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Friday PhotoEssay – June 10, 2016

With a week of warm temperatures and no rain, everything is growing quickly. The end of the spring crops is almost here and the summer veggies are starting to set fruit!

It’s hard to see from this overview photo, but I know that in a few weeks the tomatoes are going to be most of the way up the trellises and the garden will look completely different yet again. We did remove one of the quilt block lettuce gardens, since the lettuce was bolting. The other is holding on for a little longer.

The ‘Rainbow Treasure’ strawberry on top of the pallet is blooming a bit and fruiting. The plant is still very small, but the colors are great.

Let’s just say that watering the pallet garden is every bit as challenging as I expected it would be. We have the PVC tubes, but they don’t get the edges watered. We ended up putting the watering wand on the upper corner at a slow trickle to soak in. Still not ideal.

I keep trying and trying to capture a picture of the ‘Black Beauty’ tomato plant, because the stems have a purple cast to them that is striking and in contrast to the other plants. But with the sunlight, I can’t get it to show up the same way in a picture. You’ll have to come see it! As you can see, this plant (and most of the other tomatoes) are starting to bloom and set fruit.

Our ‘Himrod’ grapevine is starting to fill out the fruit. It has quite few bunches this year, despite the vines not being overly large last year. Hopefully we don’t have any major insect or disease issues before harvest.

This is the ‘Patio Plum’ toamto plant. It is maybe 8 inches tall, but showing tiny flowers. I keep wanting to think there is something wrong with it, but it seems perfectly healthy. Just super tiny!

Have a great weekend!

2016 Garden Plans: Bed 4 – Oriental Garden

In 2010, we did an Asian garden and in 2013 we did an Indian (Asia) garden. This year we wanted to reprise the theme while focusing on specifically southeast Asian / Chinese / Japanese vegetables.

24878251276_fde2893c4dAs you can see, we have yet another garden with lots of different varieties and lots of complexity going on. Many oriental vegetables are cool season, which means they are either planted in the spring or fall (or both), which allows us to try many more varieties in one growing season.

1-5. We have a selection of herbs common in Asian cooking. FYI – Flowering Chinese Leek is just another name for Garlic Chives!

6. ‘Ladyfinger’ Okra is supposed to be smooth and tender even at larger sizes.

7. ‘Round Purple’ Eggplant is just that – a round, purple variety.

8. ‘Choryoku’ Eggplant is a long, narrow green variety.

9. ‘Fushimi’ pepper is a thin-skinned sweet Japanese pepper.

10. Winged bean is a variety that produces pea-like pods but with winged edges. It’s hard to describe, so you’ll just have to wait and see it!

11. ‘Tokita Scarlet’ Carrot is a red carrot variety.

12. ‘Hybrid Fuji’ kohrabi is a large, green variety.

13. ‘Hakurei’ Turnip is a white, salad-type turnip that is good for eating raw.

14. ‘Summer Top’ Cucumber is a burpless, oriental variety that produced 9-10″ long cucumbers and has good disease resistance.

15. ‘Purple Red Mart’ Long Bean is a long bean that will grow on a trellis and produce 15-18″ beans that are purple in color. We were especially interested in this variety because they are supposed to turn black when cooked. Yum!

16-18. Mizuna and Mustards – the mizuna is purple-veined to purple leaved (not pure seed lot) and the mustards are very finely frilled varieties that are a bit spicy and good for salads.

19. ‘Dok Hybrid’ Luffa is a luffa gourd that can also be eaten like a zucchini at the immature stage.

20. ‘Hybrid Golden Honey’ Melon is a yellow-skinned melon with floral white flesh.

21. ‘Green Lance’ Chinese Broccoli is not a head forming type of broccoli, but rather one that has lots of smaller shoots.

While it may seem like there are some strange things in this garden, many of them are similar to other plants we have grown in the past, so I’m pretty confident in their productivity. I will be honest that I’m already plotting what recipes I can try with all these vegetables though!

 

Friday PhotoEssay – October 30, 2015

The garden is almost ready to for the winter. We removed the remaining sad tomato plants and the squash and trellises this week. The only “warm season” things left are the pole beans, the flowering sages, and the annual flowers.

