How sophisticated would a black & white (and green!) garden be?
How sophisticated would a black & white (and green!) garden be?
Cannot wait for garden updates to consist of huge harvest loads, lush foliage, and feeling overwhelmed with the size of everything… for now, little eggplants peeking out.
I wouldn’t be the first to say that Tuesdays are the worst day of the week — winter Tuesdays surely are the worst of all. Too far from both weekends and the fairer seasons, I always need a bit of brightness to spur daydreams of the (hopefully!) longer days to come. Today, shots of pink to perk up your wintery workweek.
Reducing tomatoes and peppers to 2 plants, each, has opened up 12 new spots in the garden. This will be a rough year for someone used to eating a few tomatoes a day from May thru November – but will hopefully be a happy trade-off. Tripled garlic planting, brought back favorites from last year, and am taking on a ton of new varieties! Including:
ONIONS !! After a successful garlic harvest, I am finally brave enough to grow onions (from transplants at least). Ordered a transplant sampler from Dixondale Farms, with Walla Walla, Redwing, and Wingmaster… may have to come up with a secondary planting spot as I’m expecting to get about 5 dozen (yikes).
Eggplant – trying again, from seed (last year ended up with store-bought transplant) and will only plant if looking healthy and viable, when it is HOT (when the carrots are all done)
Of course, I am sure something will stick around longer and the garden layout will have to change. But for now, daydreams are of the above.
Obviously life got the better of me and I stopped making time to update… but with warmer days getting closer, I am inspired to start again! I learned a LOT on my 2012 garden – once more, that I took on too many tomatoes. Just ask my neighbors, who had to deal with the 12 foot monsters (literally, 12+ feet!) growing over my homemade trellis, over their fence, and dropping big fat tomatoes in their laps. I also learned that I could probably stand to space out cucumbers, and grow fewer plants — we had enough pickles to last us through the winter (if we didn’t so happen to eat so many pickles). Eggplant was a total bust – but probably due to the fact that I put them out too early & they were stunted almost immediately. I LOVED growing garlic and tripled the planting this fall – I also had a great time with jalapenos (as I always do). Could stand with fewer large-type peppers and Brandywine tomatoes really aren’t worth the wait.
For 2012 totals… (estimated minus all veggies stolen by rogue doggy, birds, and loss to bad weather):
Over 150 heirloom tomatoes !! Some reaching up and over 2 lbs.
Over 50 fat pickling cucumbers, plus endless Mexican sour gherkins.
A few bowls of Edamame – definitely still learning about beans.
Massive amounts of greens (getting about 2 serving bowls/week in the late winter/early Spring) – with room to improve this number with cold frames.
Over 175 Jalapenos, and about 30 peppers across other heirloom varieties.
About 5 strawberries a week (with room to improve the patch this year).
Something like 40 radish, of which few to none actually got eaten.
40-something carrots of various sizes.
A dozen fat garlic bulbs.
Not bad for 16 square feet ! Especially considering I abandoned all attempts at a late fall garden, due to peppers sticking around through November and frankly not getting myself ready to build a cold frame system. Seeds are ordered (and in some cases, started) for 2013 and I have many new fruits & veggies up my sleeves! So ready for the days to get longer, and warmer, so I can begin!
I swore I would not climb THROUGH a jungle of tomatoes this year, and am so far pretty pleased with the trellis/Mississipi weave I’ve worked so hard to keep up. But at 9+ feet tall, the tomatoes have won. There’s nowhere else to tie them to, so I am letting them gently flop & keep doing their thing until they inevitably peter out at the end of the summer. I can’t hold it against them, since I’ve gotten 20-25 lbs (really guessing here – 30+ medium to ENORMOUS) of fantastic heirloom tomatoes in July alone. Hot little doggy is helping model for scale.
Peppers are a few feet tall, and the larger varieties (slightly immature “King of the North” pictured here) are finally rounding out & the first eggplant are FINALLY making an appearance after much begging and pollinating with a paintbrush… yes, I am that type of person. Now I know.
Winter seeds are here, there’s a big old bag of dirt out back, and I’m going to pick up some fresh compost this week to get the fall garden in. Otherwise just riding out the end of the hot, hot summer.
Mostly still picking big fat heirloom tomatoes & firm little pickling cucumbers every morning when I water. Had a marathon preserving day last week with CSA + garden goodies, making:
Plum & Lavender Jam (naturally I added red rainer cherries)
& finally a batch of rosemary crackers that I hope to continue to make every Sunday to bring to work the rest of the week. Hoping to make thumbprint cookies w/ the homemade jams (I made SO MUCH) for office parties & upcoming BBQs.
Other great new seasonal recipes I’ve added to my repertoire:
Corn & Bell Pepper Chowder (I just use whatever peppers are ready in the garden)
Pasta w/ Summer Squashes, Herbs, & Honey - this is one of my favorite new dishes to make… ever. I literally quadruple the snap beans.
Finally, FINALLY sat down and literally plotted out the fall garden. I have been working on this all summer as I change my mind about what to grow, as well as try to decipher when summer crops will actually be pulled up. I recall having tomatoes & peppers into late October last year… It’s dorky but it works.
Going to replant my own Chesnok red garlic, and I still have Di Cicco broccoli, Tom Thumb peas, and many varieties of carrot seeds left from the last 2-3 seasons. I am all out of my go-to kale, spinach, and lettuce however. I actually ordered from Baker Creek for the first time yesterday and purchased:
Red Russian Kale (normally order from Seed Savers)
Strawberry Spinach (I’ve wanted to grow this for years !)
Yes… many of those say August. Yknow, like less than 2 weeks from now. Still need to make time to mix up some compost & new dirt to top off the empty squares… hard to get started when it’s one heat wave after another.
The garden is still growing up and out — HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? Stretches of heat waves have burned up most of my flowers, so I have purchased a few new ones including these weird guys that look like screaming mouths. (Roots to the right are dill plants, drying to jar & save)
Meanwhile am still enjoying early tomatoes – about 8 this week, plus 5 cucumbers, and lots of gorgeous peppers. The basil is also starting to resemble the bushy tomato plants, at a few feet tall.
And finally, the garlic is cured & cleaned for long-term storage.
I know I’ve said it to myself about every day but… I really need to start thinking about the fall garden. I am usually working a few weeks ahead the local gardening calendar but it feels like I may stretch out the summer and get a late start on fall.
I’m dying. Berry-like crystal jewels. Shop the collection here.
The first four of six tomato plants gave me fruit in the last two weeks — the Cherokee purple, Amish paste, heirloom Italian, and German pink… Ryan and I had to put the final line of the trellis weave in as the plants have reached 7 feet and are trying to sneak into the neighbor’s yard. It’s fantastic getting these first few fat, 1+ lb fruits and knowing that I’ll start bringing in 5-10 in a slow week soon. I’m still dreaming of buying 100 lbs of fresh tomatoes from the farmer’s market to make canned whole tomatoes, salsa, and sauce since I eat the ones I grow just as fast as they come in…
Harvested the first edamame plants – I realize they are few and not very pretty, this was the crop that spent the first two weeks getting kicked around (and out of the ground) by stray cats. They were delicious so here’s looking forward to the next harvest – likely quadruple the yield. Now there are two more spaces I need to finally commit to planting. We’re on another stretch of a heat wave so it seems silly to start thinking of the fall garden… though I realize it’s sneaking right up as soon as I get comfortable sitting back and enjoying the fruits (literally) of my springtime labors.