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Friday PhotoEssay – August 5, 2016

We have hit our stride with summer produce over the past couple weeks, and unlike some years, there really aren’t many signs of decline around the garden…yet.

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Although, in the interest of full disclosure, we did remove the cucumbers that were in the accessible beds. They were pretty sad at this point. The rest of the garden looks a little bit like a jungle. I find myself dodging plants that are trying to take up space in the aisles when I walk through the garden.

28124954224_1cae23ddaeWe chopped and incorporated the other areas of buckwheat this week. One section was to prevent it from going to seed. The section pictured here we needed to clear so we could plant fall veggies in a couple weeks. A couple of our Master Gardeners brought hedge trimmers to do the chopping step with the buckwheat, then we used spades and garden forks to turn it under.

28742586545_6c006ca279Here’s the post-turning shot, in case you were curious what it looks like. It takes buckwheat only about 2 weeks to decompose sufficiently once incorporated.

28637321782_9f63b3ec8eSome of the purple peppers are beginning to color. This variety turns orange, then darkens to red. I think this in-between stage is a pretty cool look!

28665342471_e36084d472The Chinese Long beans are starting to produce, which is always fun. The challenge with them is that I’m always torn between the desire to leave them on the vine to see how long they get and knowing that for optimal eating quality they should be picked at about 12″ long.

28637346152_814bc77aa9We harvested the bulk of the grapes from our grapevine this week. We have a ‘Himrod’ grape, which is a green-gold, seedless table grape. The skins are a bit tough in some cases, but the flavor is exceptional. They taste nothing like grocery store grapes.

28712555076_0709e60abb_zJust to wrap up for today, another quick look at our Pollinator garden. Since our last look, the passionflower vine has reached the top of it’s trellis. Everything else seems to be doing well, and we have had some caterpillars on things.

Have a great weekend!

 

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!

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 – April 11th

We didn’t have a work day this week, although a few people did come plant a couple things. We were mostly watching things grow!

I guess there’s not much change from last week. There really is a big change, but you can’t see it from this level. Closer look next!

We trimmed up the thyme and planted a new grape vine this week. We are trying out ‘Himrod,’ which I was very impressed with when one of our Master Gardeners brought in a couple bunches of grapes last summer. This is a green/yellow seedless grape. Of course, it probably won’t have much fruit for a couple years.

One of the Master Gardeners also came and planted a rhubarb crown earlier in the week. Last year our rhubarb died after a cold night, so I hope that doesn’t happen again.

The radishes that were just coming up last week have been growing quickly. Most of them have two “true” leaves already, and with this nice warm weather, they are sure to grow faster.

The strawberries are also continuing to put on new leaves. It looks like there may have been a few casualties, but for the most part the plants are looking healthy!

Speaking of the thyme & grape bed from earlier, you can see that we had some real winners and losers coming through the winter. That vigorous green monolith in the middle is the Rose Scented Thyme. Buried under its left edge is the tiny Spicy Orange Thyme. Next to that, on the left edge of the picture is the dead middle of the Variegated Lemon Thyme. On the right of the Rose Scented Thyme is the plain Lemon Thyme, which also had quite a bit of dieback from the middle of the plant.

Have a great weekend!

Friday PhotoEssay – Icy Edition

As you can imagine, I’ve got some lovely, icy pictures for this week, as well as the “aftermath” pictures. I know, I’m trying to make it sound all dark and foreboding. It’s not, really. You don’t have to be afraid to read to the end of the post.

This is the red lettuce that I transplanted last Saturday as part of the Saturday Sampler series. It got a lot darker just over the weekend. (This is a “before” picture.)  I just love the contrast of the white ribs and the red leaves.

I’ve had a couple people ask if the garlic is almost ready to harvest, because it is supposed to brown and dry back as a sign it is ready. This leaf browning is still due to the temperature fluctuations of winter and cold injury, not readiness of harvest.

Iced vegetables! The droplets of ice make these shallots into something of an art project! It is so interesting how you can see the direction the droplets were flowing as they froze.

I think it is really interesting that the ice/rain/whatever you call it didn’t actually manage to coat the pea leaves. The ice is frozen in droplets on the tips of the leaves in some cases, but the plants aren’t completely coated.

The radishes, on the other hand, were completely coated in ice. This radish seedling had about and eighth of an inch of ice on it. Poor thing!

Whoa! Somehow an ice storm built us a grape trellis! Oh, wait…that was one of the Master Gardeners. Oops! Now we have to decide what grape to plant…

Here’s the “after” shot of the radish/parsnip rows. Still no parsnips, but that’s still normal. The radishes look almost as good as new! No damage here!

The edges of some of the lettuce leaves look a little bit nipped from the cold and ice, but overall, things are in good shape!

Have a great weekend!