Thursday, July 22, 2010

Greens Gone Wild

I was away from the garden for ten days, and it was the first place I went when I got back. What a difference a week and a half makes! When non-gardeners care for the garden, some things change without being noted, I suppose. Everything was bigger:

And some flowers had come into their own. I showed Cat how to make snapdragons "snap," and her brother showed her how it worked. Next we'll wear snapdragon earrings. I'm quite proud of these flowers, since snapdragons are tricky to start from seed. As always, though, I don't think there are enough flowers in the garden. Too many weeds, too few flowers. . .

A very chilly worker bee on an "Envy" zinnia. I love the pale green flowers.

The pole beans are gleefully climbing the sunflowers in two beds, which are reaching lofty heights. Unfortunately, some of them are also flopping over. I believe I may have to shore up that idea for poles. Oh well, there's always other years, I suppose.

I believe that the tomatillos are showing some powdery mildew or some such -- it's the same thing they got last year. Plus, they have all flopped over. It's as though someone gave the order, and the all hit the ground at once.

Both Padron and rainbow bell peppers are coming along nicely. I plan to spray them with a bit of fish emulsion this week -- and boy do I wish I had carefully marked each plant so I can see which should be fried small and which should be left alone. Perhaps they're marked on the master drawing.

And it's really summer, because the tomatoes are coming in to their own. This is the "step view" of the volunteer out front.

A ripe one peeks out beside the lime tree -- oh, I'd better check that tree too. Ripe limes sort of hide among the foilage, and the tomato is making getting in there a challenge right now.

Here's a good view of the restraints I'm using on the Early Girls, and the stubby paste tomatoes behind them.

Finally, finally, I was moved to do what I've threatened in years past and act like the tomato beds were jungle foliage to hack back with a machete. I have never been able to get myself to do this because it always seemed a sin to waste tomatoes. But the memory of giving away basket after basket of these beauties fortified me. This is the "after" picture, so you'll have to imagine he path full of Sungold foliage and baby green tomatoes.

The reasons I was willing to do this are lurking in the rest of the plants:

Time to cut and turn under the buckwheat cover crop. If this goes well, it's definitely something I'd like to repeat. Easy and abundant, and a good way to improve soil, from what I hear.
Right before I left, the second bush bean sowing went in. Thankfully, they're coming up well, Royal Burgundy close, yellow wax on the other side, and pole beans (using actual poles!) behind. I'm committed to liking beans more this year. Last year's crop wasn't very tasty, or maybe it was just me.

Another thing tried just before I left was walking along a back bed with some dried bracts of kale seeds in my hands, rubbing them over the soil. Apparently it worked. Easiest sowing ever. Time to thresh that bag!

Talk about urban sprawl! This is a view down the cucumber bed -- the tomatillos are flopping into that path too. I had been whining to anyone who would listen about my lack of cucumbers. That might have been a mistake, in hindsight. I'm looking up recipes for "overripe cucumber pickles" now.

Mr. H. recommended these little beauties -- Mexican Sour Gherkins. They needed better staking, I think - the plants are sort of impenetrable. Today I'm going to try a ripe one.

Pattypan squash are romping about -- I've gathered a bunch and now have to figure out how we'll eat them.

The Kabocha are coming along nicely, with leaves the size of umbrellas.

A gone to seed broccoli plant brought the chooks running. They know a good snack when it shows up.
And all over -- really all over -- are these uninvited guests. See it on the middle of this otherwise beautiful sunflower?

Yellow cucumber beetles. I'm going to have to resume my soapy-water patrols. The beans and sunflowers have perforated foliage from them. They're relatively easy to kill once they're found.

And this is what I ended up with -- a box of cucumbers and the final apples off of the Anna, chamomile flowers to dry, a handful of cherry tomatoes and old onions, a bowl of basil, and two plants' worth of red tomatoes. It's so good to be back.


Erin said...

You are a brave soul... I want to make a trip back to Minnesota before school starts up again but am terrified at what the garden will look like when I get back! Although with 4 weeks straight of triple digit temps, the garden may make the decision for me very soon and just keel over! Is it wrong to hope for this? LOL

meemsnyc said...

Wow, your garden is looking so amazing! Nice!

Mr. H. said...

Your garden is looking great and what a grand harvest. I will have to grow those patty pan squashes sometime, I think I grew them once long ago but never have since...not sure why.

I hope you like the little watermelons (gherkins), ours are about 8" tall and starting to climb their support...they need to hurry up already. I really wanted to pickle a bunch this season but have a feeling I do not have enough time for that many to ripen. I am hoping for a few at least, time will tell. By the way, they will store for a very long time if kept at around 50°.

Thanks for the delicious tour.:)

Annie*s Granny said...

Your garden looks so vibrant, alive and healthy! We're expecting to hit triple digits again this week, which tends to make my garden rather sad and droopy looking.

I'm glad you're back. I've been missing you lately.

michelle said...

Wow, your garden has come a long way in such a short time. It seems like just a few weeks ago that you were posting photos of the new beds.

My Padron pepper plants usually grow rather tall and gangly so you might be able to identify the plants that way.

How long did it take the buckwheat to get to "harvestable" size?

Stefaneener said...

Erin, it's not wrong -- it's human nature. If you cut off water it will naturally die.

meemsnyc thank you so much. It's very enjoyable (and I just look away from the weedy edges of the yard).

Mr. H., I'm not a complete convert to the gherkins yet. Maybe piquantly pickled they'd be perfect -- I think they want a lot of heat. The oldest ones are starting to taste a little lemony. Pattypans always seemed a strange shape to me -- the long ones are easier to handle as far as chopping. But these white ones are remarkably tender.

Granny, hello to you too. I've been missing you. I wilt in triple digits -- no reason the garden shouldn't!

Michelle, they are longer. I have to identify them on the drawing and I think I can. It does seem ridiculously fast growth, but I think much of it is the sunflowers. They're so dramatic and so fast. Everything else is just moseying along. The buckwheat didn't take long -- a month? Month and a half? not much. I plan to cut and till it this weekend (although we'll see).

Kristin said...

Yowza! What an awesome sight of your garden from above. You must feel so proud.

patricia said...

A belated welcome back. It must be nice to be home.

I have padrons in my garden too. So if you can find some tiny little difference between the two types of plants, you can compare them to mine to see which they are. The padrons are more cone-shaped than bell-shaped, if that helps. I'm guessing that the one in the photo is a bell. Mine are just starting to get little fruits. Cooked on high heat in a little olive oil, and then tossed with coarse salt--amazingly delicious! Apparently they have padron festivals in northern Spain. Someday I'm going...