Thursday, July 31, 2014

What happened to July? - The Garden

 Raspberries were abundant all through June.
  In addition to these (about six cups in one picking) I probably picked one to two cups every other day.  Raspberries are some kind of delicious.

  Most were consumed in yogurt in the mornings or by the handful during the day.  But one batch made it into raspberry frozen yogurt, yummy, and another batch was juiced for jelly. The jelly part didn’t quite happen yet and so it might actually be more like wine or vinegar at this point – I haven’t brought myself to check.
The second week of July we had a few very hot days that dried all the berries up. There was not one single one left. But no complaints I had raspberries for about a month, with the promise of more in September. Yes, they come twice a year. What a perfect fruit.
The Echinaceas and Hollyhocks were next to arrive and have been blooming ever since.

The bees really like them, not the honeybees so much as the wild bees. When we (Katie and Jessica and I) went picking the other week we came across some kind of red echinacea which was gorgeous!!! But at $34 a pot (yes pot, not pop, although in this case it amounts to the same thing) I’ll have to hunt down the seeds and grow them from scratch.  Hopefully.  (Quick google search tells me this will be possible!)

Morning Glories have also graced us with their presence.
When I look out my kitchen window in the morning, I am greeted with the sight of these luminous purple blooms. They make me so happy. There must be something about that color, it seems to glow.

I also have plenty of the pink variety and even missed yanking down some of the wild white ones. Now they are allowed to stay as they are contributing to the overall beauty of the garden. 

Blueberries have turned blue, and I actually had to chase away one of those darn squirrels who sat there picking them off the bush and eating them. And speaking of those little tree vampires….
They have also stolen two of my tomatoes! Nasty little buggers. But I have purchased the necessary garlic to smash and rub all over the green tomatoes and to put in a bottle of water to spray over the remaining plant. Really. This works! 
One of my plants is struggling – I don’t know why.  The other seems to be fine although the tomatoes are having a hard time turning red. I think that’s the result of not enough heat and too much rain.  Some have already been sacrificed to being fried green tomatoes, which isn’t so bad either. The cherry tomatoes are doing just dandy. 
I’m starting to pick about two cups every other day with plenty more growing green on the bush.  I’m surprised by this variety, the bush hasn’t grown very tall – but it is producing like crazy.  So there is nothing to complain about really…

But the garlic… why did I purchase garlic, you ask? Because I wouldn’t want to waste my beautiful heirloom garlic (thank you Melanie!) on those little vampires.   The result is about 30 heads of garlic. One ginormous one and the rest medium and small. I am having a hard time resisting the temptation to eat the big guy – but I also want big garlic next year. So I will have to save it for planting. 
These were finally ready to harvest last weekend, so I did. Washed it well and spanned it on the laundry line to dry.

In the sad news, I think my azalea has died. No indication as to why – but possibly someone peed on it. And I really do mean a two-legged someone.  Mr. El told me he chased someone out of the yard who was doing just that a couple of months ago. And now my azalea, which was thriving! has simply withered away. I’m very sad, it was a gorgeous little plant. 

Other things are making up for the loss:
 I have made so much pesto from this stuff its unbelievable. 
And I've also got what are supposedly ground cherries?
although they look like a weed I normally have. But this is what I planted right here with a sign from the ground cherries which I started from seed. We'll see. The chinese lanterns are finally turning orange, so maybe I'll get some ground cherries yet.  (They are related).

But sunflowers…. Oh my sunflowers have bloomed this week! I’ve been looking forward to these since last October when I said goodbye to them for the season.
I have even more plants than last year! Including teddy bear sunflowers.
   This guy, when he’s done blooming should look like this:
The blooms are encouraging in that most of these came from seeds I saved from last year. I’m planning on doing the same thing again next year until I get tired of them. (snort-who can get tired of sunflowers!?)
The war on the weeds continues as I’m sure it ever shall. Rather than soak the brick walkway with water, or be extremely disciplined about running out directly after a rainstorm, I’ve decided to try a new tactic; light deprivation.  I used all of my remaining trash bags for the end of the walkway at the beginning of June, to excellent results.  Now I’m working on the other end of the walkway. I’ve heard the garden pundits talk about how when you cover the ground up like this, not only do you kill all the weeds but you also kill all of the good bacteria in the soil. In this case, I’m not too chuffed seeing as I don’t want anything to grow in that soil anyway.  But I do think I can come up with a better system than garbage bags. I’m thinking a roll of heavy canvas, exactly the size of the walkway…

As I mentioned the weather this summer has been something unbelievable. I am sitting outside on the deck as I write in shorts and shirt in perfect comfort (aside from the mosquitoes). Today's high was 80°F? This is unheard of. I did some basic maintenance, but more always needs to be done.  Maybe tomorrow I'll tackle the chinese lantern jungle and the mound of morning glories that is supposedly my mulch pile. 

And finally, I have another guest in the garden
 I'm not sure if it is the same mantis, but this one (I'm guessing) moved from my bicycle handle to the sunflowers by the porch. A very wise move, I think.

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