Monday, July 14, 2014

July Garden Updates

I actually have June pictures also, but I am pretty sure I missed the boat on writing about June, so here it is July. This year I am keeping track of how much edibles are being produced. Each time I come in with a harvest I set it on the scale and weigh what I brought in. By the end of June I had harvested over 20 pounds of delicious strawberries from those six plants I put in the Fall of 2012, so this is only their second growing year in my yard. Here is a photo of the size of the patch now:

All told, the patch is approximately 8 feet long and five feet wide and the patch produced 20 pounds of these beauties:

While they are not as sweet as their tiny, wild cousins, these are so much sweeter than the supermarket ones, with no tasteless "core" because they ripen on the plant fully before picking.

My potato in a hamper experiment seems to be going well. I did try to fish out some potatoes, but only managed to find one small one, so I am leaving it be until I can properly harvest them, which should be fairly soon.

Just when I was about to give it up for lost, the potatoes popped through at the end of May. I could not contain my joy. :)
By the end of June I had already hilled them twice and they were starting to peek over the top
This is what my plants look like today (14 July 2014)
 I should have hilled them one last time before they bloomed, but that will be a lesson to put to work next season as these have blossomed and the blossoms have fallen off already. At the bottom you can see some of the foliage growing out the sides. Hmmm.. that gives me some ideas.

I got this hamper on sale at Family Dollar for six bucks I think. I am optimistic that we will have at least a couple meals of potatoes from my garden this year, and if so, I will be planting more next Spring.

As for the rest.. everything is growing as fast as the weeds. My trial planting Mexican Sour Gherkins, aka mouse melon cucamelonMexican miniature watermelon and Mexican sour cucumber has been going well. They do take over a spot! So far the fruits are minuscule, but I did try one and it was packed with a lovely flavor, far more than the small size would suggest. My lettuce bolted before forming heads, as usual, but I tried cooking it and the stems and found that it is quite tasty. More on that as I experiment. Here is the view of the rest of my garden, including the raspberries that are producing this year! I have already planned for the expansion as they are spreading rapidly, with or without my permission.

This was my 3 Sisters in July. There are popcorn plants, beans (Kentucky Blue) and round zucchini. The beans keep getting eaten before they can grow. In the foreground are asparagus ferns (I was told that was okay for the first year planting)

And this is the 3 sisters today. There are baby zucchini growing an everything is noticably taller and more full. Something is nibbling on the greenery though, I am pretty sure they are slugs and garden snails as we have a lot of those around and they like to leave holes in leaves. As long as it doesn't hurt the yield too much I can be patient. Once my patience wears out I will be serving an open bar (flat beer in a dish). At least they go happy.

Up against the fence are my raspberries that my lovely neighbor gave me last year. The poles an sticks are keeping the net off of them. The net is helpful in keeping the birds away from the fruits.

Here is my back yard. Please ignore the ugly parking lot on the right, there is supposed to be a fence blocking the view. Way down the end is the 3 sisters mound and to the right of that my winter wheat which was destroyed after a particularly windy storm. The strawberries are off screen to the left and the raspberries a bit behind me. 

I am so proud of these, as well as the sunflower next to it. I have three beautiful cabbages that are close to being ready to harvest.

Although it is a little hard to see, between the two green poles is a netting that I created with twine and up that are the Mexican Sour Gherkins. I think I prefer "Mouse Melon" though.  
It is next to impossible to get my family to eat salad, so here is a lot of bolted lettuce. Preliminary attempts at braising have yielded promising results. Stay tuned.

Some how, some way, my lemon balm survived the winter unprotected in this container.

On the left is my last year's Sage, and in front is some lemon grass. In the round container in the back are the chives and marjoram that survived the winter too. The container on the right is last year's chamomile struggling to live. 

Here are just a couple tomato plants after a deep pruning along with pepper plants and nasturtiums.
My garlic was puny, but the tops wilted back so they are pulled. These small garlic are quite sweet though, so that is a bonus to me. I have put out some more seeds for a Fall harvest of chard, but I think the birds ate them up.

My son gathered his friends to help out last week. They brought some food and worked their tails off pulling weeds, planting the old, dying blueberries and clearing out the branches from various storms. They spent so much time weeding my wheat, I feel awful that the very next day a storm beat the grains out of the entire planting. At least there is still the straw mulch.

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