Slowly but surely…

…we’re finally starting to get a haul of veggies!  The tomatoes are finally ripening, I have two cucumbers on the vine up front, and the rogue pumpkin patch is starting to show off as well.  Work and such has been (and will be) nutty, but we’re hoping to get out and can some of the tomatoes, and start some pre-fall weeding so it won’t be quite so bad in the next few months.  Better late than never!

Trellising Cucumbers

I wasn’t sure how having our cucumber plant in the front flower bed was going to look or if it would even produce.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised, though–while it’s been slow going, the cucumbers look great, and are climbing nicely.  There are loads of flowers, and I’m hoping that in a few weeks we’ll start to see some substantial fruit emerge.

The trickiest part has been helping the vines get started upwards–at first it wanted to head out towards the front of the flower bed, but after encouraging it upwards it did finally start to climb up.  I have high hopes for more pickles this year, so here’s to hoping that they continue to do well!

Cutting Back: Part 3

Shifting gears when you have a well laid plan is something I admittedly struggle with, especially when I really have a vision of what I want.

And I can vividly see our back forty with the perfectly raised beds, beautiful and healthy plants thriving in the soil, no weeds anywhere, and a beautifully rigged water barrel to keep all those healthy plants watered during the dry patches we’re inevitably going to have this summer.

It’s really quite beautiful up in my head.

What I didn’t foresee was that we’d have a monsoon season this spring rendering our tiller (and the neighbor’s best discing efforts) useless.  It’s a giant mud pile that still needs some desperate crab grass control, and it’s leaving us with two options.  1)  Throw caution to the wind and plant, plant, plant which will mean weeds, weeds, weeds galore come June, or 2)  Shift gears.

We’re choosing the latter.  Until we can get back and do the leg work that we really need to, we’re cutting back on the original gardening plan, and focusing on the side kitchen garden and the front flower beds.  The side garden is going to get re-dedicated to tomatoes and salsa making plants, and then we’re going to incorporate beans, cucumbers, and squashes into the front flower beds.  I’m hoping this edible landscaping will allow us to not only create something beautiful, but also still grow enough produce to can, freeze, and preserve.

In a Pickle

When we starting planting things back in March, I said to JGL, “I want to pickle something.  Anything!”  Today after surveying the produce we had on hand, we realized that we had way more cucumbers than we could eat this week.  I knew today would be the day.

Sad thing is, JGL doesn’t like pickles.  Can homemade goodness change his mind?  We shall see.  But in the meantime, I’m excited to have finally pickled!

And We’re Back

JGL, Carson, Lucy and I rolled into town around noon today after spending a week up with my family in New Hampshire.  JGL was a little worried that every single tomato that was on the vine would ripen while we were gone, and he was pleasantly surprised when that was not the case.

However, we are very happy at the bounty of fruits and veggies that we currently have in the house now, just waiting for us to do something with them.  I see a lot of ‘mater and cucumber salads in our future this week.

Coming up soon…jamming for ELF’s Wedding Favors!

State of the Garden

This weekend really only consisted of staking and weeding.  But good golly what a weekend of just those two things can do!

It’s looking good, folks;  I hate to even say it, but the vast majority of the weeds are out, and everything that needs to be staked is up and running.  As we get closer to being out of town, the garden is getting closer to having a neighbor coming in and be able to determine what needs to be picked, and what is ok to stay.

We’re excited, though.  Almost all of the tomato plants have some sort of fruit on them (and those with blossom rot have been picked off), the corn is growing in leaps and bounds, and any of the beans that are left over probably won’t even flower until we get back.

It’s not perfect, by any standards, but I think JGL and I have a whole tickler list of things that we want to note for next year:  what worked well, what didn’t, and things to remember for the next summer.

In the meantime, though, we’re very grateful for what we do have, and for the harvest we’ll have in a few weeks time!

And the culinary holding pattern is over

Today was a great day.  I woke up before the alarm went off, made it downtown to the farmer’s market and coffee with one of my colleagues, picked up clean supplies for under $5, and made it home to get started on housework and gardening all before 9:30 am.

Good day?  GREAT day!

We were so fortunate today to get some additional helping hands in our good friend AG, and we were able to bust out some incredible weeding and staking today.  The majority of the tomato plants in the back forty have multiple tomatoes on them (although I found quite a few with blossom blight–any helpful tips out there for that?), and while weeding out the acorn squash and cucumbers I found several incredibly over ripe cucumbers that have been hiding away from us.  JGL also got a great surprised when we realized that the first batch of October Beans had successfully dried on the vine.

MR joined up later in the afternoon and we had quite the cooking lesson, tackling pork chops with a fresh peach chutney, a heirloom tomato salad, and saffron rice.  I love showing others how to create healthy, delicious meals, and I was thrilled to pieces that MR was willing to (and wanted to) listen to me drone on for forty-five minutes about peach seconds, heirloom tomato flavor and where vinegar comes from.  I think we might even get together again at some point to do more “lessons,” and I hope MR is as excited as I am to do that.

Good friends, good work, and good home grown food–can’t ask for much more than that for the Fourth of July!

The Beans Have Exploded!

After hanging the laundry out to dry this morning I meandered back to the garden to really look and check out and take in all that’s changed this week.  To my surprise, my cucumbers and squash have started to creep and spread, but the most surprising sight of all was seeing our burgundy and october beans standing at almost three inches tall. 

Not bad considering we just planted them last Saturday.

The weather this week has been ideal for growing–hot, sunny days paired with warm, rainy nights.  As I told JGL after dragging him out to the back forty, “It’s amazing what a difference this weather makes!”.

It’s wicked hot outside again today, so we’re taking it easy.  But as we settle in to watch the US Open, we want to make sure to send a big Happy Father’s Day to all the Daddies out there 🙂

And we’re back

I know, I know, it’s been a long hiatus since our last update.  In my defence, I was gone for two weeks, and apparently it rained the good majority of the time I was gone.  But this weekend we tackled the yard with a vengeance, thanks to the added deadline of my folks coming to visit at the end of May (which I’m incredibly excited about!).  There’s still lots to be done today, so I’m making this quick, but here’s the list of things accomplished this weekend:

  • One more truck load of mulch procured and spread on the back gardens and then shared amongst the front gardens.
  • Side “kitchen” garden weeded out, re-edged, and mulched; rogue tomato plants thinned, last of the ‘maters went in there.
  • Blueberry bushes weeded and mulched…we have a few berries poking through!
  • Veggie garden weeded; grass clippings spread on the paths; weed-eated along the edges.
  • Cauliflower, cucumbers, acorn squash, one more row of October beans, four more rows of corn, and three rows of pole beans put in the ground!

In addition to that we’ve decided to move forth with line drying all our stuff (in addition to the added benefit of helping the environment, I’m really hoping this helps my wallet this summer!), and I made the executive decision to start making all the household cleaners.  I know it has nothing to do with gardening, but we’ll let you know how all this goes as well 🙂

The photo album is updated so be sure to check it out, and we’ll update more soon!