We’ve been busy this week. I’ve been documenting our garden’s growth, but haven’t had a chance to post pictures, so I have a lot to share!
We pulled out the last of the side yard chard to make space for a Black Krim tomato that’s been lingering in the nursery. Many of the chard leaves were full of powdery mildew, and I added to the compost as I harvested. The chard that survived my cut is in a vase in the kitchen. We’ve never preserved chard before, but I recently learned about blanching and freezing it, and that’s our plan for this bunch.
The chard was larger than our neighboring tomato plants! Upon pulling it out, I added composted manure. I wish that we had some of our compost to add to it, but we have been pretty lazy about turning our compost bins. It’s about time that we get back to turning the compost regularly. We plan to make compost tea for the first time this summer, and will need it to be further broken down.
See our tiny Black Krim. Hopefully it won’t be tiny for long! I can’t help but notice the peeling paint, or is it stucco, on the house. If you didn’t know, we live in a rental property and have minimal contact with the property owners. There are definitely parts of the outside of the house and fence that need repair, but they don’t put money into anything. We’ve opted not to put our own money into anything that will remain on the property after we one day move out. We’ve been doing pretty great with that so far and made major improvements to the grounds (as well as removed a lot of the grass).
The Jaune Flamme tomato plant has large clusters forming quickly. Last night I was reading the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving, and came across a handful of yellow tomato recipes. This plant should be perfect for some of those!
The Indigo Rose are getting prettier and prettier each day. I haven’t heard rave reviews about their taste, so I have low expectations. I’m hoping that they look pretty, and taste good, in our salads.
Our embarrassingly sad Reisentraub tomato is finally starting to grow! There’s new growth in a couple of places and we’re cheering this little one on each day.
This picture shows the mystery garden, pots of eggplant, peppers and a tomato and the succulent area that I have yet to clean up. We just figured out what the main plant in the mystery garden is, but more on that once it’s flowering. The pots have been planted for a couple of weeks now and the plants are still tiny. Perhaps I’ll give them a dose of fish emulsion later this week.
The left cluster has a pot with a serrano pepper, another small pot with an anaheim and a large pot with two purple tomatillos and a dwarf Hansel eggplant. The right cluster has a Purple Prudens tomato in the center pot, an Abe Lincoln tomato in the closest pot and two poblano peppers in the last one. We have one other large pot planted, and it has three dwarf eggplants: Hansel, Gretel and Fairytale. I’m excited about these hybrids, although we’re growing mostly heirloom plants. I’m not excited that I keep seeing the cats walking in the pots.
The peppers that were planted a while back in the front yard are growing quickly. We’re going to be eating peppers soon, and soon after we’ll be trying to figure out what to do with the rest. While we’re watching our food mature, we decided it was time to stock up on canning supplies. We canned tomato sauce and jam within the past year, and decided that if we’re going to go all out this summer, it was time to invest in a canning kit and tools. We’re still contemplating a food mill, and think we have a gift card from our wedding that will help us get one!
I haven’t mentioned the avocados in a while, as one tree is finishing up and the other is just getting started. Here’s a check on our Bacon avocado tree. They’re almost to the stage where we start finding them all over our cars and the driveway.
Our okra is getting bigger and bigger, although it still has a long way to go before it produces fruit. Hopefully it will be hot enough, and stay alive long enough to give us lots of pickles! We started with two plants, and then then planted three more seeds. As one didn’t do well, I just replanted it, with 4 more plants! We have bulbs planted in this back area and they still haven’t flowered, so I’m taking over their space with okra! I hope my plan works.
Hiding under the chard in the back yard is arugula. We’ve always had an overabundance of arugula, so I figured just a few plants this time would be enough. We’ve also been trying to be better about keeping our lettuce and radishes planted every few weeks, so we always have them. We haven’t quite figured out the intervals to plant yet, because we often have too much or not enough.
When I saw this scarlet runner bean climbing up the fence, I gained hope that we won’t always see through the chain link. We haven’t had very good germination with the runner beans (they were free seeds and the friend who saved them said they were a little old). I’m going to try planting more soon, although the first couple plants that germinated took almost a month to come up. I wonder if I should have soaked them first.
We’re still finding babies! This one was sitting on the Malali watermelon in the nursery.
Aside from this watermelon, all of the squashes and melons have been planted! The nursery is smaller, and now contains mostly perennials that will probably get transplanted to larger pots later this summer.
And I wish I had remembered to take a picture after I planted the squash, melons and Thai basil.
We have enough leaves now to surround the remaining plants. We’re hoping the leaves will break down and act as a nice mulch. It was either compost the leaves in the bin, or add them to the garden directly, and we opted for the garden. We always choose the garden.