to its bottom. The kids enthusiastically pointed out ones I'd missed until we were sure we got all the ones that were visible.

After bedtime, my son called me in to tell me that he couldn't stop thinking about "things that I know probably aren't going to happen, or not for a very very long time" like meteors crashing into our house or volcanoes erupting. I told him that scientists now can detect those things before they happen and they give people warning, so our family and all our friends can go to a safe place far away. I couldn't help adding, "But I won't tell the slugs, so the meteor will crash into them." It's like war up in here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Big Yard Project Continues Apace

Yesterday morning
My gardening has been curtailed lately by the major fence replacement and bamboo eradication project going on between our yard and our neighbors. Our backyard is a staging area for all the tools and the removed bamboo; even though my garden is not quite encroached upon, close enough that it makes it unpleasant to be out there. (I am a delicate flower, apparently, averse to clouds of dirt and loud noises.) However, the work is going fairly well and should be done in another couple weekends.

Yesterday afternoon

These photos also give a sense of our crazy weather: COLD and foggy in the mornings, warm when not breezy, and sunny in the afternoons. I feel for the plants - they just have to adapt to the local microclimate, and I can't really fault those who don't! Sometimes I feel like I have yet to adapt to the local microclimate!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

So Many Berries!

It's pretty awesome! I like them with just a shot of whipped cream (from a can, because I'm all-American like that). The kids generally just pick em and eat em with no intermediate step. For myself, I rinse them. Actually right after this photo was taken, a tiny green worm poked his head out of one of the berries. I downplayed it with my daughter but, my stomach turned over. That's life on the farm, folks.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


We're finally getting some tomatoes! My 5 year old is SUPER proud that his Sungold plant is the first to produce, but he is almost as excited to give me a daily report on how my plants are coming along. His is producing a couple a day; mine are almost ready.

In my first flush of enthusiasm and ignorance, I popped a purple cherry into my mouth before it was anywhere near ripe - YUCK - but I had to quickly mask it so the kids wouldn't get turned off them. O the sacrifices parents make. I'll be giving those guys a wide berth now. They can stay on the plant until they provide me with a written notice of readiness.

Our wacky weather has been cool and foggy in the mornings and late afternoons/evenings, but fairly warm and sunny midday. The zucchini is happy as a clam and producing well. I even have a lemon cuke almost ready to pick, and we're getting a right-sized handful of sugar snap peas and green beans daily. The blackberries continue to flourish. We picked about 10 cups worth in the past few days because my husband was seized with a desire to make jam. Using a newly acquired vintage food mill my aunt gave us, he was able to de-seed them nicely, and we tried the jam this morning. It was excellent. I love helping the kids make that mental connection between taking care of our plants and eating what they produce. Viva los berries!