Have you ever noticed how adding a few extra people can change things up? We’ve gone from a household of three to a party of six for the last three weeks.
While it’s wonderful having the MR’s folks visit and Sweet Miss home for a bit, I’ve noticed a lot more outings and a lot less work getting done around here. Playing cards, shopping, wine tasting, soccer games, and dinner parties have taken a precedent over weeding.
Thankfully, the garden doesn’t really need me to keep on growing—it just does its own thing. The string of unseasonably warm days hasn’t hurt either. The MR installed sprinklers when he built the raised beds; and with the party leftovers, the worms have been upping their output of fertilizer. Our garden is growing by leaps and bounds.
That pony-pack of lettuce from the FFA plant looked like this a few weeks ago.
We’ve been enjoying some gorgeous salads.
Just be careful to allow a little extra time when using garden lettuce. We’ve found bugs, and slugs, and ants in the past. So I usually let it soak for a bit before a thorough washing. Fresh cut lettuce will last for over a week in the crisper wrapped in a paper towel and stored in a plastic bag, and these enormous leaves are great for wraps.
With the 90+ temperatures over the weekend, some of the lettuce has started to bolt.
Perhaps we’ll have to step up the salad program and add a few green smoothies to our mornings. We’ll definitely eat the lettuce that’s about to bolt, but once it’s full-blown flowering, I cut it back and start over. A gardening book once likened bolting lettuce to teenagers with hormones running wild. The lettuce is no longer sweet and easy to eat; it’s bitter and a little wild tasting.
You’ll notice in the first photo that we put the beans under cover.
After another failure to grow peas this year, I decided we’d try protecting the beans before they even came up. The MR direct-seeded some bush beans, and the birds didn’t stand a chance against our fancy tunnel-of-protection. OK, maybe it’s just some tomato cages and bird netting, but it’s portable, effective, and free.
And now our beans are flourishing.
You’ll notice we have one lonely beet at the end. I’m hoping for more; one just won’t fulfill my beet addiction. I think we planted a few rows there, but with seeds not starting and multiple times replanting, my very detailed method of mapping out the garden has gone out the window.
The tunnel-of-protection worked so well for the beans, I decided to try it on the carrots that never seemed to sprout. The MR has a hankering for sweet, tender carrots from the garden. They’ve been a staple of our summer diet for years.
Looky there, we have carrots and an errant rock marker. Uploading my pictures, I noticed I’ve done crazy things like taking photos before weeding. I guess that just let’s you know I’m a real person with weeds, and dust, and clutter who doesn’t always think first.
Let’s talk tomatoes for a minute. Remember our walls-o-water?
You can barely see a tomato inside. Add a little time, and those plants were bursting from their protective homes.
I drained off most of the remaining water and carefully lifted the walls-o-water away to reveal these luscious, healthy plants.
I was amazed at how upright they remained. Using the support poles, I directed the plants towards the chain-link fence, and they’ve just taken off with the recent heat wave.
The broccoli is looking pretty good, too. We’ll be enjoying tomatoes and broccoli before much longer.
Next to them, the zucchini and the cucumber have also been enjoying the heat. A few weeks ago, they were doing fine.
But now they’ve doubled in size.
We bought a small zucchini at the farmer’s market last week. Rooting around amongst the leaves, I noticed that we won’t have to do that again.
Now I can’t leave this topic without heading over to the orchard. The MR surrounded our berry and currant bushes in netting this spring. It’s made a huge difference in the harvest—especially in the amount of blueberries.
Grandma MeeMee went out picking the other day and came back with a quart of currants.
I’ve made creamy popsicles and tasty braised chicken with currants, and the bushes are still loaded with tangy fruit.
Maybe I’ll have to make some tart jelly or try freezing them for some winter brightness.
Leaving the orchard, these lovely apples caught my eye.
They still have a few months before harvest; I’m not sure our little tree will be sturdy enough. We’ll have to keep a better eye on them this year. Thinning the apples per cluster earlier this spring has definitely resulted in larger fruit.
Checking on the other trees, we have a few yellow plums and one red plum, plus a few plucots. The nectarine tree which has struggled from the start with disease is actually looking better, and the grape vines are loaded with immature clusters.
In a few years, our orchard will really be something. We’ll be living off the land. OK, in my dreams, but it’s fun to grow a little of this and a little of that.
What’s growing in your garden? Are you enjoying your local farmer’s market?