I haven’t posted anything about what’s growing lately and reading other bloggers’ reports has inspired me to put together a little update. In general, I have to say I’m pretty pleased with the way most of the garden is progressing at this point. In fact, it’s been a few days since I took most of these pictures and the change in that short time is amazing.
Starting at the entrance, most of the herbs are doing well. The Greek oregano has been blooming like crazy and is encroaching on the lemongrass and fernleaf lavender at its sides. The latter has been a disappointment and I wouldn’t buy it again. The leaves smell more medicinal than the French lavender I grew last year. Across the path the potted mint is going strong and has contributed to a number of refreshing Mojitos already.
The various chilis and bell peppers have begun setting fruit and it’s developing quickly. I hope the sunflower fence fills in soon. These are right by the main path and dangerously visible at the moment.
The tomatoes are blooming and I’ve seen bumblebees around so it’s no surprise they are also setting fruit. My plan to prune less and grow bigger plants is resulting in a lot more tying. I’m going to have to cut up more shirts soon.
The bush and pole beans are growing and flowing all over the place now. My fears of another Mexican bean beetle invasion haven’t been realized so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. To my surprise all of the tiny parsley seedlings I set out next to these beans all survived. They were being overgrown so I tied the beans back a bit. I hope to have some for tabouleh and some to lure black swallowtails.
The Sugar Snap peas have grown to the top of their five-foot trellis and I have to pick at least every other day to keep ahead of them. We’ve been munching on them almost daily and I’ve had enough to take a few small bags in to my co-workers. I probably could have frozen some but they’re so much better fresh. This winter I’ll probably wish I had.
Recognize this flower? Its shape and the fact that we’re in the legume portion of the tour are clues.
These are the peanuts the Co-Conspirator requested. They’re looking OK but I was expecting more growth at this point. Maybe when it really heats up. Something, possibly a coyote or one of the Sandhill Cranes that wander the gardens, dug around between a couple of the the plants twice but now seems to be leaving that spot alone.
In the Miscellaneous bed the leaf lettuces and spinach were bolting so I pulled them out and hauled them to the compost.
The Romaine, on the other hand, is just heading up and still tastes great. We’ve been eating a bit at home and I’ve also shared heads with my colleagues. This one is definitely going on the “must grow again” list.
At the end of this particular Miscellaneous bed the blueberry bushes are starting to set some fat fruit. I put some sulfur somethingorother on the soil to try to acidify it again. The telltale chlorosis showing in the leaves here means the soil has gotten too alkaline again, a perennial problem in our area. I’ll be putting a tent of row cover over them soon to protect them from birds.
In the next Miscellaneous bed the oca has been a real disappointment. Probably only half, at most, of the tubers sprouted and only a couple of those are sending out any runners to speak of. I may dig up the unsprouted ones and see what condition they’re in.
Next to the oca, the Bush Delicata squash is doing much better. It got its first flower this week. I love this variety. It doesn’t sprawl all over, it produces fruit that are just the right size for two people, and they store well for comfort-food winter meals.
At the poles surrounding the Bush Delicata the Malabar spinach is taking its sweet time taking off. Maybe it’s also waiting for hot weather. This is the only one of the first transplants to survive so I started another round that I set out last week. I tasted a leaf from it and thought it was spinachy enough to keep trying to grow it.
In the next Miscellaneous bed the bush cucumber is slightly ahead of the Bush Delicata in the Bush League contest. Little spiny cukes are forming and the leaves are still free of mildew despite the wet weather we’ve been having. Fingers crossed.
The carrots are coming along, at least the ones that germinated. My old Danvers Half Long seed must have been too old (hence the expression “old Danvers Half Long seed”) so at this point we only have Yellowstone and Atomic Red actually growing. We pulled and sampled a few babies of each already and I’m a little disappointed that the red ones aren’t red. Maybe in time. I purchased new DHL seed and have sown a short row where some more leaf lettuce came out.
Broccoli! We actually got broccoli! My past attempts to grow it in the spring have been complete failures and fall planting only slightly better. After harvesting the main head from each of the three plants they produced small, usable side heads, too. The flavor was good, too. I guess it’s a lesson in persistence. The Brussels sprouts next to them are doing well, too.
The garlic is tall and strong looking bigger than I remember it being in the past. We’ve harvested the scapes and made a batch of hummus with them and now the leaves are starting to show brown tips. In the next few weeks they’ll brown some more and we can pull them and start curing them for storage. I’d like to note here that we are still eating from last year’s garlic crop, though the cloves are getting a little wrinkly. That probably won’t be the case next summer since I didn’t plant as much this time around. I’ll have to look at my records and see how much there was before and use that as a target for this fall’s planting.
Next to the garlic I removed the overwintered onions. They were bolting but I managed to get a tasty French onion soup out of them. In their place I dug wide holes, lined them with hardware cloth to keep out critters and planted…
Sweet potatoes! I had run into a couple of neighbors who also garden at Eagle Heights just after they had finished planting their sweet potatoes. When I mentioned I’d never grown them, the next thing I knew I had a few starts, some advice and was making wire cages. I love sweet potatoes so I’m excited about the prospect of harvesting my own.
The Spanish onions are starting to fatten up. Like the garlic, we’re still eating out of last year’s crop. Also like the garlic, I think I’ve planted less than last year. Perhaps in time I’ll get the numbers properly recorded so I know just how much to grow to get us through a year. Excess of most crops is good, though, because then there are more opportunities for cooking or canning special food projects.
The leeks are starting to look like leeks at last. For the longest time they were just green strings but sometime in the last month when I wasn’t paying attention they put out some flat, leekish leaves. I’m growing them in a cedar box that I intend to slowly fill with compost to see if I can get them to grow long and white.
In the next bed over, the potatoes are also growing in their boxes and they’ve already passed the tops. I probably could have put on another section and should make one to be ready next year. This is my second attempt at burying potato plants as they grow to get them to form easily-harvested tubers aboveground. Last year’s try didn’t work so I did it differently this year, gradually adding the leaf mulch/compost as they got taller rather than burying a whole plant.
Can’t wait to see if it worked and I may not have to wait long since some of them are starting to flower.
This brings us to the end of the tour at the sunflower fence, growing into its job of discouraging poachers. If you’ve read this far, I thank you for staying. I enjoy reading about the progress of others’ gardens so I believe there may be someone out there who feels the same. Please return your audio guides here and exit through the gift shop where I’m sure you’ll find something to take home with you.