Tuesday, July 11, 2017

More Garden Talk

Remember how I said I thought planting the cauliflower so close together would enable it to be "self-blanching?"  Well, yes and no.

As I found out this morning, those little heads are quickly becoming big heads . . . and literally pushing the leaves out of the way.  This has caused the sun to be able to hit some of the heads which in turn causes a purple-ish tinge to the desired snow white appearance of the heads.  From what I've read, this bit of coloration does the cauliflower no harm.  It's not a disease, fungus or pest, but rather is caused by a natural occurring substance called anthocyanin which is exacerbated by exposure to the sun.  So I spent a bit of time using clothes pins to secure the leaves up and over the growing heads hoping that will at least prevent any more purple coloring to take place.  (Gee golly, you really have to keep on your toes, don't cha?)

Now for some pictures.

Gotta say our potatoes are looking better this year than I can remember.  Very lush plants that are just starting to blossom.

The asparagus has been left now to develop into ferns which are already over 7' tall.  Papa Pea is cursing the spot we chose for the asparagus because the ferns block the view from the house of vehicles coming up our driveway before they enter the yard area.  Oops.

Oh, how I love Sweet Pea flowers.  Oh, how slowly they always grow.  Each year at this point when the vines aren't more than a foot of the way up their trellis, I despair of ever having the fragrant blooms to bring into the house.  (I know, patience, patience.  I must exercise patience.)

The sugar snap peas are just starting to blossom as are the shell peas.  Usually the snap peas are a couple of weeks ahead of the shell peas, but not this year.  Hunh.

The beets are looking good compared to last year when the greens never grew much more than four or five inches tall and the beets themselves were only fair to middlin'.  I have had trouble getting my beet seeds to germinate this year as you can see by the bare spot (which actually has tiny sprouts coming up after replanting twice) on the end of the row closest to the camera.

Not sure it's very clear in this picture, but I planted a row of purple carrots (the ones that are dark purple all the way through) on each outside end of this raised bed.  Almost from the get-go, they were about a third taller than my regular Scarlet Nantes variety which makes up the rest of the planted carrots.  Curious.

Onions, as always, do really well for me.  This is one of three beds I planted this year.

Sweet peppers are finally putting on some size and have many blossom buds.  And, yes, I still shut them up in their cold frame "nursery" each night and keep the cold frame closed on cooler days.

I've taken two cuttings from my mint bed which has yielded a total of approximately 4-3/4 cups of dried mint.  The plants are still not filling out the bed as I'm hoping they will.  Eventually.  I hope.

Papa Pea has finished thinning the apples on all our apple trees.  These shown are on our new dwarf trees and are nearly the size of a ping pong ball.

Those apples (strangely enough) are about twice as big as the ones on our older semi-dwarf trees.  I'm campaigning to cut down the older trees and replant more dwarf apple trees and some cherry, apricot and peach trees.  Perhaps even try some nut trees that will grow in our area.

Made another nice harvest of strawberries this morning.  Total haul was 16 pounds and 3 ounces.  I'm still keeping the three varieties we have separate to see how they compare at the end of the season.

Also brought in three more heads of broccoli for a total so far this year of four heads.  We ate the first one but these current three went to Freezer Camp.  Yay! 


Michelle said...

Your raised beds are so orderly, weed-free and productive-looking! Slightly jealous here....

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

I think I've only been successful with beets once. Yours look good. It's amazing how big the asparagus gets! -Jenn

Saundra said...

I agree with Michele. From 5 potato plants I 'harvested" enough for one meal. But my zukes are growing nicely, basil has gone nuts (yeah pesto), & 5 of my 6 tomato plants are covered in blooms. Since I live alone it's enough for me & others. Your garden is wonderful. Enjoy. Sandy

Anonymous said...

I'm planning raised beds for next year, so could you please tell me what kind of soil
do you have in you beds. Thank you Sue

Susan said...

Wow. Your garden looks so lush! I am hoping that planting #3 will produce some beets for fall harvest, but I'm not banking on it. How long will those carrots keep? Until November??? :)

Kristina said...

As always, your garden looks so pristine. I refuse to show too many photos of mine, ha ha!

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - Never mind how a garden looks . . . weed-free or not, orderly or not . . . the important thing is the healthful, nutritious, delicious food it produces for you family!

Mama Pea said...

Jenn - This is the first year I've had trouble with beets germinating. And last year was the first they didn't grow well. Hmmm, have you sent your beet curse this way?!? ;o)

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - Your potatoes are harvested already?? Such a difference in our growing climates, huh? I have regular sized (as opposed to cherry tomatoes) tomatoes growing this year and even a few blossoms but we never have a long enough season for the tomatoes to mature. Unless you have a greenhouse of some sort as our nearest neighbor does. He had a wonderful crop last year.

Mama Pea said...

Sue - We started by buying a big load of black dirt. Which was a good start but it didn't have many nutrients in it. We added good stuff every year . . . composted horse manure, plowed under green crops, composted scraps from the kitchen, composed chicken manure, grass clippings, etc. . . . and then more compost each spring and fall. Takes a while to create good soil, no doubt about it. Each year it will get better and better for you.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - November and beyond!! ;o)

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - As I said to Michelle above, it doesn't matter how your garden looks as long as it manages to produce great produce. And yours certainly does that!

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Oh your post today is lovely!!! Your gardens are doing so very well! Love the asparagus ferns! My potatoes are all in bags and they are incredibly prolific and flowering like crazy. My beets are decent but only one parsnip out of TWO plantings has come up. Drat. I may try again. My peas and beans are doing well also. My pumpkins, zucchini and squash have exploded all over the yard so I am keeping all my digits and my eyes crossed that this will be a good harvest. :)

Mama Pea said...

