19 July 2009

Garden Report July 19

The garden is finally taking off.

We won't get a taste of everything we planted, but we are starting to see progress on a few things and more than enough to feel worth the labour. I'm beginning to feel enthusiastic again.

It has occurred to me several times over the last several years that our house may just not be appropriate for starting seeds -- we keep it cool, and it's shaded on all sides, so neither bright sunlight nor heat are available through the windows in prime starting season. That probably explains why we don't do all that well with starting from seed and my greatest success comes from things I buy or receive as gifts. It's a pity, because I do like the seed ceremony.

None-the-less, perhaps next I'll stick to pre-started plants (or seeds that want to go right into the soil) and see if I have fewer discouraging losses. Or maybe I can buy seed for friends and ask that they give me a baby plantling in return. Sort of a garden swap...

We'll see.

I have to keep reminding myself, though, that the hard work is mostly done, and next year the plants can go into the soil pretty much immediately when it's warm enough. That's a big, but easy to forget factor when pondering my garden that hasn't produced *anything* yet when other people are already "sick of zucchini! (I don't think we'll have any zucchini to be sick of this year, though I started with 12 plants). That's one that really disappoints me because I LOVE zucchini. No water-melon, either, this year, sadly.

I had no idea potatoes had such gorgeous plants -- especially now that they're flowering. I did know that they and tomatoes were originally imported to Europe from the Americas as ornamentals -- but it's only this year that I am seeing that for myself that they are such beautiful plants and truly understanding why they would be ornamentals.

The purple flowers are on the plants that will produce the purple potatoes that Neal shared with us last year. They were amazing - - I had forgotten why I loved potatoes as a kid!

The white flowers will produce, of course, white potatoes. I was so astonished by the flavour of Neal's home grown potatoes that I simply can't wait to try ours!

Jack tried the first green bean from our heroic little green bean plant.

He let me have one taste, but then he gobbled the rest up and apologized that it tasted so good that he just had to finish it! (Like I am going to complain about a boy picking and eating fresh vegetables?!?!?)

Only on looking at the photo did I realize that our solitary survivor seems to be trying to spawn a new bean, so we may get something resembling a "crop" yet.

I am also pondering the possibility of putting seed directly in the ground this week and trying for an autumn crop of beans and peas. I will have to research how that works, though.

Much to my surprise, even though the garden bed squash plants are staying *tiny*, we are starting to see some baby squashes in the garden...maybe. The swellings may turn out to be a false alarm, and even so, I am not sure whether those will be butternuts or acorns. In either case, there are about a half dozen swellings, which makes me happy.

If they are indeed squashes and, as they seem to be, these are the only ones we'll get, I am hoping for butternut. Those were amazing last year!

Then again, although there are no fruits on the potted squashes, they are looking much happier than their garden buddies and they might produce yet. (I'll have Rod go have chat with them -- he's good at convincing them to be fruitful! You should have seen the tomatoes respond today!)

I don't think it's necessarily the garden bed, though; the squashes in the pots were put into sufficiently large pots many weeks before their little friends made it into soil, so the garden bed squashes were cramped and stressed where the potted ones weren't.

The eggplants are also producing lots of lovely purple blooms and I have seen a couple of fruits already. They're odd looking little critters, but I am excited to taste them! I love eggplant and these have an amazing shine and deep rich colour!

I planted two varieties, so autumn should be full of tasty dinners. The two eggplant fruits I have seen so far seem to be the same kind, but there are dozens more flowers and plenty of bees, so I am confident of at least a few making it to the table -- especially now that the remainder have made it from posts to the raised bed Rod built for me.

That entire row of peppers has so far produced one fruit, which seems to met with the approval of...someone. You can see the blemish at the bottom.

I've never grown peppers before, so I have no idea what it means except that obviously someone has helped themselves. I am thinking insects... but I'll have to look up what causes that and see what I can do about it.

It looks like the rest of the fruit is happy and still growing, so we may be able to at least taste the top of it when it's ready. Then again, I still hope for more fruits ... the plants seem content enough and there are plenty of bees at work.

Pepper and egg sandwiches, here we come!

I am happy to report that the cauliflower I saw last week is growing like gangbusters and one of the two plants that hadn't flowered yet now has a little cauli. The fourth one hasn't bloomed yet and I hope it does -- four isn't a lot for the season, but it's the amount of space we could dedicate this year.

We got a couple of them last year -- but we didn't know when they were food, so we lost them. This year, you can be sure that we will be picking them just as soon as they're big enough. They already look yummy.

And finally, our beautiful cabbage! Don't they look like big, beautiful flowers? There are 12 of them, some early some mid-season and some late season, so that we can much all summer. I like cabbage...but I like them even more seeing how beautiful they are as they grow!

(I also see that I need to spend more time weeding...)

Now, typing in hand splints is too much work. I am going to end here before I inadvertently delete the whole thing again and concentrate on shorter posts for a while!


  1. I especially enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing!

    I'd be happy to write down in detail exactly what I do to start seeds each year. I have pretty good success at it, in a house that isn't great for starting seeds. Let me know if that would be useful?

  2. Oh -- I haven't gotten any zucchini yet from my garden either. I got a really late start on it this year. Right now my biggest zucchini is one that just first appeared; it is about the thickness of a pencil and 2-3 inches long.

    I'm curious if the oregano made it.


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