We don’t have a lot of cool season plants either. Just the lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and a few herbs and strawberries. You might notice that we left the straw after removing the plants. I feel like we are constantly trying to balance protecting the soil by leaving the straw on over the winter with reducing insect pressure by removing a place that insects could overwinter (in the straw).

We harvested the remaining squashes as we took down the trellises, but most of them weren’t mature yet. Squash is technically edible at almost any stage, but a winter/hard squash that is not fully hard yet will likely not have very sweet or good flavor. They were still cool looking though!

 

Since we talked about ripening green tomatoes last week, I thought I’d show you a couple before and after pictures. My office gets pretty warm, hence the quick ripening. Again, if they were in a cooler spot, they wouldn’t have ripened so quickly.

 Even the really green tomatoes in this batch have mostly ripened! There are still a few holdouts, so the question is if they were truly mature and will ripen eventually or if they weren’t completely mature and thus will not ripen at all.

The pole beans are still doing well. The green ones have slowed down some, but the purples are still producing like crazy. The purple variety is ‘Carminat’ and it is probably one of the sweetest snap beans I’ve ever eaten raw. Different bean varieties really do have slightly different flavors, and this particular variety is very sweet. Some varieties are nutty without having any sweetness and other just taste green/like grass.

The most photogenic thing left in the garden is clearly the Pineapple Sage (red) and the Mexican Blue Sage (purple). They have pretty much taken over their bed and with the tomatoes gone can really show off now!

Have a great weekend!

Friday PhotoEssay: Year in Review

I’ve been meaning to do the Year in Review post for the Friday PhotoEssay “whole garden” pictures for a couple weeks now. I guess it is good that I waited until now to get a true “after” shot from the cold.

March 10th after a snow!

April 3rd

April 11th

April 25th

May 2nd

May 9th

May 16th

May 23rd

May 30th

June 6th

June 13th

June 20th

June 27th

July 7th

July 11th

July 18th – I think this was pretty much the peak of the garden for the summer, don’t you? Maybe one of the two previous weeks, but this was a pretty green week.

July 24th

August 1st

August 8th

August 15th

August 22nd

August 28th – You can tell things are on the downhill slide now!

September 15th

September 19th

September 26th

October 3rd

October 17th

October 31st – The end of “summer” for the year.

November 21st – Almost put to bed for the winter!

Friday PhotoEssay – July 25th

Tomato Day is tomorrow! I hope you are planning to attend and enjoy the hot summer weather along with a whole bunch of your closest gardening buddies. In case you missed seeing the flyer, go here.

Here’s a look at the garden this week. You can see the pumpkin on the right side is starting to look a little wilty…I guess the squash vine borers are going to do it in after all. Bah. I hope we will get a couple of ripe pumpkins first!

There is just a tinge of orange starting on some of the pumpkins… But they have quite a ways to go yet. I’m really hoping for some fresh pumpkin!

In case you’ve never seen it, this is what cilantro looks like when you let it go to seed. The seeds, which look to be almost dry, are what we call coriander. You can grind the seeds into the spice OR you could let the seeds drop in place and have a fall planting of cilantro come up. That’s what we’re planning to do.

I just noticed that our new grape vine has one small cluster of grapes on it. Even though we really shouldn’t let it go, at this point I’m inclined to let it be, since the plant has been doing so well and the cluster is pretty small.

The quinoa is starting to show a little color in the seed heads, but it is also starting to show some Swiss Cheesey-ness in the leaves. On close inspection, there appear to be some little larval guys munching on the leaves. They don’t look quite like caterpillars, but maybe either beetle larvae or sawfly larvae? I’m not sure. Perhaps after Tomato Day I’ll take a closer look. In the meantime, it really isn’t a big deal since the seed heads are already forming.

I was hoping to update more on the Curry Leaf this summer, but it really hasn’t done much. It has grown, but it isn’t a huge plant yet, probably because it’s been so cool. The most interesting thing about it is that the cowpeas keep trying to swarm it under with all their tendrils. I think we should have put the cowpeas on a trellis!

Have a great weekend!