It’s time for another round of garden photos… It’s crazy how much it’s grown just in the last couple of weeks! Unfortunately these photos aren’t winning any awards, but you get the idea…
The tomato plants grew much, much faster than anticipated, and, despite being caged, were taking over and invading the walkway and each others’ space, so I bought some sturdy 5′ stakes and tied them up. I’ve read that crowding the stems can contribute to disease, but as you can see there were already some spots on the stalks before I tied them up; this will at least allow me to access them better and the fruit won’t droop. Also, I’ve had success in the past brewing a garlic “tea” to spray my plants with; it helps slow the growth of disease without the use of chemicals. If you look really closely you might be able to catch a glimpse of some of the beanstalks behind the last tomato plant; I have to say I didn’t expect the growth the tomatoes experienced in such a short time frame, so the beans aren’t doing quite as well as I’d hoped. Still, there are a few tiny beanlets on the vines, and several flowers. I’ll just need to be super careful getting to them!
The pepper plants are all starting to mature peppers; you can see the pretty orange Tequila Sunrise in the background, along with the Purple Bell plant in the foreground. Something I wasn’t aware of when I harvested my first bell pepper earlier in the month is that this particular strain of bell peppers evidently has fruit that turn purple and then mature; the first pepper I picked was green on the inside, and very very bitter. Since then I’ve seen three small peppers turn a dark aubergine; they’ve all continued to get larger, so here’s hoping the next one I pick will be tasty! You might also notice the lemon cucumber behind the Tequila Sunrise. It’s getting HUGE and setting fruit like crazy. The last time I grew lemon cucumbers (and Isis tomatoes, for that matter), the plant barely grew at all and only set a handful of fruit. Now it’s bursting!
The squash bed is full of life, too. The largest artichoke plant has a TON of small chokes on it, and I just saw my first choke on the second plant today. The biggest squash plant has leaves more than a FOOT across! We also just harvested the first patty pan squash – you might be able to just see it in the photo. The malabar spinach is climbing its trellis and there are a ton of small flowers on it. Truthfully I haven’t harvested any spinach; I think I’m just too interested in what it’s going to do next!
The front of the house is coming along nicely; the big plant on the left is a butternut squash, grown from seed planted in May. Unfortunately none of the pumpkin seeds I attempted to grow took root (although I did plant seeds – again – for Jack Be Little pumpkins in a big pot in the back yard last week, so we’ll see if those sprout), so I finally broke down and bought a Magic Lantern and a Casper. That’s the white one in the middle. I know that the vines will eventually intertwine and it’s a slightly small space for three winter squash, but I love the look of a big mess of vines (the watermelons look fantastic!).
And the watermelons? Best idea we ever had. Every night we hear people walking by commenting on how big they’re getting – and several of our neighbors have commented to us that they love looking at them! The yard is green and pretty – the vines are taking up almost the whole side – and there are currently four little melons growing like crazy. Literally every time we go outside it seems like one of the melons has grown an inch or more. I am hopeful that the biggest one will be ripe in time for our July 4th dinner with friends, but since I’ve never had luck growing watermelon before I’m not really sure I’ll be able to tell! The last watermelon I planted ended up with a single softball-sized fruit that rotted and split open instead of ripening, so I’ve already succeeded with these two!
Like I said, we’re having friends over this weekend, to eat in our garden. And eat from the garden; we’ve got pickles from my first-ever batch this week, and we’ll have a salad, complete with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and chive flowers (YUMMY), even if nothing else is ready yet. So exciting!
Today’s harvest: 5 lemon cucumbers (the two largest went to our former neighbors and friends, B & D), a beautiful white patty pan summer squash (these taste similar to zucchini but are actually a little milder, to my taste… I’d never had one before I met my husband but his grandfather used to grow them and they’re a favorite in his family), two artichokes, and a couple of little orange Sungold tomatoes. I’ve been hoarding these so that we have enough of them for Sunday’s dinner!