Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Garden Groweth

With all this emphasis on our new ducks, I haven't mentioned the garden, but it's growing great, for the most part.  This week we've been enjoying PEAS.  We have Snow Peas, Sugar Snap Peas, and Shelling Peas.  I made a nice stirfry with the snow peas last week, and enjoy the Sugar Snaps raw.  I'm freezing some for later.  I'm wishing now that I had planted more of them.  Perhaps I can plant some for fall harvest.

We've also been eating kale and kohlrabi, and I made a pretty good quiche out of that combination, along with some extra large scallions I didn't harvest in their prime.  Right now I'm dreaming up some sort of kale-kohrabi lasagna.  Sound good?  It's really fun going to the garden and thinking, "Hmmm, this can be harvested today.  What can I make out of it tonight?"  Oh yes, some of the beets have been eaten, others were turned into pickled beets for winter salads.

After bad weather just after planting, I really had thought I'd have a disappointing garden.  Yes, there are some disappointments, but all is not lost.  My tomatoes have bounced back and I have many huge, lush plants with lots of flowers, particularly the bush, or determinate, type.  The tomato harvest will be late, so hopefully we won't have early frosts, but I should have plenty of tomatoes.  Some of the indeterminate ones are odd and short, but hopefully I'll get something out of them as well.

My squash and cucumbers suffered some setbacks as well due to the weather and the cucumber bugs.  Those dang bugs kept eating my young plants, and I kept planting new seeds to replace the damaged ones.  I finally have as many growing plants as I had planned for, but they are much smaller than they should be for mid-July.  I'll have a late harvest with these as well, but I still think I'll have enough to enjoy, especially considering I normally have more squash than we can eat.

The peppers are the most sad.  I love my peppers, but unfortunately fear I won't have much of a harvest.  The plants are small, but finally coming back with new growth.  Some have peppers growing on them even with few leaves.  Some peppers began to grow then dried and shriveled up.  I'm bummed that I didn't follow my own plan, which was to leave them under the cold frame for the first couple of weeks.  Had I done that, they would have flourished.  I took off the cold frame because it was difficult to water them (lifting the cold frame for each watering) and I wanted them to have the benefit of rain.  Instead of nice rain, they experienced hail, extreme wind, and temperatures that were too cold for them.

Potatoes, beans, herbs, carrots, basil, corn, strawberries...let's see, what else?... all seem to be growing along their merry way.

This year I tried several new varieties, mostly of peppers and tomatoes, and hoped to find out which were "keepers".  With the extreme weather, I may not be giving them a good test.  On the other hand, I'll certainly know which can survive the worst conditions!

This summer has been very rainy, more so than normal.  We have forecasts of thunder showers almost every day, and many days we do get the rain.  With our soaker hoses on timers, we frequently have a guessing game of whether to leave the timers on or off, thinking we may get rain.  With 60% chance of heavy rain today, I think I'll turn them off for now.

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