We’re getting ready for summer season!

I’ve had trouble finding time to garden and blog.  Ok, I’ve been having trouble finding time to garden even.  We have been slowly getting plants in, getting things cleaned up and even finding a few minutes to cook.

I want to show you what we’ve been up to.  Lots of pics below!

Our apricot that we planted last year is getting HUGE!  We’re still waiting to harvest our first ones.  We also will probably prune a few branches soon.

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This weekend we pulled out four Laciento kale plants.  This giant pile of kale went with us to the food swap this weekend.

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We also harvested a handful of purple carrots.  Here they are shredded, waiting to be cooked.

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And here they are turned into purple carrot cake jam.  Yummy!

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We really liked the way the Florida Weave worked out for our tomatoes last year, so we decided to plant two rows.  We included five different heirlooms in the back, two San Marzanos and three tomatillos in the front. They’re looking great so far, although they’re all just starting to flower.

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Here’s the whole backyard garden right now.  I was just pulling out a chard that popped up before taking this.  We still have to figure out what to do with the bamboo trellis, as the front right section will be soybeans and bush beans this year. (With a few other things, like bush Delicata and Sweet Dumpling thrown in.)

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I transplanted this kale a couple of weeks ago.  It’s supposed to go to my sister’s house.  Hopefully it will perk up before we give it to her.

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The long beans are starting to take off.  I have to replant a few this week, now that the bed has fresh layers of straw, leaves, manure and mulch.

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There are two eggplants that have been in the ground for a short period of time.  They were looking really sad for a while.  Just this week they started to experience new growth and perk up!

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The ladder on the side yard will have cucumbers again.  These were a little small to transplant, but I did it anyways because we were heading out of town last week.  I have a few more that are starting inside right now, but my guess is these will be ok soon.

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The onions are growing large and flowering.  I’ve heard that if they flower that means they won’t really make onion bulbs underground.  We’re using the green onion tops as we need green onions, but that hasn’t been often recently.

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We let this pepper overwinter in the garden, and I never cut off the old growth.  There are new peppers and flowers already!  I think this is the serrano plant.

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Our red mustard is finishing up with quite a show!  We’re enjoying the flowers, and David is hoping to catch a few red mustard seeds so that we can replant them later.

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Here’s proof that our tomatoes are flowering! I love tomato flowers!!

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We have a small patch of beets.  We thought our purple carrots weren’t going to be purple enough, so we picked a beet to shred and add to the carrots, ensuring that they were bright purple.  Funny thing though, we forgot that the beets were Chioggia beets, meaning they were candy striped and more white than the carrots!  As it happened, the purple carrots were super purple and the jam was just the color that I envisioned.  And the best part about the beets, they didn’t stain the kitchen, or our hands, purple!

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In addition to the red onions that are flowering, we planted spring onions/ scallions, and they’re also flowering!

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We’ve moved away from loose leaf lettuce, and have been trying to keep up with our salad needs by planting heads of lettuce.  Isn’t this head of butter lettuce beautiful?

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This winter David and I were tempted by the bare root berries.  Our blackberry is flowering!

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And our strawberries are too! We planted four berries, but have found three more that popped up around the yard, so our patch has been expanding.

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Lastly, I thought our cabbages would look great in the front flower bed, so I threw a few in there earlier this winter.  They finally started growing recently.  This green one looks ready to pick.  The aphids are starting to take over, but I’d like the cabbage to get a little bigger before we pick it.

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Hope your spring is going well!

 

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The tour, June edition

The harvesting has begun, and it’s time to show the progress!  This week we have to build a lot of support systems for our floppy plants.  We’ve also started to pickle, freeze and nibble food in the gardens.

Today I wanted to share with you all a look back at how much we’ve grown since building our gardens.

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This was day one.

[Insert entire garden pic from today] At the end of the blog I’ll show you what it looks like today, but there’ll be bits and pieces as I take you on a tour around the garden!

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The acorn squash/ eggplant/ bean bed. I couldn’t take a very good picture from this angle, because the two little squash plants on the front left of the picture are now taking over a tomato cage and going everywhere!

