Friday PhotoEssay – September 23, 2016
It’s been a few weeks since the last Friday PhotoEssay, and the garden has definitely changed.
I think the biggest change is simply the fact that while it is still a jungle out there, many of the tomatoes and vines are much more brown than green. The peppers are even starting to show some wear and tear. I think the only thing that is still unabashedly green is the luffa gourd vine…which has still not started blooming!
On the other hand, we planted the Passionflower vine for the flowers and caterpillars, but we do have some fruit set. I don’t know if it will ripen before it gets cold, but it’s still pretty neat to have fruit.
There was a point where I think we all felt like the Ginger bed wasn’t going to amount to much, but the plants have really done well! Clockwise from the left-most plant: Greater Galangal, Turmeric, Ginger, Cardamom. We are going to try digging the plants, potting them up, and keeping them for next year.
While the Black Scorzonera doesn’t look like much from the top, I’m actually very pleased with how the plants are doing. What remains to be seen is what the roots look like, but it typically isn’t harvested until after a couple frosts, so we have some time yet.
The flowering purple carrot / false Ammi from the Purple Garden has really started looking good. It took all season, but it has some nice flowers on it now. Because it’s technically a carrot that bolts easily, if we pulled it the roots should look like a poor quality purple carrot.
Our pollinator / herb garden is looking really good right now, although the milkweeds are getting a bit gangly. The zinnias in particular are very attractive. Now all we need is for the sages to be in full bloom!
Have a great weekend!
2015 Garden Plans: Strawberries
We had so much trouble getting the strawberries established last year that we are giving them another chance! The plants that finally started to thrive are going to stay, even though they are kind of a mixture of different types. We did order some ‘Mara des Bois’ strawberries to fill in the area that had peanuts last year.
For a refresher on the plans last year: 2014 Garden Plans.
Friday PhotoEssay – September 26th
It is fall, yet it still seems a little bit summery around here. I looked at the long range forecast (45 days), just out of curiosity. Because the forecast is so accurate for 3 days out, that clearly 45 days is worth my time. Anyway, it looks like we could have a pretty long, mild fall if the forecast is some semblance of accurate. The first day that the forecast currently puts us below freezing is Nov. 8th. So if you haven’t planted something for fall, you should! At least lettuce or spinach!
Not a lot of change from last week, I don’t think. Maybe the tomatoes are looking a little bit sadder.
I think it is safe to say that the Indian vegetables, especially the gourds, are rather fond of Kansas summers. They have completely covered the trellises, and are now taking over the cowpeas on this side and the peppers on the other, as well as part of the walkways. I think we’ll have plenty of material for the compost bins when the time comes!
This is the current state of the Cicoria ‘Orchidea Rossa’ that we transplanted out in early August. (Translation: ‘Orchid Red’ Radicchio) It is actually starting to head up a little bit in the center, but there is nary a red leaf to be found. You can see just a hint in the veins occasionally, but we need some colder weather to get good color!
Hmm…I have a suspicion that some of our quinoa dropped some seeds before we harvested… I guess we can just eat the greens for salad this fall!
We planted this Brazelberry ‘Raspberry Shortcake’ plant (it’s a shrubby raspberry) in the accessible raised bed this week. I don’t know if we planted it soon enough to survive the winter, but if it makes it, it will be interesting to watch next summer.
I haven’t posted all that many pictures of the flowers this year, but these ‘Bronzeleaf Rose’ begonias have been stupendous.
Have a great weekend!
Friday PhotoEssay & Harvesting Quinoa
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for fall! I was so ready that I took the loppers to all the tomato plants in my home garden last weekend. Most of them are still growing here in the Demo Garden though.
The sun angle makes everything a little tricky this morning, but you can probably see that the quinoa is gone and that some of our fall seedlings are showing up better.
The quinoa never got quite as colorful as we hoped it would, possibly because of the storm that knocked a lot of it over. In this bundle you can see a few nicely colored heads. Since the stems were brown, we cut the heads a few inches below the seeds, and they were hung to dry for a week or so in our shed. They are supposed to be dry and crumbly when they are ready to clean.
We ended up hanging the bundles off the top railing of the stairs, so they wouldn’t accidentally get hit while getting things out of the shed. Our shed is unheated and unairconditioned, but fairly dry, so it is usually a good place to hang things like this.
Even though our ‘Himrod’ grape vine is brand new this year, we still have a couple small clusters of grapes on it. Yes, we probably should have cut them off, but they were so small that it didn’t seem worth it.
The kohlrabi that we planted is just barely starting to form the bulb at the base, if you look really closely. I suppose if you’ve never seen kohlrabi grow before, that might be tricky. You’ll have to stay tuned as it gets bigger!
Hurray for salad mix! Most of the seeds we planted a couple weeks ago are up and growing. We should have lots of greens and radishes in a few more weeks.
Have a great weekend!
Friday PhotoEssay – August 8th
It rained again! Quite a bit actually. The rain gauge in the garden only measured about 2″, but I hadn’t realized that the Cuban Oregano had kind of grown over it. So…we’re just guessing. Then again, we’re not that far from the airport that recorded less than an inch. My neighbor recorded 3.5 inches. (My rain gauge at home is laying on its side…not very effective for measuring the rain.)
Here’s the whole garden picture from this morning. I feel like we are in a “maximum garden growth” stage with not much visible change at this point. Well…until you get closer, that is.
There are a couple small berries on the ‘Ozark Beauty’ plants. They both had a couple of small bug bites, so I picked them off and sampled the other side of the fruit. My opinion? They were soft, which is understandable given the rain, but still too soft. It is usually considered “okay” for a fruit grown in a home garden to be softer, but I think these would have been mush by the time you picked a bowl full and took them inside. Assuming you could get a bowl full. They are small, which is also annoying. What would make up for these factors? Great flavor. Well…in this case the flavor was okay, but mostly just sweet with no depth. Again, partially explained by the rain, but still… This is a variety that you can find at lots of box stores in the spring and is touted as one of the best “everbearing” strawberries for home gardeners.
Okay, because I can, I’m going to compare these to another variety (not in the Demo Garden) just to show the difference.
These strawberries are a variety called ‘Albion,’ which is one of the day neutrals we considered planting in this garden. Instead we chose ‘San Andreas’ which was supposed to be better than this variety. Unfortunately, it didn’t make it, we suspect due to residual herbicide issues. I have been getting a solid handful of berries from my plants (and a friend with the same plants has too). The berries are consistently medium to large sized, firm but not too firm, and have GREAT flavor. This is a variety that is a commercial variety for market growers. Maybe I’m missing something, but why wouldn’t this variety be better in your home garden too? Why as a home gardener should you be given the “best” choice of something that is clearly sub-par rather than a great variety like this one?
Okay, end of mini-rant.
This is yet another case in point of why it is a good idea to pick your heirloom tomatoes early, when they just start to turn, rather than wait until they are fully ripe. This horrendous crack is due entirely to the rain we got.
Do you see it? Do you see the tinge of pink showing up on this head of quinoa? Am I way to excited/anxious about this quinoa getting to the colorful stage? Yes, probably just a bit. If you think I may be more excited about the colors than actually harvesting the quinoa, you may be right.
We have some radish seedlings! These are the Watermelon Radishes which seem to get planted at least every other year in the garden. These are in the MG Faves garden, so we will be looking for some colorful radishes later this fall.
Have a great weekend!