Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kitchen Garden: so far, so good

The garden got off to a very slow start this year, between two and three weeks late due to cool and crappy weather.

As you can see, the plants look a little small and lost in my raised beds at the end of June.

The peppers in the middle bed were struggling, looking as if they might not even make it to July.

But what a difference a little time makes.

The peppers in the middle bed were still struggling through the first week of July, but they looked like they turned the corner.

The peppers in the bed closest to the deck (and closest to me in this photo) are going gang busters. There are peppers large enough to pick already, but I'm going to let them go and mature a while longer since they have not yet developed thicker walls and deeper color.

There are flowers on the cucumbers in the far bed and the middle bed as well as on the zucchini plants in the closest bed. Looks like they are now getting over the chill they experienced in June.

Everything has now come up, including the pole beans planted at the trellises. This was the second planting of beans; the first ones died, all three varieties, likely because they didn't care for the warmth of the "starter unit" I'd devised from recycled plastic containers. Oh well; as close as these are planted to the house, we'll be able to pick them well past first frost.

And we'll need to since beans will take 65-70 days to harvest.

There are Kentucky Blue, Roma and Scarlet Runner beans planted at foot of each of the trellises.

I've also planted pole beans in pots which I'll put on the deck and encourage them to grow up to form a screen to block the view of the neighbors' porch.

This week the cucumbers, zucchinis and tomatoes have really put out the blossoms; the zucchinis were ridiculously prolific, putting out six new tiny zukes inside 24 hours.

The lavender plants at the end of the bed are now at peak; I'll harvest some once the rain has dried off the bed and prepare it for refilling several potpourri items in the house. The chives have also started seeding, so I'll harvest the seed heads and put the seeds in envelopes to give to friends.

One unexpected bonus this year: "volunteer" snapdragons and petunias. The petunia plants which popped up unplanted, self-seeded by last year's plants, are in pots next to the deck. The snapdragons ended up next to the garden bed, curiously enough. When I pointed this mystery out to my daughter, she laughed guiltily.

Apparently my daughter and her brother had a "food fight" in the garden last year, throwing the last of the tomatoes at each other along with other debris from flower pots -- right over the vegetable beds.

Explains the dozens of small mystery tomato seedlings I found and gave away, along with these lovely white snapdragons which appeared at the foot of the raised beds. (I did keep a few of the "volunteer" tomato plants, which look suspiciously like a cross between Brandywines and Early Girl tomatoes...we'll see within the month what we get.)

What's in your garden? Do tell.

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