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


What’s Happening In the Garden– September 10

I am hanging on to summer, that’s what’s happening here. With fall on our doorstep people keep saying that fall is their favorite season. I’m sorry, I just can’t join them, I’m a summer girl, that’s all there is to it. IMG_3094That said, the mums are getting ready to pop, which does help a little with the transition.
IMG_3093The oregano is still beautiful. I gave this a good cut back a couple of weeks ago. I’d like to dry some to enjoy this winter.
IMG_3091We still have plenty of green tomatoes. I’m hoping that the sun that’s forecast for today and the heat of tomorrow will help these along.
IMG_3089 The romano beans took off and are climbing. Next year I think I may start some of these earlier in the season. IMG_3085 This cute little gourd just peeked out and surprised me. I need to scrounge around and see if there are more hiding along the fences.IMG_3084 We still have zinnias!IMG_3083 And here’s the asian cucumber that I planted from seed in late July. It kind of took off. I don’t see much fruit but there were several bees flying around it pollinating the other day. It may still happen.IMG_3081 The morning glories reseeded from last year and are happy in the herb garden.IMG_3079 IMG_3076We have several banana peppers to enjoy. I may try drying a few of them.IMG_3073 Broom corn, so pretty! Next year we’ll plant a nice strong row of it and make some serious brooms. IMG_3070 Lettuce, with broccoli next to it. I’m kind of surprised by this broccoli. I wonder if it’s one of the few plants that likes being close to the chicken coop. I’ve been reading about broccoli and learning that it responds well to the high nitrogen content of chicken compost. The trick seems to be growing nice leafy plants before the flowers form. I think we may be on our way here. I’m growing these at work too but I believe that the heat on the rooftop caused flowers to form before the plants really matured. We deadheaded those, then composted and fertilized them heavily with poultry manure a week or so ago, so I’m watching and hoping that they’ll take off.IMG_3066We have lots of tomatillos, another nice surprise. I froze several over the weekend. It’s as easy as taking off the outer skin and putting them into a freezer bag. This week I’m planning to make some salsa verde, and I’ll likely freeze a nice gallon bag or two of them for the winter.
IMG_3061The foxglove is back in all it’s glory! I love this plant. It will probably reseed all over the place!
IMG_3102This is tucked into the front border on the outside of garden… is it ragweed or goldenrod? Pat at Commonweeder (one of my favorite garden blogs), just talked about this yesterday. I’m not sure, but I think it’s goldenrod.
IMG_3057And I’m already missing the black eyed-susan. It’s hard to see them go.

How’s your late summer garden doing? What were your biggest surprises this year?

Tell me about your garden, I love to hear from you!

Happy still summer! Enjoy Everything!

Michele

What’s Happening in the Garden-June 30

Good Morning! Happy Sunday! The sun is out and I’m ready to rock and roll out in the garden this morning! We’ve had pretty crazy weather here in Salem, Massachusetts. It’s often been sunny out, but then it rains. Then it rains torrentially, then the sun comes out. Then we have a thunderstorm. Then it’s sunny. It’s been pretty weird.

Since we’ve had so much rain we have lots of fungi scattered everywhere. This grass was freshly cut yesterday afternoon and by this morning this guy (and several of his friends) had appeared.IMG_1954

Down in the garden, the staked tomatoes are staked. I’m going to do a bit more pruning today. I’m taking away the bottom branches in hopes of keeping the diseases off of the plants. I wish I’d done a ground cover. If I find salt marsh hay in my travels today I may still add some in around these plants.
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Good morning girls! IMG_1960

Tomatillo, that I started from seed. They were spindly, sad seedlings and I thought that they were a lost cause but I plunked them in anyway and here we are. I think I’ll spread them out a bit and see what we get. IMG_1968

We have tomatoes! This is “mortgage lifter.” Their said to reach three pounds and taste wonderful.  I’m very excited about these! Notice the little velcro ties? I’ve never seen these before so I thought I’d give them a try. So far so good. IMG_1966

