Thursday, July 29, 2010

First things first

Life with small children (okay, less small than they used to be, but old habits die hard) can often feel as though it's all reactive. You try to anticipate, but really kids are just bags of immediate wants and needs. I'm pretty spontaneous myself, but I do like some planful time. It helps center me for the onslaught of my days. If possible, I like to get up before anyone else, the time I used to run, and now I read the paper. Then I take a walk in the garden. Sometimes I hope that it's going to be a quick overview, but often I end up harvesting, doing stuff, getting happily side tracked. Today was a seriously sidetracky sort of day. The best!

I'm tickled at the bursting bounty of my bell pepper plants. I know that they need fertilization to keep going at their peak, and I have a low-tech idea for that which I'll blog about if it works, but still, just think of all the yumminess coming up:

The potato harvest seems like such a high return on investment. Somewhere the weights of the planting potatoes have to be written down. Even though I don't mean to, a visit to the potato bed seems to sneak in at least once a day. I'm not going to repeat the red and purple regular sized potato plantings -- the red ones are only good for boiling, really, and it's not my favorite preparation, and the purple ones are very . . . well, purple. Not for me.

But the fingerlings? They're called "Red Fingerling" and "French Fingerling" at the store where the original ones came from, and the French are buttery and fantastic. Maybe tonight we'll taste the red ones:

Can you see the "European Bell" pepper under that Early Girl tomato? Neither can I. Note to self, tomatoes are space pigs. Give 'em their own bed.

A quick tie up of a big branch and some judicious pruning freed the pepper to have at least a little light and some hope of fruiting.

The volunteer squash is doing fine -- I'm going to have to start walking over it soon. Of course, depending on what it is, I might end up tearing it out. It will be compost, at worst.

Today is the tomatillos last. The municipal green bin is being emptied today, and since I won't compost anything with this much powdery mildew, I was waiting for room for the plants. Any tomatillos worth saving will go into another batch of enchilada sauce, and then we'll just call it a day. I'm not up to coaxing them along. Maybe some year I'll fight powdery mildew, but not this one.

The Cherokee Purples are like little happy surprises peeking among the foilage.

Yesterday I managed to mostly turn under the cover crop. Now I have to find out what was supposed to follow the buckwheat, soybeans, and clover. I'm sold -- now I just have to make certain that I've scheduled cover cropping in between rotations, and find a source for modestly-priced bulk seed.

Flowers mean that beans can't be far behind, if the beetles don't eat them all. Little pests.

The other bean bed is happier with some iron slug bait. I was finding too many babies half chewed. We replanted in the empty spots, but I bet there's going to be enough for the whole year anyhow.

When I was ready to go in the house, the basket was much heavier.

Ten minutes after going inside, a freshly beaten egg and enough butter to make me feel a little guilty made a breakfast to seriously savor. That's the kind of fast food I can get behind!

Squash blossoms, Cherokee Purple tomato, and some of the volunteer tat soi from a path. Now I get to think of lunch.


Erin said...

Looks great! Are you talking about regular red potatoes, white flesh inside? I usually see them roasted with rosemary and garlic and yum, those are my favorite! I'm not going to be able to compost most of my stuff either, sadly. This will be my first year trying cover crops (this fall, that is) I've never tried a squash blossom, but they look fantastic!

michelle said...

LOL, I'm sitting here eating a PLT (Prosciutto Lettuce Tomato) for an early lunch and drooling over those squash blossoms. It's a good thing that I stop eating when I feel full . . .

Love that harvest basket! Your garden is looking great, so many good things growing.

Rachel said...

Looks delish! We have so many squash blossoms but I never get around to harvesting them to eat.

Stefaneener said...

Erin, those are them. Anything roasted like that sounds terrific; maybe I'll try again tonight. I'm a complete cover crop new user. Fun, but one more layer of complexity.

Stefaneener said...

Michelle, I'm with you. I could eat all day from out there right now. I'm trying to talk myself out of a sandwich on yesterday's bread -- maybe I'll cave on purpose.

Rachel, would you believe that this is the first time I have both harvested AND eaten them? They were very good. . .

Annie*s Granny said...

Looks and sounds as though you had a wonderful day in the garden. Sometimes I wish my entire garden was planted in potatoes, with a couple of good tomato plants thrown in for variety!

Jeff Vandiver said...

That was a very nice overview of the garden. Squash blossoms for breakfast is one of the weirdest things i've ever heard of. Ha!

meemsnyc said...

The peppers look great!

Mr. H. said...

Your peppers look fantastic. I had to smile at your pruning to give the peppers a little light. I yanked out a couple volunteer squashes and a tomato yesterday in order to free a couple of our peppers. I probably should have left the squash plants be as they were doing a far sight better than the peppers.

No purple potatoes for you? Purple veggies just take a little getting used to.:)

Stefaneener said...

Granny, potatoes certainly don't get old for me, at least not the harvesting. I keep thinking, "Ha!" every time I find a new one.

EG, you don't need to knock it until you've tried it. I'm trying to avoid too many carbs. . .

meemsync, every other year it seems they do wonderfully. Maybe I'll figure it out so I can repeat it.

Thanks, Mr. H.! Maybe your pepper wasn't doing well because it needed more light?

Toni said...

Your garden is looking awesome... especially your peppers!

My pepper plants are struggling... the grasshoppers really love them.

Your lunch looks good!

Ribbit said...

Fantastic! I just love it. Michelle, your PLT sounds excellent.

Stefaneener, I can never believe how lush everything looks over there.

kitsapFG said...

That garden trug of harvested items is a thing of beauty! Your garden is really looking splendid this year. Congratulations on (pardon the pun) "breaking ground" into cover cropping/green manures! It really is a great way to amend your soil and is quite simple to do. I need to check my seed supply and make sure I have plenty of crimson clover for the fall cover cropping.

That cherokee purple tomato looks brilliant. I have tiny little green ones on my plants but nothing anywhere near maturity yet. Hopefully they will happen before the fall cold rains arrive.

Jackie said...

Yay! Cooking really is more fun when you're a vegetable farmer. Nice peppers. It seems to be too cool at my house for peppers to grow. I didn't know that tomatillos got powdery mildew. This is my second year with them and so far, so good. The squashes always get a ton of PM...starting about now.

The Chicken Keepers said...

Garden produce is the BEST! Love the blog! Check out our blog at

Stefaneener said...

Toni, it's just not fair that you have someone else competing for your peppers.

Ribbit, you know it's practically a desert, but an irrigated desert can really bloom.

kitsapFG, thanks. I got out my drawing to see what I could rotate another crop into. Must buy more seeds.

Jackie, I wonder if tunnels would give you enough heat to really get some peppers. It's funny; we've had such a cold summer, respectively, but the warm afternoons appear to be enough.

chicken Keeper, thanks for coming by. I agree; it's terrific.