Tag Archives: nasturtiums

Transitions

Labor Day already?!  Wait a minute, we’ve only picked 3 red tomatoes (this last week)!  I check last year’s entry, and like I thought, I was drying them, there were so many.  C’est la vie.  Three weeks of a cycle in which each week contains 2 days of above-average temps, followed by 15-degree drops to below-average and drizzle, plus mid-40’s at night, just doesn’t cut it for ripening tomatoes.  Still, the plants look great.

Mildew on the squash; always a good seasonal transition symptom.  The acorn, spaghetti, and delicata squash are doing very well.  The zucchini, yellow, and patty pan summer squash are also yielding well, but not overabundant, since they prefer more consistent heat.  The charentais melon has proven very prolific, and we await ripening fruit, now that their skins are roughening.  The margarita melon is not as prolific, but the plant has a few healthy specimens ripening.  Cucumbers are finally cranking out.

Little charentais melons roughening up their skins

More breathing room for squash & tomatoes

A magnificent corn harvest again this year (see tally below); the stalks were pulled to get more light into the tomatoes and squash, and to make easier picking.

Ears of corn sized for big people & little people!

Chard and kale plants are marvelously large,  just starting to get bitter.  Seeds for a fall crop went in last week, as well as a mix of lettuces and salad greens.

Attempts at growing potatoes in the breathable grow-bags proved more productive than last year, but still not what I’d hoped.  The plants looked good, and putting more fertilizer in initially helped, but I’m suspecting there’s an issue with not enough moisture during hot weather, even though they were watered daily much of the summer.  I’m of the mind to only plant Cherry Red and All-Blue varieties next year, since they’re not typically available anywhere else.  The Yukon Gold, Yellow Finn, and Banana Fingerlings are usually available for less money than I put into growing them.  At least they’re proving to be deletable morsels, and it’ll be easy to make some potato salad without having to chop much.  Now, if I was to make raclette or fondue, these are the perfect size!

(left) Yukon Gold & All Blue potatoes; (right) Cherry Red & Banana Fingerling

We could not have planned it any better for plant arranging, as the dying nasturtiums in the front/lower tier were replaced by squash vines migrating down around the them and the lavender.

Thanks be to all gardeners, pollinators, and devas, visible and invisible, for a bountiful harvest!

August bounty:

  • Basil: 5.25
  • Bush beans: 18.5
  • Corn: 46.5 (40 ears)
  • Cucumbers: 9.5
  • Kale: 3
  • Lettuce blends: 4.25
  • Parsley: 0.75
  • Scallions: 4
  • Spinach: 2
  • Swiss chard: 4.25
  • Summer squash: 57
  • Tomatoes: 1.5
  • Blueberries  4
  • Potatoes: 14

Month’s total: 174.5 pounds!

A sea of melon leaves! Where's Juniper?

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A lush “green tomato year” in the making

Awoke to some drizzle, and had a an opportunity to reset the energy button to a slower pace; to actually sit in the garden (as the skies cleared), rather than tend to it.  Listening to the breeze, the little birds, the newly-hatched grasshopper, the bees.  Watching the cabbage white loopers darting around, and the juba skippers snapping and courting in their little aerial spirals.  Smelling the lavender, sages, bee balm, corn, nasturtiums, squash; summer in general.  Feeling like a sleeping cat.

I noticed a feeling of early fall precisely on Aug. 1.  The days started feeling noticeably shorter at the same time; there is a tinge of color on sporadic trees.  All this seems a couple of weeks earlier than “normal”.  We’re most definitely on the downside of summer, with very few tomatoes set.  I’ve never had this many tomato plants grow over 5-feet tall before setting fruit!  But, we’re not alone in this predicament.  Our day and night temps are so variable, slow to warm and very quick to cool in late afternoon.  More heat needed!

Fortunately, the squash have kicked in, though more sporadic than last year, especially for their mammoth sizes.  The spaghetti squash is out of hand, while little acorn and delicata fruit are just getting started.  The cucumbers are developing nicely, as are the margarita and charantai melons.  Corn ears are nicely elongated, waiting to fill out the kernels.

Tasseling corn

'Early prolific

Lavender and nasturtiums cushion a spaghetti squah

It was time for the lettuce to be harvested completely, or be overrun by squash and melons, besides being a little bit bitter.  Kale and chard are still vigorous, and the bush beans are still producing well.  Harvested over 5 pounds this last week on the oldest row.  Basil has been sheared back for a second round of bushy growth.  Lots of pesto being made!

July bounty:

  • Beet tops and roots: 11.75 pounds
  • Basil: 6.25
  • Kale: 3.5
  • Lettuce blends: 16.5
  • Scallions: 0.75
  • Spinach: 2
  • Swiss chard: 4.75
  • Sugar Snap peas: 0.25
  • Summer squash: 8.75

Month’s total: 53 pounds

Thank you all participants and garden devas!

Lushness galore! August 8

Thanksgiving and suet time!

