Monday, July 19, 2010

The weedy and the wonderful

Weeds don't need planting in well-drained soil; they don't ask for
fertilizer or bits of rag to scare away the birds. They come without
invitation; and they don't take the hint when you want them to go.
Weeds are nobody's guests: More like squatters.
- Norman Nicholson.

Anyone who has a garden knows all too well that plucking weeds from it are a never ending chore....Thus, the saying "growing like a weed" : ) Many people think I'm crazy, but for the most part I really don't mind weeding. I use this time to meditate, de-stress and even exercise. No, I'm not out in the corn patch doing sit ups or jumping jacks. Rather, I am hacking down weeds with my trusty hoe or digging them out with my pitchfork...Now to most non gardeners, gardening may not seem like much of a workout but you really use a lot of muscles you never knew you had... Just think of all the crouching down and constant bending you have to do....I call them garden crunches Lol! I think a certain someone ( Our Engineered Garden ) should create a hoe that calculates calories burned while working in the garden. : )

The corn rows desperately needed weeding so I took a couple hours on Sunday and worked on it. It's always a good feeling when the garden is nice and weed-free. It's like the feeling you get right after you cut the lawn ....or maybe that's just me...... : )

I hadn't looked at the garden up close for several days so I was surprised when I discovered baby zucchini and cukes finally coming on.

We have harvested several Totem Patio tomatoes this season but I'm rather disappointed in the flavor. They are far less sweet than other varieties we grow. We only have two plants so it's not a big deal.

The final surprise has nothing to do with the garden : ) Grandson Silas was born on July 17th at 10:53 pm....we think he is absolutely wonderful! And personally, I think he will make a great gardening buddy some day. : )








Thursday, July 15, 2010

Harvest time!

Last weekend we finished harvesting the rest of the broccoli. I'm happy to say we had a very successful crop this year...I didn't find one worm in the entire crop and very few aphids which is unusual (I don't use pesticides) and the size of the heads were larger than usual. Needless to say, it was in huge demand at the farmer's market. We happily sold out each day after just a couple of hours. After the harvest was done, we got busy planting our fall crop. We didn't do this last year but I really want to start to experiment more with growing all year round. These particular raised beds are equipped with hoop covers just in case we get an early fall freeze. I decided to wait on harvesting the Romanesco....it doesn't appear to be ready and some of it sort of bolted. This is my first time growing it so I could be wrong...anyone out there know about this?


The tomatoes are also starting to ripen. Our cold and wet June weather kind of slowed things down for many crops but we have harvested 4 tomatoes so far and several are turning orange.


So far, the only peppers showing real progress are the Karma variety....I guess they bring good Karma to the garden lol! I have some bell peppers that may catch up to them if the weather stays nice and warm.


The mammoth dill is growing like crazy. I lost a bunch of dill plants last year due to an insect problem but so far so good this year. In fact, I have so many volunteer dill plants I am struggling to find space for all of them. We make a lot of pickles so it's a good problem to have I guess : )

The strawberries are also enjoying the sunny weather....we have both Everbearing and June bearing varieties growing in the raised bed. We have recently had some problems with sugar ants getting in to them and I would welcome any natural solutions to getting rid of them.

All in all, I can't complain....we have had a pretty good July harvest and we still have a couple months of summer to go : ) I can't wait for the corn harvest!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Anticipation!

The anticipation of waiting for the garden to get growing is killing me....I admit that I have not been a patient gardener this season...the cool temps and the constant rain has surely slowed down production....but a few plants are making a marked improvement since last week....especially the cauliflower.

We planted two different varieties of cauliflower this year. One is called Amazing and I have had great luck with it in the past. The other is called Buttercream. Although a slow start, they now both appear to be doing quite well and starting to form heads. Last year we blanched and froze a bunch of it and it was soooo nice to have in stir fry, soups and stews during the cold winter months.

The broccoli heads were all harvested from the family garden last week (luckily before they set flowers)....now we have some flowerets shooting up and after those are done then we will start planting a fall crop of broccoli. I have had wonderful results with a variety called Pac Man although this year we added the DeCicco variety as well. The Pac Man definitely won out on the nice compact heads but both are great in flavor.
The zucchini are now beginning to flower and the cabbage should be ready soon. We planted both green and red cabbage called Salad Delight...I'm looking forward to making coleslaw!

The Walla Walla Sweet Onions are tempting me to pluck one....they look so good : ) In my home garden I also have Texas Candy Sweet reds and yellows growing. Last year they grew the size of saucers....and they were most excellent in flavor.

In other gardening news, many of my flowers are in full bloom...one of my favorites is Clematis....I have several varieties....but probably couldn't tell you what they are Lol! I am much more of a vegetable grower than a flower gardener....nevertheless, I love the bright colors. I'm just so excited that summer is finally here in North Idaho....today we reached 95F...The plants are loving it....and I am too! YAY for summer!






Friday, July 2, 2010

Knee highs and other garden news

Many gardeners that live in our region know this old saying all too well: "knee high by the 4th of July." For those that don't know however, this is the height that your corn plants should be at in order to mature by the end of our short growing season... I think we made it thanks to sis-in-law, Melanie who doused our plants with fish fertilizer a couple weeks ago. I have said it before but I blame June's cool temps for slowing down our plant growth in the garden....The weather forecast says it's supposed to be like summer now... yay!

The strawberries are slowly starting to ripen....the trick is keeping the sugar ants and the crows away from them....If anyone has some tips on keeping the sugar ants away (no pesticides), I would love to hear from you. Last year they got into some of our potatoes too... : (

The Hill Country Red Okra and the Tango celery are looking to be a success...






Potatoes are going wild and the tomatoes are starting to take off now too....we are installing 7 foot posts with heavy gauge electric fence wire to hold them up this year....last year it was quite a jungle in the tomato patch....which makes harvesting a bit difficult.

The zucchini are coming right along as well...the cold didn't seem to slow them down too much.....

Happy gardening and happy 4th of July everyone!!!