What’s Happening in the Garden–July 11, 2016

Oh my goodness… It’s been a month.. and I have a million posts written in my head but not one made it’s way to my blog.  I’m sorry!

People ask questions at work that would be great posts all the time. I need to  write about the experience of serving people in a garden center and share some of that. I love the questions! Some are very common and happen all day (is it the annual or the perennial that comes back every year?) and some are surprises. Let’s just say I’m learning a lot about plants and gardening so I’m probably much happier than the average garden center employee.

I wish I had about five more hours in the day. I think I’d feel perfectly balanced and on top of everything if I did.

Or not.

Then, there’s the garden…

That keeps us busy.

This isn’t exactly the epic gardening year that I always think it’s going to be, but we’re doing okay. It’s been quite dry so the watering is non-stop. I think I lost my garlic crop to neglect and I feel badly about that, but it happens.

IMG_1709On the bright side, the potatoes are doing well. These are kennebec and we have three pots of them. I like growing them in pots because the disease and critter issues decrease a lot when they’re protected by the wall of the container.

IMG_1710The sungold tomatoes did better than I expected. My tomatoes went through a rough patch when I was just too busy with work and end of the school  year commitments to take care of them, but many have rebounded nicely. This variety does great in a pot.

IMG_1717I think that’s a little spider web, but some of you may know better. Is it going  to be okay?

IMG_1718The blueberry bushes are clinging to life. This is so sad because they were great last year. I’m still blaming that extreme cold(-10)  few days for this. I’d welcome any ideas for organically fertilizing and shoring them up.

IMG_1721The lovage has lept. I love leaping lovage. It tastes like celery and it looks so cool.

IMG_1722Most of our kaleidoscope mix and chocolate beauty pepper plants are still with us. The bunnies got a few of them.

IMG_1724These rattlesnake beans came from seeds that Michael’s uncle gave us when we were in Arizona in January. I’m waiting for them to climb their poles but they’re just sitting there teasing me!

IMG_1725-001This is Russian kale and it’s sweet! I’m using it as a vegetable, and as a filler in containers. Stay tuned for a better look at that on Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day on the fifteenth.

IMG_1726Here’s a few more tomato plants that I had given up hope on.

I believe my exact words to Michael were “we’re going to have to go buy some tomato  plants.”

He wasn’t too happy about that since they’d been living on our pool table for quite a while.

You just never know if things are going to come back…

IMG_1727The opalka tomatoes are too, along with the strawberry plants that I thought we had lost a few years  ago.

IMG_1728It’s late, but there’s basil growing and there’ll be plenty of time to enjoy it. This variety is Osmin from Pinetree Seeds. I need to do rock removal everywhere. They look huge next to the seedlings, don’t they?

IMG_1729And this is lemon basil. and little rocks.

If it all survives the critters it should be a foot high for my next What’s Happening update.

IMG_1731The lettuce is awesome, I need to plant some more asap!

IMG_1735And then there’s the onions… remember my onions last year?

IMG_9473Here they are! They were fabulous!

I’m not so sure about this year’s crop. They’re competing for space with a chipmunk and it’s been quite a battle. Those furrows that you see in the middle of the photo of this year’s onions are the chipmunk’s mark.

I know chippys are cute, and they have stripes on their back, and they sing in a movie…

But, I’d like for them to stay away from the garden. That’s all..

IMG_1736So this may be my favorite photo of this post, if not the whole season. Michael is using rhubarb leaves as mulch! I have a zillion questions about whether or not this is a good idea, but I think it’s really creative. Will it work, I don’t know? Are those leaves okay for the soil?  I’m not sure… but they look great!

IMG_1738I caved and planted store bought zucchini  plants, so far so good.

IMG_1739Same with the cucumber. This isn’t a great photo but I got these bamboo hoops from freecycle a few years ago and I love them. I hope the plants grow up over them again.

IMG_1741-001Mother Swiss chard and baby swiss chard are happy together.

IMG_1765So are our new baby chicks. This is one of the easter eggers.

IMG_1755We also have another Easter egger, two white leghorns, two Buckeyes and a Black Giant.

IMG_1743The black Giant is going to weigh ten pounds and she already rules the roost.

I’m loving our new little flock this year. These chicks seem special, maybe because with the exception of the EEs, they’re all new breeds to us.

If you’re still reading I need to say thank you so so much, this is a long post!

If I posted more often, they could be quite short, and easy to read.

Hmmm…

How’s your garden growing? Leave me a comment so I can check in with you 😉 I love to hear about how you’re doing!

Enjoy everything!

Love, Michele

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- August 7

Let’s see, where to start…After lots of rain early on the weather has been beautiful for the past couple of days. We’ve had a few perfect garden days. I love, love, love those days!

IMG_2528Here’s one of our very recent freecycle finds! I’m pretty excited about this. We’re hoping to collect rain from the roof of the chicken coop to water with. That should save some time and money!

IMG_2533The tomatoes are coming along slowly. I’m hearing a lot about “lots of foliage but no tomatoes” from friends and family. I think the heavy rain we had early in the summer is to blame. In spite of my efforts I have a good amount of blight out there and I think it’s largely caused by the rain bouncing the fungus right up on to the plants from the ground. Does that make sense? 

