Monday, June 30, 2008

Garden - end of June

The garden is flourishing. My garden. Flourishing! I can hardly believe it - me, who has never (successfully) grown much of anything, growing an entire garden. I revel in it! I'm not sure who is more excited about it, Tessa or myself, as my delight has the same childish qualities.

Unlike Tessa, who was playing around and then went to bed, I've spent the last two hours in the cooler evening air gardening. I've been pulling weeds, and I even wrestled a six foot long two inch thick poplar root out of the flower bed (the little poplar trees sprout up everywhere and it is so annoying). There was significant grunting and groaning while I did it, but I didn't give up, and I won the battle with that root. (Never mind that there are many many more.)

The weeds pulled, I can revel in the vegetables and flowers.

The cabbages have developed giant heads - each plant is perhaps 18 inches across with a big head in the middle. The onions feel firm when I give them a gentle tug; their greens are strong and something "big" must be going on under the soil, as they were rather delicate when planted. There are two rows of carrots, with fringy tops about 4 inches high. The pea vines have gone insane, and are in flower with pods appearing all over. The chard is tall and ready for harvest, and no matter how much lettuce we harvest it keeps regenerating and we have salads as often as we wish. (Those are from starts. My lettuce seeds are pitiful at best, tiny to miniscule. What's with that? I thought lettuce was "easy"!) There are two beets, not a whole row, but they look like they're developing well. The spinach is small but finally growing with the extra watering. And the tomatoes are as fragrant as any flower, even though they don't have fruit yet. The tomato plants are much larger than I anticipated, and quite obviously rather happy, and little yellow flowers are appearing here and there. And the strawberries - BLISS! A dozen or so a day, and we eat them straight from the vine, popping them into our mouths. The squash is growing in a couple of different places, and tonight I planted a pumpkin and an acorn squash, because I was tired of my seeds doing nothing.

The garlic looks great, and with our new heat wave (finally!) the basil is perking up significantly. One little patch of parsley has sprouted and looks promising, and some of the cosmos and other flowers are coming up, too. I can't remember what I planted where, so surprises await.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but I worked until it was dark tonight and didn't have the camera in time. I'll get pictures eventually.

I started clearing out the back raised bed of weeds, and I'm wondering if it's too late to plant potatoes....I could still do that.

The herbs are flourishing, except that the cilantro bolted. Do I cut that back and let it go again? Or do I have to start fresh? Today I planted more mint because Tessa likes to munch on it (silly girl) and the one little plant had become decimated - I put it in a pot because I didnt' want it to take over. I didn't have time to shop much so I chose an apple mint and a pineapple mint, but I think I want another "regular" mint and a chocolate mint.

We're giving away the radishes, because they are so plentiful and HUGE! They literally look like beets (they're a "purple plum radish" which is an heirloom variety). They have more than paid for themselves: $2.50 for a packet of seeds, and they keep coming and coming. I planted them in a couple of waves so I think we'll be eating radishes all summer. Anyway, we've been sharing with people because it's fun to do so. Today Tessa's friend Derek was over and we let him pull a couple, and it was so fun to see him light up at the process. I'm not usually a huge fan of radishes, but these are different. When you first bite into them they're sweet, and then the mellow sweetness gets spicy after a moment. Yum - in a salad (and our salad greens are more sweet than bitter) they're an excellent complement.

I'm a gardener. Wow! I can almost hardly wait 'til next year because I've learned so much this year that I can't wait to apply. But no, I don't want to hurry - I'm excited with every small harvest.

And on that note, the laundry that I put off today beckons, and i can't bear to leave it another day, mocking me. So I'm off to do that, then to bed. Good night.


Anonymous said...

Might be too late for potatoes; it is here in the upper Midwest, but maybe okay in Washington with your longer growing season. Watch for slugs on the cabbage. There are some good natural products for slug control. Try using radishes in place of celery in summer recipes. For example, they add a nice crunch in potato salad.

I can't believe how many tomatoes you planted. Get a plan! Dry, freeze, or can?

Kristina said...

I might try the potatoes anyway - I have some that I have let grow and they're ready for planting. If they don't grow, it's no loss to me...though I do realize I should have done it sooner.

The slugs are actually staying pretty at bay! I have coffee grounds all around the garden and it appears to be working. Occassionally I find one (or a snail) but not too often.

Potato salad with radish sounds good - great idea.

Tomatoes - I'm hoping that you're right and I have an overabundance. I would like to can them, and to borrow a dehydrator to do some that way, too. My church has a program to collect garden-harvests and share them with the food bank, so I will NOT let any go to waste and I'll donate what I can't use. Plus, friends are clamoring for them.

And I love tomatoes. Garden fresh sun warmed ones in particular. I planted red, yellow, striped green, purple, and black varieties in a number of sizes....I can't wait!