What’s Happening in the Garden, July 30, 2014

I truly can’t believe that it’s been almost a month since I posted a garden update. Where does the time go?  We’ve been doing everything… camping, hiking, visiting, working, gardening… you name it! It’s a crazy busy summer! While we’ve been so busy lots has happened in the garden.

IMG_6833We have tomatoes!! These are super sweet 100s… I haven’t grown this variety before so I’m looking forward to tasting them.

IMG_6846There are tomato plants tucked in all over the place. One of the great things about growing from seed is the sheer abundance of  plants when it’s time to plant. I’d better get that canning thing down because I’m going to need to do something with these tomatoes.

IMG_6827Yes, their a little bit too close together but I think they’ll be okay. I keep watching for blight so I can remove the yellow branches right away, and believe it or not, hardly anything is touching the ground.

IMG_6822We’ve picked several zucchini and more are on the way. I like to get them when their on the small side so their not too seedy. There is evidence of squash borer. I haven’t figured out how to organically prevent it from hitting my plants, but I have figured out how to deal with it to limit the damage….

IMG_6823I bury the base of the plant where the borers work their evil and the plant reroots almost immediately and keeps right on growing and producing. If you cut open the stalk you will clearly see the wormy little borers eating away. Not everyone handles that well. I think it’s kind of interesting.

IMG_6829There’s basil everywhere too. The flowers on this plant should have been cut back at the beginning of the bud stage. The photo that I took after I cut it was blurry, but you get the idea. You’ll have beautiful basil for a long time this summer if you cut it back!

IMG_6824The red onions look just about ready. I planted them close to the surface as I think I was supposed to and now their very high in the soil? Should I have covered them with soil as they grew or is this okay? It seems like they would have gotten bigger if they had stayed submerged a little bit longer.
IMG_6834The asparagus is gone for the year. It needs to be weeded and fertilized to shore it up for next spring.

IMG_6835The cucumbers are incredible this year! I guess the rain helped, along with researching the variety. I’ve harvested many and there’s lots more coming!

IMG_6845Okay, so, this is kind of a problem. I clearly wasn’t thinking when I put watermelon, cantaloupe and pumpkin in the same row.

IMG_6840The good news is that we have some fruit.

IMG_6841The bad news is that there appears to be some cross pollination happening. This is a very watermelon like cantaloupe.

IMG_6843Just across from the melon patch is a huge horseradish patch. I still have some in the freezer from last year.

IMG_6862The blueberries, covered with bird netting, are happily producing.

IMG_6855However, these brown dying branches on one of the two plants is a concern. Anyone know what’s happening here?

IMG_6857We have potatoes in the cat pot again… I mixed tons of compost in so I’m hoping for great tuber development.

IMG_6825My favorite border is hanging on. Maybe some good deadheading will bring back another bloom?

IMG_6820We made a little goldfish pond on the deck this year. It’s just a plastic barrel filled with water, pond plants and fish. It’s so easy and a nice addition to our sitting area where we enjoy our view.

IMG_6859Life is so good here…

Enjoy your blessings today!

Love, Michele


Overnight Pickles

thesalemgarden:

HI everyone! It’s that pickle time of the year again so here’s a re-blog of my fabulous overnight pickle recipe. This recipe is the most viewed post of all time here on The Salem Garden. These pickles are easy to make and wonderful, so go pick some cucs and dill and enjoy!! Michele

Originally posted on The Salem Garden:

I’m an aspiring canner but I haven’t got it down yet. In the meantime this is a wonderful way to make pickles. They’ll probably keep for a few weeks in the fridge if you don’t have a crew like mine who eats them all before you have a chance to test how long they’ll last!

Overnight Pickles

4 cups of water

1/2 cup of white vinegar

3 tablespoons of pickling or kosher salt

2 tablespoons of sugar

garlic cloves (3 per quart jar)

1 teaspoon of mustard seed or 1 tablespoon of pickling spice

dill seeds or fresh dill

8-10 pickling cucumbers

Wash and quarter pickling cucumbers (or slice into rounds if you prefer) and pack into quart or pint jars. As written, this recipe makes 2 quarts and one pint, I double it to make five quarts.  Make a brine by bringing the first four ingredients to a boil…

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Grandma’s Garden in Delaware-2014

A few years ago I blogged about my mother-in-law’s beautiful garden. We don’t get to Delaware every year and it’s always a treat to get out of the car after our long journey and step into the garden.  It’s interesting and whimsical and fun!

IMG_6430We caught the last little bit of larkspur and that very long coned rudbeckia..

IMG_6477The larkspur adds pops of color everywhere.

IMG_6439I haven’t seen this in Massachusetts.

IMG_6433The shagbark hickory tree has grown and become the focal point in the last few years…

IMG_6482with good reason.

IMG_6438Elephant’s ear winters over in Delaware, imagine that?

IMG_6464Echinacea
IMG_6470I love this little clay birdhouse/feeder and I’m wondering what that tall plant to the left might be?

IMG_6478Looking out toward the back yard…

IMG_6480Michael’s mom is an avid garage sale and thrift shop hunter so the ornaments are always changing.

IMG_6486The hear no evil statue is a new addition. I thought it was funny that Michael just gave me a similar statue a few weeks ago.

