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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Trellised melons, squashes and our first okra

With summer in full swing, we’ve noticed more growth and vibrancy in the garden.  Our neighbors have a pool on one of the adjacent walls, and we often hear children splashing and smell grilled meat in the air.  It’s quite odd to be working in the garden and hear the sounds of play in the city.

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The vines on the back fence are growing well, but they still aren’t cutting it with covering the fence.  I just transplanted two more scarlet runner beans, and may toss in a few more pole beans.  The morning glories did a much more through job of hiding our neighbors from us.

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When I was next to the fence, I looked at the section in between the garage and the fence, and found Mardi sleeping away!  I ran inside to get David (and the camera) and he still didn’t wake, as we were quiet.  Once us humans continued to poke around the garden, the needy cat awoke and started meowing at us.

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The two squash trellises are holding up. The melons and squashes are each climbing on their own. On the left is buttercup (big leaves), Kazakh melon (small) and Malali watermelon (on cattle panel by wall, but hard to see).  There’s a sugar baby watermelon on the far right side of the A-frame, by the window.  Next year we’ll move the A-frame; I plan to put a window box under the window.

The right hand side is mostly part of the Kazakh melon!  It’s quite a climber, has three large melons and tons of small ones.  I’ve been making sure the plant gets plenty of water, as I think it suffered a little from our vacation.

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The Kazakh melon has a visitor.

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The Sugar Baby watermelons are starting!  There are a few of them, and each has hooked itself over the wire, preparing to grow on the trellis. These little guys are so fuzzy; it was a little surprising for me.

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We’re getting more buttercup squash, and have two that are nearly ready to pick.

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I planted a small parsley patch (and two spinach plants) under the squash A-frame.  We hope that it is shady enough to grow these without them bolting.

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Rosie, as always, enjoys hanging out in the garden with us.  She finds the best shady spots to relax.  I think she’s just as happy with the new arch as we are!

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Our delicata squash has five new squashes coming!  Five!  That’s great, especially because these are the only ones on the entire plant.

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Our string beans are sad.  I planted new ones in the nursery and plan to transplant them in.  Gardening in a new bed, I think this area dried out too quickly after watering.  When the new ones are ready to transplant, I’d like to dig in compost and worm castings to prepare the area. I planted two salvia here to spruce up the area in the meantime.

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Our tomatillos are starting to take over. The ant/aphid covered borage hasn’t flowered in a long time. It looks like it has buds forming.  Near the wall are three tomato plants that David staked using the Florida weave technique, more or less.  We’re happy with the support technique and may use it more in future.

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We picked our first two okra!  I’m hoping that it stays hot enough for them.  I just planted a Santa Fe Grande pepper behind them.

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There will be more cucumbers in a couple of days.  Looks like I’ll be making pickles again this weekend, and have just selected a fermented pickle recipe.  It’s almost time to play with lacto-fermentation!

This week I’m hoping to get the last of the transplanting done (for now) and play in the kitchen a little.  I’m at a training for work during the day, so I don’t have hours to spend canning.  Although, David says he’ll make the peach-jalepeno jam that still needs to get made.

The peaches are telling us it’s time!

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backyard farming pic