Saturday, July 8, 2017

A Peek in the Garden

You wouldn't think the garden needed any more rain than the frequent amounts of precipitation we've been getting quite regularly, but the thunderstorm that dropped an 1-1/2" of torrential rain (in about 10 minutes) on us this past Thursday seems to have given the plants a huge boost.


I harvested our first broccoli (the one pictured above) yesterday, and we had it for dinner last night with roast beef hash.  So good!  This head wasn't as nicely formed as the others growing nearby are, but it needed to be picked.


A couple of weeks ago I mentioned I was having trouble with chipmunks eating the blossoms off all my pansies.  That problem was solved with the (ahem) relocation (ahem) of thirteen chipmunks.  Now we've got a red squirrel (or seven) who munches on the leaves of my begonias in the window boxes.  What's lacking in his diet that he feels the need to dine on my begonias? 


There are quite a few blossoms on my cherry tomatoes.  I'm really eager to have the red, little nuggets as an addition to our daily great big bowls of salad.   The leaves on this plant look dirty because I just staked it up yesterday after it was pounded into the mud by that thunderstorm that rolled through.


I put this wooden arbor trellis in one of our raised beds and planted my pie pumpkins on either side of it.  (I'm embarrassed our grass is so long and untidy but having so much rain makes it difficult to find a time to cut it when it's not soaking wet.)


The idea is for the vines to grow up either side and over the top.  I'm sure they'll need a little encouragement (bondage?) to start their climb when they get a little bigger.


I may have inadvertently done a good thing.  ('Smagine that!?)  This jumble of huge leaves in the raised bed (picture shot diagonally between the two cold frames) shown above is cauliflower.

Year before last I had a great crop of cauliflower, but tying the leaves up and over the heads to encourage nice head formation is a bit of a pain.  So last year I found an heirloom seed for "self-blanching cauliflower."  It may have been just a bad year for cauliflower (or who-knows-what), but each and every cauliflower went to see on me before forming a decent head.  No harvest at all.

I jettisoned that seed and planted my old stand-by again this year.  And I planted very intensively.  Maybe too intensively.  I was sure I'd put the plants so close together that they would never have a chance to develop.  However (ta-dah!), the plants have grown to be so lush and healthy that the leaves are totally "self-blanching" the heads themselves without any intervention from me.  Super!  I'm looking forward to what looks to be a good crop in the not-too-distant future.  Once again:  In gardening there are no failures, only experiments!


Lastly, I made our second real picking of strawberries yesterday.  Thirteen pounds of huge, sweet, juicy berries we've been eating by the bowlful.  And in smoothies.  And freezing for use after the season ends.  Yum!  Jam is next on the list.

Yes, our season is much slower and later than most of yours, but with patience (of which my dear husband will tell you I have very little) we do get results.  Most of the time.
 

19 comments:

gld said...

Well your patience seems to be paying off. The berries look delicious. I will be interested in the results of the intensive planting of the cauliflower.
Sounds very good.

You may have to consider nets of some sort (pantyhose?) to support the pumpkins when the go up the trellis.
I read that somewhere.

Good luck.

Mama Pea said...

Glenda - I took another peek at the developing cauliflower heads this afternoon before coming in to start dinner and there was only one that looked as though it might be getting too much light. I broke off a leaf and put it over that one like a hat.

Yes, I've read that when you train small pumpkins up onto a trellis they sometimes need support. I'm not sure bags made of pieces of my old pantyhose will add much in the way of aesthetics to the landscape (!) but I'll do what needs to be done for those pie pumpkins!

Michelle said...

Our tomatoes are sadly in need of support, but I'm getting no help in that from the DH. At this point putting cages over them will result in much loss of plant, blossom and green fruit, so I'm going to have to think of something else.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

I've never grown cauliflower before. You look like your going to have a big harvest. I'm really the only one who genuinely loves it. I'm curious to see how those pumpkins do and if they will climb up the arbor. -Jenn

Rain said...

Wow, look at that broccoli! Mine hasn't grown at all! Oh wait, I didn't plant any tee hee...wish I had though...next year! I hope you get a great cauliflower harvest! That's another veggie I want to plant. The prices are insane for broccoli and cauliflower at the market...likely why we don't eat those as often as we'd like. Oh those chipmunks...if they go near my strawberry plants this year...Tomato land is starting to show bits of yellow here too. I can't wait for them to grow!

Mama Pea, how do you have strawberries now? Are those from plants that are perennial? Mine just never came back and the seeds I planted at the beginning of June are really stalling.

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - There are some tomatoes that produce better if they're NOT staked up. They are the determinate tomatoes, usually bush tomatoes, smaller and bushier as they grow. They don't want to be pruned or have the suckers removed. They're happier if they are allowed to flop down and "crawl" over the soil. To keep them cleaner and avoid rot because of being on the soil, lay mulch for them to be on.

The indeterminate tomatoes which are most cherry-type and nearly all heirlooms want to be staked or tied to a structure like a cage. How about putting a piece of cattle panel or fencing right up to one side of them and tie them to that? They can be pruned drastically removing suckers for a more prolific harvest. If they're pruned they'll be easier to train to your makeshift support.

You could look up the variety of tomatoes you have planted to find out if they're determinate or indeterminate.

Hope this helps a little.

Mama Pea said...

Jenn - I have a wonderful recipe for Cheddar-Cauliflower soup that works well with frozen cauliflower so I'm eager to get some put by in the freezer. We also like it raw in salads or on a raw veggies tray with dip.

Yepper, it's gonna be interesting to see if I can get the pumpkin vines to "reach for the sky!"

Mama Pea said...

Rain - You are such a kidder! (Also a fibber!) ;o)

Yes, the strawberries are perennials. I've never planted them from seed. (You're a brave girl!) Have always purchased the plants and although "they" say you need to replace your bed every 2-3 years, I've been able to keep my plants producing well for 6-7 years. I really have no idea how you would go about getting a viable plant from a seed. I'm guessing it might take more than one year??

Michelle said...

It helps a LOT – thanks!

Michelle said...

Our little bed is at least eight years old and sadly neglected except for watering . . . and I've put 30 pints in the freezer this year!

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - Wow! Methinks your strawberries are very happy in the strawberry growing climate in which you live!

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - You're very welcome!

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Your garden looks fantastic! Incredible what a rain shower or thunderstorm will do what regular watering will not.

I am thinking of going to a local strawberry farm this weekend to pick a basket or four. All depends on the weather!

I have grackles that come and top all the heads of my marigolds. I don't know what it is with them and marigolds. They do this every year and every year I plant more. I have pinwheels everywhere now. I am sure my neighbors think I am a circus or something....

Susan said...

That broccoli looks wonderful! I might venture into broccoli-growing next year. Your garden looks amazing, as always...

Little Homestead In Boise said...

Look great! And the grass does help keep the soil cooler :)

Choo Say said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mama Pea said...

MrsDM - You're so right! No matter how much you water the garden, an honest to goodness rainfall does more than the alternative watering ever can.

I know it's illegal to shoot grackles, but about the third or fourth time I had to plant more marigolds (one of my favorites) . . . well, something might happen to deter those rasty birds! ;o)

Mama Pea said...

Susan - I harvested three more heads today. Rain forecast for tonight and tomorrow so maybe that will make more of them size up. We love our broccoli!!

Mama Pea said...

LHinB - Please don't tell my husband that. He dislikes mowing the lawn and that would only give him another excuse not to do it! ;o)