MrsDM - Thank you! Sounds like your garden is doing wonderfully. Yep, those squash-type plants do have a way of taking over the acreage! I have only one (first blossom) on my zucchini so far. I hope you do have a fantastic harvest! (After all, isn't that what gardening is about?) :o)

Rain said...

Hi Mama Pea :) I'm just in awe of your garden...so neat and clean! You must spend hours a day weeding, do you? I showed Alex the photos of your asparagus and his eyes popped lol...mine did too the first time I saw them, they actually make nice ferns! And, I know Papa Pea doesn't like it, but Alex said that would make a nice privacy hedge for our place! Your potatoes look great!!! Everything does! I wish I could eat up all those strawberries! :)

Mama Pea said...

Rain - Believe it or not, I don't spend a lot of time weeding! I plant the beds very intensively and the plants quickly make it impossible for weeds to flourish. I also mulch extensively with either grass clippings or shredded straw. Mulching does wonders to keep down weeds. I take a walk through the whole garden once a day nearly every day and if I see a weed starting, I stop and pull it out before it has a chance to take hold and grow big.

We just finished a lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches with a (fresh!) strawberry shake for a dessert treat. I (and mostly Papa Pea!) have you to thank for encouraging me to make shakes. I even bought a set of glasses for that exact purpose! And it's true I think of you every time I make a shake!

Charlotte Boord said...

I have to agree with everyone, your garden looks fabulous! I do have to ask, you say you plant onions in the same bed every year, they don't get overrun with pests? I've read that you should rotate your veggies. My garden (three 7x8 beds in my front yard) are doing very well, especially the tomatoes. I've already told my neighbors to pick what they need. I can't keep up with them! Not sure why but my two cucumber vines bit the dust (I did get a dozen or so cukes) so I've started a few more seeds - Straight Eights which should give me more cukes before it gets cold here in central Texas. I love our long growing season!

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Charlotte! First off I have to say, WOW!, you do a lot of gardening in a small space! You're a perfect example of how one can grow a lot of food without acres to work with. Very, very impressive.

Second, I didn't say that very well regarding my three beds of onions. (Semantics, geesh!) What I meant was I always plant three full beds of onions as we use a lot of them and I need that many. Never two years (or even three) in a row in the same raised beds though. When I plot out each year's new garden, it's like a game of chess figuring out how to always rotate the crops plus I pay attention to companion planting and don't want "unfriendly" plants too close together! I'll go back into my post and change the wording on that. Thanks for pointing it out.

The only thing I'm wondering about in regard to your cukes dying, they need a lot of water 'cause that's about 99% of what they are. But it sounds like you do water adequately, so . . . ?

I am definitely envious of your long growing season, but not of your heat!

P.S. I'm coming to steal some of those luscious looking tomatoes from you. ;o)

Charlotte Boord said...

Mama Pea, thank you. I missed watering my cucumbers for five days and then totally overwatered them. Did the same thing with my corn in the back yard. The tomatoes are delicious, I pick a couple every morning when I go out to feed my kitties and eat them right there. Soooooo good!

Rain said...

When do you mulch? Right after you plant your seeds? This might also keep my Blue Jays from stealing the seeds I plant...I'd love to find something other than chicken wire to protect them!

Oh I'm so happy you're having shakes!!! I just made a new version of a strawberry ice cream. I boiled some strawberries with a wee bit of brown sugar and let that sit for a day. Then I strained it and mixed it into the vanilla ice cream mix...ooooh...talk about REAL strawberry ice cream! We're having shakes tonight!! :)

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

OMG.....OMG, I got my garden fix with your post and pictures!!!! I'm on a garden high right now :-) Thank you for posting this. I can't wait till next garden season to get mine going.

Amazing how tall your asparagus ferns have grown. Will you be planting them in another location next season?

Everything in your garden beds look so healthy and lush. Yes, I'm drooling and I'm happy for y'all!


Mama Pea said...

Sandy - Think of all the fun hours you'll have this winter planning your first garden at your new home!

The asparagus will stay where it is. It seems to be a good spot where it likes to grow and planting asparagus is a bit of a pain. You have to dig a trench, fill it in gradually, etc. It's a perennial plant and once it's in and established, it will yield for many, many years . . . some sources say 25-30 years! This asparagus season just past is the third year ours has been in and next season will be the first we can pick until frost. Yippee! So the ferns won't start to grow until later in the season than they did this year. Clear as mud??

If we would get some warmth and sunshine now, the garden would REALLY take off!

Mama Pea said...

I don't mulch until the plants are up and growing well. I've never had trouble with birds stealing seeds (knock on wood!) and I think most seeds might have a bit of a struggle making it up through the mulch anyway.

Our strawberries are coming in like gang busters (I've harvested over 50 pounds so far!) so you know lots are making their way into smoothies and shakes in our household. Also, we're eating them in a bowl, fresh, nearly every morning. I MUST pull out our ice cream maker and try strawberry ice cream. Papa Pea would be in heaven!

Leigh said...

Beautiful! But where are the weeds! I sometimes have trouble finding my garden for the weeds, LOL.

I had to smile over Papa Pea and the asparagus. They certainly do have a way of taking over.

Anyway, it's exciting to see how well your garden is doing. Mine could do with a little less mid- to upper-90s and a bit more rain.

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - Where are the weeds? The weeds are popping out all oh-oh-ver! Snatching out those little buggers is on my list for today.

My garden is actually quite a bit behind where it would be in a normal (what's that?) year. We've had plenty of rain, but very little warmth. Oh, if we could just even the weather out over all our locations!!