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The beans and summer squashes are starting to produce.  The eggplants are finally taking off.  I have one more Rosa Bianca in the nursery, which I’d like to plant this week.  Part of the hold up has been that Mardi, our tomcat, likes to sit (and occasionally leave us presents) in the open space in this bed.  We’ve been working on deterring him, but he’s strong willed.

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This was taken in April, after bringing home the half dead yellow yarrow.  We had yet to plant the okra behind the apricot.

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Isn’t the apricot tree looking great?  We have been watching it and letting it take it’s shape, so that when it comes time to prune it this year we can encourage more main stems.  It’s too bad it isn’t closer to the wall, because it seems to be flat and would have been perfect to espalier.

We planted a little chamomile  that we started from seed, towards the back of the apricot.  There will be verbena and hyssop going in also.  Right now those seedlings are in the nursery, and I’ll probably transplant them into larger pots and keep them in the nursery until fall.  I hear fall is a good time to plant perennials.

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Here’s the yarrow on planting day.

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And today!  We will have flowers soon, and I’m pretty sure they’ll be yellow.  But the plant wasn’t labeled so we could get something else!IMG_1788

Here’s the potted daisy after pruning.

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And we have flowers!  I am enjoying the shape of the plant, and loving that the pink flowers have come back.  Notice the red kuri squash is overtaking the pot?  David is hoping to pick up a cattle fence panel while he’s in Bakersfield this weekend.  Then these squash vine will be growing up and over this pot!

In the side yard, the shell beans and cucumbers are growing well.
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This is right after I transplanted the little leaf pickling cucumbers and the nasturtiums.  (sorry it’s not a great picture, but I wanted to show the size.)

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Today the cucumbers are climbing up the ladder, the dill is tall and attempting to flower and the shell beans are nearly ready to be picked.  We harvested our first cucumber from these plants today!

On the other side of the cucumber ladder is the tomato raised bed.

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Here it is after we planted, and when we were still finishing up our winter growing season.

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Today the tomatoes are coming along, the basil is ready for it’s second harvest and we have a pepper growing.  We have a few varieties of radishes and carrots growing, a small patch of lettuce, and one small leek that just won’t be done growing.

In the front yard we also have our mystery garden area.  IMG_1811

We let the compost sprout, and sprinkled a wildflower mix.  The first batch of sprouts that you see here was mowed down by hungry snails.

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The snails have long been killed and we’ve discovered that wildflower mix= alyssum.  The nasturtiums survived the snail onslaught, as well as the one cosmos.  We’ve been more diligent about watering this area and we’re starting to notice a tiny bit of variety appear.

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David has almost no allergies, but he’s allergic to alyssum.  It’s too bad because I think it’s beautiful, and the cats enjoy rolling around in it.

Our herb bed was cut way back when the bulbs were flowering.

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This was taken right after the sage and basil were planted, and during that small window when the cilantro was ready to pick.

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Currently the cilantro and oregano are flowering and ready to be cut down. We’ll be cutting back and pulling out most of the bulbs shortly.

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The cilantro/ coriander flowers attract flies.

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And ladybugs.

We plan to harvest some of the coriander seeds, and let the plant self seed.

And of course, here’s Rosie to point out the peppers.

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This is pretty soon after we planted the banana pepper, jalepeno and cayenne.

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The cayenne are green and growing well.  We haven’t had any turn red yet, but we know soon enough we’ll be drying them and searching for ways to use them.  Anyone have suggestions?

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The banana peppers have already been picked and been added to salsa.  There are a handful more ready to pick this week.

P1010811And of course, the jalepenos.  We’ve picked four so far, and have a few more waiting for us to use.  These plants are small but full of fruit.

We also have other pepper, tomatillo and tomato plants but they’re not doing much yet.

And here’s the backyard today!

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The tomatoes on the left were just trellised, using the Florida weave.  The arch and squash trellis should be up this week. It’ll be great when we can freely walk around again, without worrying about squishing squash vines.

I’ll try to do another tour update soon, but it may be a couple of weeks.  Life is getting busy, summer vacation is about to start and we’re already preparing food.

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