Sunday, July 26, 2009

Disasters, Lessons & Victory

late April ------> early July

We’re well into summer and my garden has been more successful than I had planned back in February, when I started sprouting my snap pea seeds. My blogging efforts are the only thing that I can say has been less productive than I had hoped. While I wait for things to be ripe enough to harvest, I am reflecting on the endeavor so that I can be prepared for next year.

Yesterday, I ate an almost-perfect cucumber from the potted cucumbers. I have been surprised (but not really) by how much more flavor they have than store-bought cucs, not to mention they lack the gross shiny wax that grocery stores think make ‘em pretty. Yuck. The vine has gotten so long that I have just been tying it to the fence, which keeps them from rotting on the ground, and make them easy to harvest without hopping the little garden fence. They have done the best with the least amount of maintenance.

The tomatoes continue to make a jungle of my garden plot. They are so big and branchy that I can no longer distinguish one from the other. The upside: trillions of green tomatoes basking in the hot July sun.

It is now clear to see that the grape tomatoes really do grow in bunches and I have already eaten a handful while they were still warm from being on the vine. My plan for the next garden: space those t’maters out by 2-3 feet and starting placing cages and stakes earlier in the growing process. Separate but equal…so that I can walk
inbetween the plants.


There has also been one complication to the tangled mess of tomatoes. Friday night’s thunderstorm deposited a very large tree branch right in the middle of the tomato jungle. The plants are hardy enough that the only real damage is that now they are all leaning drastically to the east. Also, I lost a few green tiny tomatoes during branch removal. It coulda’ been worse. Tomorrow I will go out and stand them all back up again.

The upside to the giant branch: free fire wood. I went out with my neighbor’s handsaw to deconstruct it, but promptly quit when I felt a tickle on my neck that I discovered was a spider crawling down into my shirt. I shook it out and then immediately went inside to strip off my clothes and shake ‘em out. I felt like I was crawling with buggies. I am proud that I didn’t shriek and rip my shirt off in the yard. Who says I’m a girlie girl?

I abandoned the project =(

The peppers are another story. The serranos are doing just fine and producing the most baby peppers, but the other plants aren’t looking so hot. They seem to get droopy in the heat often and I need to be more proactive about watering them. The green and yellow bell pepper plants are still flowerless. Perhaps I need to do some more reading on growing peppers. Maybe some plant food will help them along. Any advice from my pepper growing friends?

Serrano Peppers

I let my lettuce down. L Despite it sitting less than ten feet from my front door I’ve been terrible about watering it; it wilts every week and every week I bring it back. I also need to remember to trim it to encourage more growth.

Neglected Lettuce

Trimming the herbs has helped them flourish. Here’s the mistake I made with the herbs: while they look lovely busting out of one planter, I now can barely tell the difference between my cilantro and parsley. Also, the parsley has taken over. It’s taller and bushier than all the other herbs. I have to trim it back often so that sunlight can get to the oregano, which I use much more than parsley. Grow, oregano, grow!

Harvested Herbs

The sage has been mostly useless, except for throwing it on the firepit to make a lovely aroma. It, too, is a not-so-useful herb that has grown like mad. If anyone would like to have some of my fresh sage, speak up. I am unlikely to do anything more than burn it (and that’s a lot to burn).

I put my basil in its own pot a few weeks ago and that turned out to be a smart move. It has spread in the pot and I dried quite a lot of it today for Doug & my next batch of spaghetti sauce.

Last, but not least, the pencil eggplant are popping up all over those giant, leafy plants. Time to find some more eggplant recipes. There is only so much fried eggplant a person should eat. Any one have recipes for me?

I think that’s plenty for now.



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