Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Garden and Cottage Notes: July 2013, Week Three

One of my favorite things to do is get outside and hand-water my garden with the garden hose. We've had a good balance of rain this summer so far that I haven't had to do it every day and that keeps things enjoyable. I know that drip irrigation is really the better way to go, but my garden is really pretty small and it doesn't take much to give the boxes a good soaking. I love, love, love watering the tomatoes. Their aroma hits me every time and it's a quintessential smell of summer to me.

We are really experiencing the "dog days" of summer here this week. It's the warmest week so far this year. I've been hanging out inside for most of the day and expect I'll do much of the same until Friday when a cool front is predicted to move in. So far, the garden doesn't seem to mind. We're definitely a couple of weeks behind schedule as far as growing goes, due to the cool, wet spring, but it hasn't proved to be much of a problem so far. I'm just hoping I'll still get a lot of tomatoes before first frost.

In the meantime, the lettuce has treated us mighty well the past 6 weeks or so (it and the arugula - "rocket" to my friends in the U.K.) is starting to bolt and I hope to collect seeds for next year) and now the kale and Swiss chard is reaching a nice size for harvesting. I also pulled one of our first kohlrabi plants last night for a stir fry. I use the greens too. We haven't had kohlrabi since last summer! It was a nice addition.



You can see the small bunch of strawberries I gleaned from our new plants. I expect they'll completely take over the box they're in in the next two years. I'm quite pleased with the small amount they've given us already, and although they were sour at first, they have a real nice flavor now.

I don't have any pictures this week of the tomatoes, but it is fun to see now, the larger varieties distinguishing themselves from the smaller, grape tomatoes that I've planted. Though still small and green, my longtime favorite Brandywines are beginning to take on their lumpier, more disk-like shape compared to the rounder varieties.

Below, is the lone Blue Lake string bean I've picked so far from that plant. It is waiting in the refrigerator for its little bean-sibs to catch up. I expect to pick more in just a couple of days.


Here is the back side of one of my pyramid trellises. On the left are some Sugar pumpkin vines and on the right are Butternut squash. I'm training them upward. It's the first year I've tried this with any hard-shell squash variety. I wonder if they'll be too heavy, but I expect they'll be okay. The sugar pumpkins shouldn't get too big.
 

And finally, here is my little yellow squash survivor. I went to yank out my radishes that had grown taller than I had ever seen radishes get without giving me a single radish worth eating. The first plant I pulled, unfortunately was actually this poor, little squash. I shoved it back in the ground as soon as I could, expecting it to die, but I figured I'd give it a try. So far, it looks hardly phased and even has continued to bloom! Marvelous!


Well, that's it from the garden this week. I hope that if you're in the midst of growing season that you are finding it to be a fruitful year as well. Hopefully I'll have more harvest pictures to show next week; the eating is getting good around here!
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