Chilly, rainy weather demands more food for the birds now.  During the week we had a break in the weather, perfect for getting out feeders and restocking suet.  Today a visiting flicker rewards me!  He always looks awkward, being quite large relative to the suet cage, but he prefers it to the specially designed one purchased a couple of seasons ago (forget that one).  A woodpecker came by earlier last week, more interested in picking bugs out of some dead arborvitae trunks.  A little Anna’s hummingbird is braving the rain as well, searching out different feeders in the neighborhood that have more cover.

At the moment, the lettuce crop in the community garden is worth “gold” given the steep jump in market lettuce prices.  It’s slow growing with the current temperatures, but supplies small salads, if not overly-picked.

Frost nips at the yard when there is a clear night, and the nasturtiums aren’t sure when they should officially curl up to call it quits.  I was hard-pressed to find enough intact blossoms to adorn a salad headed to a potluck.

A very dreary day, today the rain came in earlier than predicted, and it has been a constant stream, stronger than a typical drizzle; just the right temperature and moisture combination to make it officially “yucky” enough not to work outside.  Unless one has a giant umbrella.  Hey, I shouldn’t have put the patio umbrella away….

It is a fine day to be inside with the kitties, and I give thanks for that opportunity to “hunker down” for a quiet Thanksgiving, to catch up on correspondence, give the old, ailing cat more attention, and get some rest!

Hope you are having an enjoyable Thanksgiving in whatever way you choose!

Blurred by rainy netting! Wishing a happy, restful Thanksgiving to all!

Show-offs

While fall enters its zenith and fall colors are ubiquitous, whether static, or as falling gems of gold and burgundy, a killing frost has yet to manifest, allowing cleome, sages, zinnia, and nasturtiums to show off for a longer spell.

SalviaCleomeAnemone-Fall

Fall flowers still dancing: cleome, pineapple sage, lavender, Japanese anemone

The nasturtium flowers at the front of the community bed are in full throttle, and their mild spiciness is being enjoyed in salads (akin to very mild arugula).

Nasturtiums-Fall

Nasturtiums deciding to show off

The first leeks have been picked, with a verdict of “very tasty” even if not mature, and harvested tomatoes keep ripening enough to keep our salads colorful, while still giving some away.

Garden cleanup and winter preparation continue at a leisurely pace, along with playing “musical plants” to make way for new arrivals.  After a fatiguing day at work last week I relished the task of transplanting my ‘Puget Gold’ apricot from a pot to its permanent ground residence inside the house yard.  That felt more productive than the entire workday!

Planting day……finally

Two days ago I set an oscillating sprinkler on for 2 sets of 1-hour duration, separated by 1-hour breaks, to dampen down the upper 4 to 5 inches of soil.  We’ve had a stretch of unusually warm weather during the week; moisture setting in nicely after the second day of soaking.

I spent most of today in the new garden spot, beginning at 8:00 a.m., contemplating and editing my layout while soaking the soil for another couple of hours.  The Ferti-loam mix is wonderful; not a weed has shown up yet.  With our spell of hot weather, the raised soil bed is wonderfully warm, perfect for planting corn and other warmth-lovers.  Lettuce won’t be done until later summer.

Participating neighbors dropped by to help spread organic fertilizer on the beds and rake it in.  Soaker hoses appeared, and I started configuring the hose systems, not that they’d be used right away.

Planting proceeded quickly after 5:00 pm., when westerly breezes arose; stores ran low on various plants, so not everything planned was planted.  More bell peppers and tomatoes are still needed.

The morning after.....planting that is.  Where's Juniper?

The morning after.....planting that is. Where's Juniper?

The overall planting includes:
5 tomato plant varieties
6 yellow bell pepper plants
3 summer squash (seeded): patty-pan (or scallop), round zucchini, yellow straight-neck
3 winter squash (seeded): delicata, spaghetti, buttercup
3 cucumber plants: lemon, sweet-slice long, bush crop
2 Japanese purple eggplants
1 chives plant
1 parsley (seeded)
16 ft. of green bush beans (seed)
8 ft. of rainbow Swiss chard (seed)
8 ft. scallions (bunching onions) (seed)
4 rows (@ 6 ft.) white corn (seed) to yield 24 plants total
6 kale plants
8 sunflowers (seeded among the squash plants)
6 vine-type nasturtiums to climb bamboo teepee (seed)
15 bush nasturtiums to stabilize and color the front edge of the bed (seed)
8 basil (seeded)
3 lavender plants (move in fall)

Amendments and supplies:
5@4-lb.boxes of E.B. Stone Organics All Purpose Plant Food (5-5-5); raked into top 3 inches of soil; furrowed under corn rows.
Tomato cages
250 ft. of soaker hoses
150 ft. of solid hose (3@50 ft) to connect soakers to house faucets
Brass or plastic multi-channel hose-connectors
Many large cardboard boxes to cover the entire 600 sq. ft. of lawn