IMG_6429This guy continues to keep watch from the deck.

IMG_6492He has help now.

IMG_6467And Chester takes care of on the ground surveillance.

I think they’ve got it covered.

It was a fun visit in a beautiful place. I hope we return soon!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

 

 

I Am NOT a Canner, I’m Just Not

So today was the day. It was time to make the jam!

I looked at the containers of fresh raspberries from the garden and decided that I was going to make delicious jam and can it to enjoy all winter. We mashed the berries, strained out all of the seeds, then cooked the mixture on the stove with sugar. I sterilized eight jars in the dishwasher just before I cooked the raspberries.  It looked great and was starting to jell so I took it off the burner and poured it into the jar(s).  Guess what happened?

IMG_6654This…

IMG_6650produced this.

seriously…

I can cook or bake almost anything but I just can’t make jam. Or maybe I just can’t make enough jam, or jam that’s soft and delicious and makes toast taste perfect.

I put the full jar into the boiling water bath for ten minutes. I don’t think the lid popped so I put it in the fridge.

I’m going to try to spend some time reading and watching videos and picking my canning friends’ brains.

One of the problems I have with canning is that everything I read or watch is different from the last thing I read or watched. I get dizzy trying to figure out which technique will work the best. There’s so many questions like which pot or pressure cooker to use? What to put on the bottom of the pot, or not?  What size jars to use? How long to cook the preserve? Whether or not to use the fancy jar grabber that I bought a few years ago or should I just use tongs? There are a lot of heavy decisions in this canning business.

I’m lost.

I’m exhausted.

Time for bed.

I left the six unused jars on the counter so that their ready to go back into the dishwasher, along with the box of pectin, the jar mover tool, the lids and seals and my canning book. I’m still hoping that this might be my breakthrough canning year kind of like it was my breakthrough seed starting year.

Starting seeds is more fun than canning, even if they don’t make it.

Just saying…

Are you canning anything? Feel free to leave a link to your posts about your canning experience right in the comments.

You will become an official member of the Michele Parr canning turnaround team!

Thanks for listening!

Love, Michele

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day- July 2014!!

Hello, hello, hello!  We just got back last night from an eight day, multi-state. twenty hour or so car trip to see our families.  I fully intended to blog along the way but my internet access came and went (mostly went) and our stops at each place were relatively short so I took photos with the hope that I’ll share a few of them here in the next few weeks. Anyway, it’s GBBD which is a great way to jump back in to the blogosphere and say hi! Here’s what we came home to last night:
IMG_6615Echinacea

IMG_6618Ditch lily

IMG_6619Lavender, with bees

IMG_6620Black-eyed susan/rudbeckia, just beginning to bloom

IMG_6623Bee balm
IMG_6627I’m not sure about this, it’s almost invasive in a beautiful way

IMG_6630Yarrow

IMG_6631A big dill flower, I couldn’t resist…

IMG_6633Pansies and verbena in the chicken coop window box

IMG_6634The beginning of the liatris

IMG_6635Balloon flower rose campion rose campionobedient plantObedient plant… does a wonderful job of luring cucumber beetles away from the cucs..

Maybe another obedient plant? Maybe another variety of obedient plant? Talk to me….

Bellflowerand the bellflower…

I seem to have lots of tall blooms that would be pretty in a vase…

Be sure to check out May Dreams Gardens for all of the other GBBD posts!!

I hope your all well and I can’t wait to catch up on all of my favorite blogs!

Love,

Michele

 

 

July 4th (Oh Wait, It’s the 5th) at the Salem Willows, 2014

I’ve had tons of hits over the past few days from people looking for information about the Horribles Parade, so here it is, along with our walk through the neighborhood after. Those Willows residents know how to celebrate! The parade was delayed a day because of Hurricane Arthur’s track up the coast but today was absolutely beautiful. If we ever leave our spot up here “on the hill” we’re moving to the Willows!

The beginning of the parade These ladies were having a great time IMG_6282 IMG_6293the band playedIMG_6294 IMG_6302 Willows games IMG_6307 IMG_6308 IMG_6310 IMG_6314 LOL IMG_6321 IMG_6322 It is a horribles parade... IMG_6327 IMG_6328 IMG_6329 IMG_6330 IMG_6332 IMG_6334 IMG_6336 IMG_6340 IMG_6342 IMG_6343 IMG_6344 IMG_6347 IMG_6350 IMG_6352 IMG_6354 IMG_6356 IMG_6358 IMG_6359 IMG_6360 IMG_6362 IMG_6363 a photobomb by one of my gardening mentors Hammerhead sharks IMG_6372 Lemon sharks IMG_6376 a pool shark, lol IMG_6378 On to the neighborhood.. IMG_6383 IMG_6384 IMG_6385 IMG_6386 IMG_6387 IMG_6388 my gang walking IMG_6390 IMG_6391 IMG_6393 IMG_6394 IMG_6395 my friend Jane having a great time! IMG_6399 IMG_6400 IMG_6403 IMG_6404 It's a great party! The coolest garage door ever! And a beautiful silo IMG_6408 IMG_6409 IMG_6410 IMG_6411 IMG_6412 IMG_6413 This house was on the market a year or so ago, of course we had to look! IMG_6417 It suddenly got vey windy... IMG_6419