Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mid-Summer Garden

Little MJ taken by Daniel Haynes
This is MJ, named after the screaming leading lady in Spiderman.  Not my favorite name or character, but the kids prevailed.  She is a tiny little thing, smaller even than her mother.  Once every two months she climbs up in my lap while I am watching a movie and gets all cuddly and sweet.  She has a fairly blah personality but she also doesn't have a mean bone in her body.  So our little MJ is the highlight of kitty photography this time. Her look-alike brother was adopted by one of my daughter's friends and ended up the size of a Pro Football linebacker.

Jungle-like tomato bed with cucumber trellis in
the back. Photo taken by Daniel Haynes

I have no way to express how insanely jungle-like and overgrown my tomato bed is at this point.  A week ago the plants were just venturing over the sides of the bed.  Today they are 18-24" on each side and growing.  I think they grew an inch while I was watering today.

And there are little probably hundreds of little cherry tomatoes, and I am pretty sure at least 3 bunches of San Marzanos, in that crazy mess of tomato plants.  Peaking their heads up in the back are my cucumbers that are finally taking off and growing baby cukes.

I actually took the photo to the right 5 days ago.  That little cuke is now 3 inches long.  Suyo's can grow 14-15 inches long.  I can't wait to taste these long, skinny cucumbers.  I LOVE cucumbers.  I love marinated cucumber salad, cold cucumbers in green salads, cucumbers in Greek salad with feta, cucumbers dipped in creamy dressing.  I have even sauteed thinly sliced cucumbers in butter and served as a side dish.  

But my favorite way to enjoy cucumbers is in a modified version of Ina Garten's Greek salad:

Cucumbers, halved lengthwise and sliced
Bell peppers, red, yellow, orange, cut into 1" chunks
Cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Red onion, sliced or chopped
Any other vegetable that marinades well such as broccoli
Feta cheese, cut into 1/2" squares
Balsalmic vinaigrette, toss and allow to sit 30 minutes before serving. 

I can eat bowl after bowl of this salad.  And my kids love it!  If only my peppers had made it.  I might just swing by the nursery and look for some plants.  I really want to grow my own peppers.

Succession Planting

Inspired by a couple of articles I read, I decided to plant the remaining tomato plants on hand.  These are the last few that I had started indoors in late February of this year.  I kept them outside in those little pellets where they turned purple and didn't grow.  I realized after planting three of them in tomato cans and seeing them double and now triple in size in 2 weeks that I will just consider the rest of my plants as mid-summer tomato plantings.  I am hoping this means I will be harvesting tomatoes later in the season after my current plants are all too tired to give me any more fruit.

Goat yard garden -- first year.  Mid-summer planting: catnip, oregano and tomatoes
Today I planted the catnip plants that I bought at a farmer's market 3 weeks ago along with the rest of my oregano seedlings in the center bed.  My remaining tomato plants went in the bottom bed where my one kale plant is finally growing. 

My 12yo son and I made bowls around all of the plants in this garden since it is on a slope and the soil was fairly hard and compacted.  Water was just running off.  Now those plants should be getting all of the water they need which is important since we haven't had any significant rainfall in a few weeks.

We were thrilled to find baby pumpkins on the vines in the farthest bed.  So thrilled.  The kids and I love, love, love fresh pumpkin in our pumpkin pies.  And with canned pumpkin getting a bad rap for possible BPA's, growing our own was a no-brainer.  

On the left are the zucchini plants.  Every morning when I walk out the door I can see the pumpkin and squash blossoms all the way from the front door.  They are so cheerful, as though they are laughing and dancing in the sun so happy to just BE.

To do: buy broccoli and bok choi seeds to plant in the lettuce bed that the dog destroyed.

Our bleeping dog decided to destroy the lettuce and garlic bed.
Bad! Bad dog!!!

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