I've been quite absent from the world wide web this past week or so...and I've got the garden, among other things to blame. :)
I took advantage of the slowest "online week" of the year, a time where everyone is at the beach and in the backyard and on vacation. Who wants to be online when there's sunshine to be soaked up and sprinklers to run through?
Ben was on a week long trip to the Canadian Rockies with his mom and brother and I thought it the perfect time to get lots and lots of work done around the house, both inside and out, without distraction. I worked in the garden, worked on the rock wall I'm building, cleaned the basement, redid our guest room (before and after pics to come), mowed the lawn, ate the leftovers Ben doesn't like in the freezer and foraged outside, cleaned the house and also spent some time with my family. It was fabulous!
But Ben is back (yay!) and things are back to normal and now it's back to the studio and time to show you my latest obsession...the garden!
I've been training the pickles to climb the fence and they are doing quite well. I've already got a good number of little gerkin sized cukes.
I planted basil opposite the cucumbers on the outside of the fence thinking animals probably wouldn't like it's strong flavor...so far I'm mostly right.
The test being that Mr. Woody Woodchuck lives just feet away from the corner of the garden. I can't really complain or be too unhappy about it though...as much as he loves to eat veggies, he was there first and I built my garden in his front yard. He's gotten in a few times before I had the gate properly installed, but he's not too greedy. He does keep the cucumbers neatly cropped on his side of the fence though.
I heard that groundhogs also like to eat tomato plants. I think he's too fat and lazy to walk to the other end of the garden to munch on the grape tomatoes that poked their way through.
Also on the far end of the garden on the unprotected side of the fence, the rhubarb is growing quite nicely. I bought them at a church plant sale for $2 this spring and they were limp and dead...but I knew the chunky roots had lots of life left in them!
About two weeks ago I planted sunflower seeds on each back corner of the garden. Woody I think ate the ones on his side...but on the far end they are looking quite good! I planted them very late, so who knows if they'll have enough time to blossom...but the seeds were already more than two years old...so what the heck!
On the backside of the garden lies the meadow. The milkweed meadow. It was in blossom just recently and smelled so so good.
But look what I found among the leaves...a tiny monarch caterpillar! This hatchling is one among quite a few that I spotted here and there. So cute! He's got a lot of growing to do!
In the front of the garden I planted beautiful daylilies that my generous neighbor gave me. They look scraggly now...but in a couple of years they'll be full and bushy!
Some of them came with buds that just opened. They are doubles! So pretty!
I also planted a perennial garden in the front. It doesn't look like much now, but hopefully in a few years it will fill out nicely. Most of the flowers were from local plant sales and family where people were simply dividing their gardens. I thought this was a good approach because the plants they all sold and gave away were ones that would surely spread. Maybe one day I'll have my own plant sale!
I left some of the wildflowers in the flower bed. Who doesn't want a garden full of doilies?
And this beautiful flower? Well this is inside the garden fence... Potatoes! So pretty I could pick them!
And this little guy likes my potatoes too. Him and all of his siblings. I've been picking them off every morning and they haven't done too much eating luckily.
My jalapenos are forming! I only planted one flat and I'm starting to think I should have planted more....I eat so much salsa and pickled jalapenos throughout the year. My red chili peppers were planted a little late...so there's no fruit forming on them yet.
The broccoli and is looking luscious and ready to pick! I need to plant more to have some for the fall...
Grow brussel sprouts grow! I'm so impatient with these because they are my favorite vegetable and they are so slow growing! I've seen some people harvesting them in the snow!
I've already picked a handful of tender green beans...although most are still babies.
And speaking of babies...A few weeks ago I planted a second round of green beans. Some to eat fresh, and some to freeze.
The turnips are huge! I planted purple top turnips to put in my soups. Yum! I think every single seed germinated (Martha Stewart brand) and I had some serious thinning to do. I always feel terrible when I thin out veggies...but I guess what has to be done has to be done.
I've been eating so much kale it's starting to turn my insides green! I've got to pick some to freeze soon...
I've been eating fresh radishes in all my salads for more than a month now. My first supply is quickly dwindling...so I planted another short row. They popped up within days!
This section of the garden got too much manure. The ends of each row of carrots, parsnips, and onions are growing great, but the middles are bare to minimum. I've also got lots of lettuce that we've been eating and spinach that's starting to go crazy that I have to pick and freeze this week.
The grape tomatoes have been big and plump for a while now...when will they turn red? I'm so impatient! lol
Also growing where ever it wants to in the garden is lamb's quarters (also known as pigweed). It's a "super green", like kale and spinach and I've been eating it in my salads and also baking it in cassaroles...Yum! I feed it to other people too and don't tell them it's a weed until after they've enjoyed it...shhhhh!
And lastly...the mystery vines are still growing fanatically and still haven't given me any clues about their species. Either pumpkin or gourds I think...but I haven't seen any blossoms yet...which means no fruit any time soon.
I hope you've enjoyed my garden tour! It's so exciting having my very first, very own garden...it's so beautiful and delicious!!