Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Playing Catch-up in the Garden

I got off work at noon today, and finally got to put in several hours in the garden, doing some much-needed maintenance and planting. Luckily this is the time of year when a few weeks of neglect don't mean much more than a lot of peas that need picking!

The first big chore on my list was transplanting a tray full of broccoli and cabbage starts. The broccoli that I planted out in early spring was ready to eat by the end of May, so we decided to start a whole bunch more and plant them now- this is the time of year we planted brassica starts last year, and they did great. The beds along the fence by the side of the house have been much too shaded until now to grow much, so this is where most of the starts went. I continued my ongoing battle against the huge amount of rocks and gravel in these beds, tilled in a bunch of compost, and loosened up the earth as much as I could.
(Click to Enlarge)
This bed contains some beets that have been growing slowly but steadily for two months.

The rest of the garden got a good dose of weeding, which it was long overdue for, and I also planted a couple more rows of Chantenay carrots, some mizuna, and some romaine lettuce.

We've been eating fresh carrots from this bed. There is almost nothing better than a carrot pulled straight from the dirt and washed off with the garden hose. This bed also has bulb onions, and bunching green onions at a variety of stages.

Last night Matt and I strapped the Alderman peas to the top of the fence (definitely a two person job). Their other name is "Tall Telephone," and for good reason. They had reached the top of their six-foot-high trellis and grown an additional two feet, then fallen over due to the weight of their massive vines and pods. Next time we'll know to give them even more room!

 Aldermans produce these huge shelling peas- my keys for size comparison!

Plants are amazing. How do they know how to do this? (These are my scarlet runner beans).

 These are Straight Eight cucumbers. The one of the left is clearly thriving. The one on the right (so tiny) took three plantings thanks to the slugs. They went after it again, and I built it a fortress of aluminum foil, with all the sharp edges sticking up. It seems to be doing the trick- it has finally grown a second set of leaves. It just needs another inch or two for it to be big enough for slug damage to not kill it. I WILL have my cucumbers!

Our show of Oregon pride- Marionberries!

This is the first time we've attempted to grow parsnips. They seem to be doing fine- I hope they are doing as well underground as they are doing above it. As my brother says, parsnips are easy: plant them, and then ignore them for several months until you want to eat some.

 For the first time in my own experience of gardening, my peppers seem to be doing extremely well. Every other year something seems to happen to them. But this time they are all loaded with baby peppers, and the plants look great, strong and hardy. The cilantro in the front of this bed is going nuts- I failed to plan out the timing of when it would start producing-- we have no tomatoes yet to make salsa with! We've been using some of it in curries and salads, but mostly I've been chopping and freezing it in ice cube trays and hoping that the tomatoes get going soon!

We're drowning in berries. I'm not complaining. 

The garlic scapes are just days away from picking. I'm excited for sauteed garlic scapes, and I've also really been wanting to try this recipe

It's been so good to get back out in the garden and do my work in a leisurely manner. I've been realizing that I am rushing through every task, even now that school is not forcing me to squeeze tasks into small amounts of time. I'm re-learning how to slow down, and it feels good.

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