Thursday, July 31, 2008

Back in the Garden Again

There's not much that's more pleasing to the sight and smell senses than sweet peas. I have three bouquets in the house as I write. It was late last week that I noticed the first blossom buds on the vines and now both trellises are blooming like crazy. Sweet peas do rank right up there at the top of the list of my favorite flowers.

Elsewhere in the garden, my earliest planted cucumber bed has cucumbers measuring at least (tah-dah!) two inches long. It may be a short while yet before we're feasting on the succulent, crisp, crunchy, wonderfully fresh fruits.

The potatoes are all looking good, but I have a sneaky suspicion that the traditionally hilled-up-with-dirt ones vs. the ones planted under straw are gonna win our contest this year. That is if the potatoes below compare to the plants above. Definitely larger, lusher, more prolific plants coming out of the dirt.

The sweet green bell peppers (the ones that are supposed to turn a bright red at maturity but never do for me) have plants taller than I've ever seen and lots of blossoms but only a few gumball sized peppers, so far. I'm also growing a sweet pepper this year for the first time, the Antohi Romanian. It's that one you see in the store that is either yellow, red or orange and grows in a narrow, long, kinda banana shape. I already have lots of peppers on the plants, some four inches long and about 1-1/2" wide but they are all a pale yellow color. I'm assuming they change to the brighter colors as they mature? Anybody know?

My squash and pumpkins are growing v - e - r - y slowly. 1) They're planted on ground that was sod plowed up for the first time last fall, and 2) we haven't had many hot, humid days that they thrive on. I planted them all in hills I made out of rotted compost and good, black soil but they definitely seem to be lacking something. Maybe next year . . . .

This past Tuesday we had the first massive picking of shell peas. Whadda crop! The snow peas are also bearing well. I've never had much luck freezing snow peas; they come out limp, lifeless and slightly mushy. The reason I planted as many of them as I did this year was to supply the restaurant. And, of course, we'll take our share for fresh eating. Both varieties of peas have grown so tall and thick that I'm a little fearful of the trellises toppling should we have a wind storm.

Alas and alack, we've had a baaaad infestation of worms in our broccoli this year. The Chief in Charge of Spraying (that would be my husband) didn't implement his organic, biodynamic spraying program early enough this year (my fault, I usually alert him as to when it's "time") and we think it was that dratted little bugger, the gray mottled moth, that sneaked in when we weren't looking. Oh, well, the chickens, ducks, and geese will gladly devour any broccoli we reject.

The pickling cucs are tall enough to reach the first string of the trellis but, as usual, will need a little encouragement from me to get started on their upward climb. I always feel like a mother trying to teach a toddler to stand on his own when I tie some of the cucumber plants to the trellis so they get the idea that's where they're supposed to grab on and climb.

Still fun to watch the garden as it changes every day, but lots of work too as the harvest gets into full swing. The strawberries are almost done, but today I saw the first ripe blueberries and raspberries. Oh, yeah! This morning I saw some orange on a tomato for the first time . . . whahoo!

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