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Friday PhotoEssay

Due to the herbicide issues we discussed last Friday, there isn’t a whole lot new to show. I did find a few interesting things around the garden though.

This eggplant is in a container, and it has been growing well and put on its first bloom.

This Litchi Tomato has been growing well. From this angle, you can see the beginnings of the nice prickles on the stems. They will only get bigger!

The tomatillos are showing a little damage from the herbicide, but the plants overall are still getting bigger and looking good. It would be fun to have a good crop of tomatillos this year.

The Red Aztec Spinach (Huauzontle) is also looking pretty good. It has suffered a little insect feeding damage, but not too much. Contrary to what you might think on first glance, it is NOT Lambsquarter. A cousin, yes. The actual weed, no.

The squash in the Family of 4 garden are looking really good, although the beans that you can just barely see on the right are still struggling. I think we’re all crossing our fingers and hoping that the squash vine borers won’t find us this year, since we have so much squash planted.

Our hanging basket tomatoes have some fruit set. Since two of the three varieties are ‘Red Rambling Stripe’ and ‘Gold Rambling Stripe,’ they are showing a really nice green-on-green stripe right now. I know…I should go out and get a picture, but I’ve got a lot of other things to get done this morning. I promise I’ll share one sometime next week!

Have a great weekend!

Garden Plans for 2012: Mexican Garden

Another one of our theme gardens this year is the Mexican Garden. This garden is going to be a fun mix of more commonly recognized vegetables with some uncommon vegetables!

We relied heavily on Rosalind Creasy’s book, The Edible Mexican Garden, for inspiration in planning our Mexican Garden.

Starting from the left side, we of course had to put in several peppers. Since we had so many peppers last year, we didn’t want to go crazy. Still, we have 6 peppers, ranging from serrano to bell peppers. Then we have a few rows of a black bean that can be used as either a dry bean or a fresh shelling bean. With the amount of space allotted, we know that we won’t get tons of beans, but it should be enough to have fun growing them.

Of course, the herb most people associate with Mexican cooking is cilantro, because it is in salsa. Unfortunately, cilantro doesn’t like the heat here very much in the summer, so we are also growing culantro. Culantro is an herb that has a similar flavor to cilantro but much better heat tolerance. We’ll also have a Mexican Oregano plant.

Cantaloupe are also a native Mexican vegetable/fruit! We are reprising the ‘Tasty Bites’ melon from last year on a trellis, as well as giving a shot at growing jicama. Jicama is a tuber vegetable, but the plant is a huge vine. It needs a long growing season, so it will be fun to see if we get anything from it.

You might have noticed that we skipped the tomatoes in the Mexican Garden, in favor of 4 tomatillo plants. Supposedly tomatillos produce better if they have another tomatillo as a pollinator, so we decided to try a purple tomatillo (2 plants) and an large green tomatillo (2 plants).

The two zucchinis are a paler grey color, rather than a typical green or yellow on a summer squash. The ‘Ronde de Nice’ is actually a round zucchini.

All the way on the right side of the map, we have 2 plants of ‘Aztec Red’ Spinach. Don’t let the name fool you – this is not a spinach in the sense we normally use it. It is a native Mexican green called Huauzontle (or Huauzontli). It is in the same family as Lambs’ Quarter, a common weed, which is also edible. The young, tender leaves of the huauzontle are eaten, as well as the immature flower buds. This will be a fun one to experiment with on some recipes this summer!