Friday, July 6, 2012

Summer Garden

Early summer harvest: onion, potatoes, and tomatoes

Last year, right around the time that Abram was born, the weeds in my garden went into hyperdrive, growing so fast you could almost watch it.  Being rather busy at the time, I mostly closed my eyes and looked away.  (Other than dragging various family members out to hoe for me....)  This year most of the plants going into hyperdrive are producing food, so I don't mind so much.  Of course, the weeds are going crazy, too, but they don't have quite as much open territory to work with this year!  The picture above shows some of the early fruits of my labor: some potatoes I dug up to try, the first onion, two tomatoes I picked a little early in case they split with the rain, and one green one that I broke off by accident.

 The pepper plants are doing really well, too, with big, plump peppers hanging from all of them.  Well, all of the first-planted round (to the left of the milk jugs in the photo below).  The ones from the second round of planting (to the right of the milk jugs) are still not very happy campers.  They're greening up a bit, and some are finally starting to bloom.  Overall I think that the opportunity to turn this ground after pulling out the pak choi and spinach was NOT worth the delay planting the peppers.  The peppers on the left were interplanted between the romaine and spinach as babies; I think I'll do more interplanting next year.  What do you think?

Early- and late-planted pepper beds

Eggplant blossoms
The eggplants are just beginning to bloom.  The flea beetles are still chewing them up, which I thought they wouldn't do once the plants reached a decent size, and last week I found a potato beetle on one of them.  N is not a big fan of eggplant, and I did plant 5 plants, so maybe it's just as well if they aren't too productive.  However, the plants are still growing and trying to bloom.  Aren't the blossoms gorgeous?
Potato "patch", almost ready for harvest
 My potato patch is getting close to harvest ready.  Several of the other gardeners have already dug their potatoes, but I'm waiting until the vines are done, since I'm not really ready to start planting fall lettuce yet anyway.  The ones in the foreground of the picture are the Yukon Gold that N wanted to plant - they're really almost ready and I've already dug some of the them.  Then in the background, kind of all over the place, are the german butterballs.  They won't be ready for at least a couple more weeks.

Marigolds taking over my onion patch
 I've been really surprised by how happy my marigolds are.  They are growing almost as fast as the weeds.  (But at a significant advantage since I don't rip off their tops periodically.)  I ended up scattering them here and there throughout the garden, wherever there was an empty spot I could take advantage of.  In some places they've become almost a nuisance - for example here they cast a lot of shade on the onion plant behind them and the bulb is noticeably smaller than the others.  But they are supposed to be helpful for keeping away pests, and how could I get mad at them, anyway?  They're so cheerful and happy! 

You can see in the picture some of the onion tops fell over during the crazy-fast storm system last week.  I've been watching for the tops to fall over so I know when they're "done", but I don't think this counts since the leaves are still green.  At this point I'm picking them as they're needed.

I'm definitely much happier to have the food and flowers than the weeds.

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