The brussel sprouts look happy…IMG_1972

as do the shallots.IMG_1971

And another sweetie tomato seedling that I’d given up for lost. Plants are more resilient than we think sometimes!IMG_1969

Cabbage, with cosmos for color…. Someone thought the cosmos were a weed yesterday, lol. He put them back. IMG_1975

More fungi… at first glance I thought that this was one of my long, skinny friends with a stripe on it’s back. I was pretty happy when I realized that it wasn’t.
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Cauliflower is flowering. I’ve never grown cauliflower before and we love to eat it!IMG_1981 Bush beans are coming along nicely.IMG_1980 The snapdragons self seeded to help light up the chicken coop steps. IMG_1978 The peas did their thing… they climbed in spite of the wind and rain!IMG_1985 Horseradish…IMG_1983Banana Pepper..
IMG_1994 Bee Balm ready to flower…IMG_1992 and a greeting by the shyest cat in the world when I came back inside. See, family and friends, Mittens does exist… just a few of us ever see her.IMG_1997

Time to get out there! There’s weeding to do!

Enjoy everything!

Love, Michele

Catching Up ~

Wow! The past eight days have flown by! I’m sorry that I’ve been so completely absent. My middle daughter was inducted into the Junior National Honor Society last week, then twenty-four hours later our oldest son graduated from Salem High School. It’s been a whirlwind of events, celebrations, family and fun! I’m “off” today and trying to catch up around here. A lot happens in a week in my cyber world, not to mention on my desk and in my fridge… time to clean out, freshen up and get moving again!  It’s been raining a LOT for the past week. There’s a little glimmer of sun today so I got out for a few minutes this morning and snapped a few very quick photos. Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is on Saturday (where did a month go??) so I’ll share most of the blooms that haven’t been destroyed by torrential rain then.

Here we go:

Potatoes, spilling out of their pot… I keep adding soil and hoping that we have a nice harvest from this bucket. I’m starting other potato pots a little at a time in the hope that we can enjoy them over time. I wonder if I could grow potatoes year round if they were in a cool spot? I’m thinking about that, especially for my workplace. IMG_1570The first little Adirondack Blue potato sprout… I hope to see lots of these in a few days!
IMG_1572 I planted and caged quite a few romas. Margaret Roach talked me into staking the rest of the tomatoes this year. Click on the link to read about that. I love Margaret, she is one of my very top gardening mentors…  IMG_1574 Someone is digging a hole, I don’t know who.  I think a Have a Heart trap is in order here…IMG_1575 Okay, one bloom… a very waterlogged white iris. I can’t help it. It’s beautiful, even in it’s frazzled state.IMG_1579 Lots of lettuce… we need to keep eating it. I’ve had a tendency to forget lately!IMG_1582The bush beans sprouted. There’s just a few, I’ll probably start to add a few seeds where the lettuce is as we use it up.
IMG_1583 Hi girls. Their wet too, poor things…IMG_1590Buff orphington chickens are quite friendly and tame. This lady may be doing some visiting around town soon.
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I need to add some twine  to help the poor peas reach the arbor… I’ll be there as soon as I can! My littlest girl grew the lettuce and carrots that are coming up in front of the peas. She’s really proud of “her garden”…

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So, as you can see I have lots of work to do today! Now that I’ve gotten back to my blog and caught up a little I can move on to the outside stuff. I may even get the laundry under control!

Thank you, thank you for stopping by, and reading and commenting! You are all wonderful!

Enjoy everything!

Love, Michele

What’s Happening in the Garden–October 10

It really feels like fall out in the garden. I can’t say that I love it, I’m a summer person, but it is beautiful here and the Holidays are right around the corner, then the snow, and then spring will be here.. sorry.. I’m getting off track :).

Okay, out to the garden! Here’s our white pine tree undergoing it’s annual fall browning. It may look a bit sad but this is just part of  it’s  fall process. You can read more about the conifer life cycle here in this article by Margaret at A Way to Garden, one of my very favorite gardening blogs. The conifers will be just fine, they really will!

