Saturday, 11 July 2015

Midsummer in the Garden

Well I am thoroughly off cooking these days, but the garden is going on as scheduled. Tomatoes are trellised, although I need to get out there and do some tying up. Peppers and eggplants are flowering, and indeed some peppers are starting to form. We've had some cool nights, so they are still getting covered  up sometimes.

You can see our sweet potato bed behind and to the right of the peppers; it's been cool enough we just open up the ends of the hoop house on warm days. They like it really hot! We have some new and unusual varieties this year, which we got from Burt's Greenhouses, and we are looking forward to seeing how they are. They are looking really healthy and growing well.

This bed contains cucumbers, and few stray melons and squash, all of which will need to be trellised. Yes, they are way behind. However, I'm hopeful that they will produce at some point this season. The snarled mess in the foreground is a Brussels sprout/kale cross, which was the only brassica to survive our winter, apart from a few stems of straight Brussels sprouts. I'm planning to save the seeds, but I'm hoping they don't smother my squash before they are done.

This section is looking good as long as you don't look too closely. Swiss chard is late but ready to start picking, celery and celeriac are growing nicely but so are the weeds, leeks have just been transplanted to their final positions, squash are noodling along, and this year's brassicas are doing okay, mostly. Lettuce (in lower right corner) is over - gone bitter and starting to bolt.

The herb bed isn't doing well, but we do have some of last year's leaf celery bolting. I expect to have 10 year's supply of celery seed by fall. The one other thing that is coming up here and flourishing is the potatoes we missed when harvesting last year, although there are a couple of nice stalks of dill. These are offspring of the dill seed I brought back from Turkey, I believe, which has been extremely shy of germinating, but has managed to produce a few plants each year so far, and so I stagger on with it. Still hoping I get more and better seed this year.

There are two beds behind the herbs and watermelons, which are supposed to be perennial flowers for cutting, and which have fallen to the bottom of the weeding list for 4 years straight. Now they are completely overgrown with weeds and will need to be completely re-dug. Mind you, they are still at the bottom of the to-do list...

These are the seed-grown potatoes we did this spring. We had given up on them ever sprouting, and supposed that we had not kept them dormant long enough. However, we weeded them out the other day and discovered that there are a few coming up. Somewhat to my confusion, there seem to be self-seeded potatoes (like, from seeds, yes) in this bed as well, which we haven't had  happen before. Confusing! But amusing.

Our watermelon mass-cross breeding project continues; no melons to be seen  yet and not for a while, but the vines have stopped sitting there blinking, and are now stretching out more and more every day. A few are making their first test flowers.

First zucchini should be ready any day. Yes, they are rather late but that's our life these days, as already noted.

Through the application of money and shameless begging amongst my internet friends, I was able to get some onion and carrot seeds from France this year that I have wanted for a while. The carrots are 5 or 6 open polllinated heirloom strains, and the onions are 3 different strains of Rose de Roscoff sweet pink onion. They are all flourishing and I am excited!

Last year we planted early determinate peas, pulled them out by July 1st, and replaced them with short-season dry beans. Last year was so cool and rainy, especially in the second half, that the beans did not quite make it to harvest for the most part. However, they came close enough that we are giving it another try this  year. The bed with the long rows will need to be trellised soon, while the other bed is bush beans. Most of these are to be used dried, but a few are for fresh use. The fresh use should be no problem, but we'll see about the others. I am quite hopeful though, since already this summer looks like being hotter than last year by a fair bit.

On which note, our rain also seems to have stopped. We have had mostly adequate rain up to this point, from which I deduce that everyone else is contemplating building an ark, but we have had to start watering this week. It's a pain, but at least we made it this far along before it was required.

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