IMG_2537Tomatillos… they are just so darned cute! Now I have figure out how to eat them. 

IMG_2540Cosmos above the Brussel sprouts…a nice pop of color but their out of control!

IMG_2541 A few peppers… we’ll see. Their kind of a late August crop.

IMG_2542The cabbage is coming along too. It’s slightly shaded by the cosmos so I keep moving them (the cosmos) to other areas. This cabbage has been munched on a little bit. I probably need to put some slug traps out there.

IMG_2544I planted a little bit of swiss chard over the weekend. It’s so pretty! I hope it settles in and takes off.

IMG_2546Here we have asian cucumber, with chard to the right,  a sad little zucchini plant tucked in and cauliflower right behind it.I haven’t had luck with zucchini here or at work this year. The squash borers were hard at work everywhere.

IMG_2551 Dill in the foreground (the dill volunteers all over the yard) with relocated cosmos and some romano beans coming up in front of the fence. The beets in the bacdground may become beets after all. I wasn’t sure a few weeks ago but their looking okay.

IMG_2555Shallots are curing… I need to store them in a cool dry  place. Their a bit smaller than I expected but after researching it I think that may just be the variety.

IMG_2530Eggplant… well… I don’t know… I think it needed more sun. To be honest we don’t really like it so it’s not a huge loss. I think the garden knoll is enjoying it though.

IMG_2556I’ve been pretty distracted this summer so I feel some loss about the garden. Part of the problem is my tendency to sit on this deck and enjoy the view 😉

I’m okay with that.

Enjoy everything!

Michele

 

What’s Happening In the Garden-May 31

We’re rolling right along out there! The impending heat today was a great incentive to get things deeply planted and watered yesterday. It finally feels like summer is here in Salem!

The potatoes are coming right along. I’ve been adding soil to these as they grow. This pot is full (I hope) of early red potatoes. I’m a little worried about that Japanese Maple. There are tiny buds but no leaves at all yet. It seems a little late?

IMG_1489
These are newly planted (last week) Adirondack Blue potatoes.IMG_1490I’ve been working on pots and containers in preparation for our high school graduation visitors next weekend. Hopefully this will fill in in the next few days.
IMG_1492Tomatoes are in! We went for a large variety this year. I’ll have to do a separate post on that sometime soon.IMG_1493Peppers, cabbage, brussel sprouts and shallots. Please notice the complete lack of perfection here. I just don’t allow myself to get bogged down by that. I would never get anything done.IMG_1495Lettuce, cauliflower and bush beans planted at the end.IMG_1497One lonely zucchini plant can grow into the space currently used by the lettuce. I had such horrible squash bugs last year that I swore “no zucchini”. Of course there is a tiny bit of zucchini.IMG_1499The chicken coop window box is in!
IMG_1500Sweet peas are creeping up beautifully.
IMG_1502And we have iris!!IMG_1504This is a German iris. IMG_1506And of course, siberian.

IMG_1505

Maybe there is just a little bit of perfection out there, but not because of me!

Enjoy everything!

Love, Michele

Pineapple Zucchini Bread

I know that there are lots of zucchini recipes out there this week but you really must try this delicious bread. I got this recipe at a Bed and Breakfast called the Ferry Point House while on my honeymoon in New Hampshire  almost 23 years ago. The pineapple makes it so moist and delicious. You can add a cup of chopped walnuts if you’d like to.

Ferry Point House Pineapple Zucchini Bread

3 cups of flour

2 teaspoons of baking soda

½ teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1 ½ teaspoon of cinnamon

¼ teaspoon of nutmeg

1 cup of salad oil

3 large eggs

2 cups of sugar

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

2 cups of unpaired, shredded zucchini

1 can (8 1/4 oz) of crushed pineapple, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and put to the side. Beat eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla until thick and foamy. Stir in zucchini, pineapple and then the flour mixture. Pour into two greased loan pans. Bake at 350 for one hour or until cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in pan for ten minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to finish cooling. Enjoy!

I have to write a quick disclaimer about this photo, the “ghost” in the top left corner is not in the original. I can’t figure out how it got there but my little guy loved it and said “you have to post it like that”.. so, here it is. I think it’s kind of amusing. Let me know if it’s something that can be fixed. Maybe it’s the ghost of WordPress?

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day!

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.

What’s Happening in the Garden

It’s always fun to return after a good amount of time away from the garden to see the changes.

Here’s what we came home to this week after our twelve day road trip.

Our pot of potatoes took off!

The bee balm had bloomed

along with the lavender

.

The cucumbers had come along nicely.

Maybe this will be a good year for cucumbers since I only planted a few?

The carrots needed  weeding and thinning asap.

There were plenty of peas for the 4th..

Did you know that in the state of Maine salmon and peas is the traditional Fourth of July dinner?

It was time to pinch back the basil!

And the zucchini had done it’s thing

along with the Roma tomatoes!

It really felt like magic to come back to this.

What are you growing?

How are things in your garden?

Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Michele