We still have a few hints of summer,  like mesclun.

and some sage.  I need to dry some for the winter.

The tomatoes are hanging on. This tomato plant volunteered from last year and grew all over the asparagus bed.

The peppers like this cool weather.

There’s lots of green tomatoes. My neighbor and I were talking about what to do with them last night.

This morning on the phone my mom said that they can be wrapped in newspaper to slowly ripen. I may try that… will keep you posted!

The cabbage are just about ready.  

There’s still some basil hanging on

and zinnias and gladiolas.

I’m wondering if the gladiolas can winter over in the ground, or should I pull them and put them away for the winter?

(I should probably pull them out)

Our trees are still quite green. we should be seeing some good fall color soon, I hope!

There’s so much clean up to do. We’ll get there, one bed at a time.

Happy fall!  Enjoy everything!

Michele

What’s Happening In the Garden- July 28

We’ve had pretty unsettled weather here this week. Lots of thunderstorm warnings and showers. We did have drought early in the spring but from my perspective our summer has been pretty typical.  Plenty of sunny days and rain at reasonable intervals. I think that our water table may still be down a bit from the spring and a slightly lower rainfall amount overall. I’m very worried for gardeners and farmers across the US who are experiencing their most severe drought in many years. If you missed it yesterday be sure to check out the post that I re-blogged from A Healthy Life for Me about how hot weather affects the garden.  While your there be sure to check out the recipes too!

Here in the Salem Garden, things are coming right along. The Black-eyed Susan and Echinacea are in full bloom. I remember the neighbor who gave me my first clump of Black-Eyed Susan saying that they are “like sunshine”.  They really are!

This single  Sunflower popped up on the edge of the yard this week. I had no idea it was there. We didn’t plant it on purpose it just reseeded from somewhere. What a nice surprise!

Here’s our first Zinnia bloom! I should have plenty for cutting in a few days.

The pole beans found the fence and trellis. I’m wondering if they need a more pole-like structure to climb on.  

This large plant is Horseradish. This is its second year and it has come into its own. I need to weed around it and add some compost.

It’s time to make some pesto! I’ll try to freeze some this week. I did clip back those flower buds after I took this photo. Be sure to clip the flower buds off of the Basil daily. It makes a big difference!

We have red tomatoes! Yay! A little wilt too. These Cherry tomato plants are across the garden from the Roma. I find Roma tomatoes to be a very disease resistant variety, but I’ll be sure to pick from the Cherry plants last and wash my hands well before I touch the Roma again. I hope that helps to prevent it from spreading, at least for a while.
The first gladioli is blooming! Hopefully we’ll see lots of these in the next week or so.

Time to get outside! There’s lots to do!

What’s growing in your garden?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Enjoy Everything!!

Michele

Zucchini Rotini

The zucchini is growing faster than we can eat it all ready.

Here’s a quick and simple dish that I made for dinner on Sunday. It was delicious!!

The Rotel tomatoes made it quite zippy. My family likes that but if yours is more conservative I’d suggest using fresh tomatoes, diced tomatoes or even the mild Rotel.

Michele’s Zucchini Rotini

1 Lb Rotini pasta

3 T butter

2 T Olive oil

2 T minced onion

1 pinch of sugar

1 t Garlic powder or 1 T chopped fresh garlic

1 medium zucchini, cut into thin strips. I left the skin on half and pealed the other half so as not to overwhelm anyone with too much good nutrition

1 can of Rotel Tomatoes

1 handful of chopped basil

½ cup of half and half, or light or heavy cream

grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta to al dente. While pasta is cooking melt butter and olive oil together in skillet. Add onion and sugar and sauté until onion starts to brown. The sugar helps the onion to caramelize a little bit. Add the garlic and zucchini and sauté until it starts to soften. Add the can of tomatoes and the basil. Cook for a few minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain cooked pasta.

Pour the zucchini sauce over the pasta, then stir in a little half and half (if your not worried about fat content go for the cream instead) just  to moisten the dish and add some extra dimension.  Top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.