Tag Archives: tomatoes

in the garden

We have been very dry here for nearly 3 weeks, until yesterday when a glorious long, not-too-intense rain fell.  It has made all the difference.  And, more rain is expected for the rest of the week.  Most of these pictures are from just before the rain.  All of a sudden the peas have started to fill out, the fava beans are ready to pick, and the potatoes are thankfully so much easier to hill.

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The peas grew what seems like 6 inches while I was away on a retreat last week.  This week they are filling out those pods, and Hythe and I picked enough for the him and his siblings to eat for supper last night.  Such a treat!

The potatoes also shot up in the last week, and I have been trying to get them all hilled.  Since it is a bit of a tough job, I usually do one row a day, but with the dry soil, it was even more physically challenging.  I got the last row and a half done after it rained yesterday.  Next job is to mulch them all with straw to make up for the less than adequate hilling (they really need to be hilled twice, and I always plant too close together to get 2 good hilling jobs done – but I get more potatoes per area and I’ll make up for it with the straw).  We also have potato beetles, but Hythe and Steven and I go out and pick them off and drown them.  The boys love to do it and take the job very seriously.

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All the spinach is done now.  The warm weather caused it to start bolting. I got a last big harvest which I froze and will soon put that area into snap beans.

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The walking onions are starting to walk.  They are not so good to eat right now (as they are mostly stems putting up flowers), but I’ll have a few windows to get them while the new ones are young.  Their shapes are so interesting and beautiful.

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I couldn’t believe I already had a few large-ish green tomatoes on a few of the plants.  But, I imagine they will stay green for a long time.  For some reason they do that here in the mountains.  I am staking them differently than I have in the past years.  I’m going back to my favorite method after trying lots of different ones.  With this one, I stake each plant, tie it with old sheets, and prune suckers fairly heavily.  I usually end up with one or two main branches, less disease, and lots of tomatoes.   We’ll see how it goes this year!

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What’s going on in your garden?

in the garden

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Well, I nearly always find a ball in the garden because we live at the top of a hill and whenever the children play soccer or basketball and the ball gets away from them (as it often does) and rolls down the hill, they often give up the game and run off the to something else. However, the plants are going strong, though one of the gardens is being taken over by pumpkins and winter squash.  I’ve never had any luck with them in the past.  Actually, I’ve never grown pumpkins because they require so much room.  They are amazing, stretching out over everything–over the beans, through the corn, onto the lawn. Tiny pumpkins and squash are there. More squash than pumpkins, which is good because we will eat the squash and Hythe is determined we are going to have lots of jack-o-lanterns which I am not as excited about (I’d rather make pie!).

The zinnias in the cut flower garden are blazing. So vibrant and happy. It is nice to be able to bring them in the house.

We are getting loads of green beans still despite the bean leaf beetles and the pumpkin vines. And, tomatoes are ripening everyday, even though we have late blight. I made a tomato pie last night for William and I (and Anne ate a piece for lunch!). Tomato salads and sandwiches are for lunch and supper (and breakfast sometimes). Soon, I will make sauce and freeze.

We picked nearly all the sweet corn but the popcorn is growing. Sweet corn is usually a disappointment in our home garden. We get just about enough for one meal–so many ears with poor pollination, some picked too early (by little hands eager for the first sweet corn). It takes so much room, for so little result. When I checked the corn a week or so ago, I heard a loud hum and saw bees massed around the corn tassels. I was surprised since corn is usually wind pollinated. I did not know bees would gather the pollen. Any bee keepers out there with answers?

In the garden

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peas

beets

onions

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My love of gardening started with my grandfather, who farmed, and had a deep appreciation (boarder line obsession) for fresh sweet corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers–the last two especially on bread with mayo, salt and pepper. It also came from my dad (step father) who gardened during my girlhood in the back of our lot. He grew many vegetables, mostly cool season crops like lettuce and spinach, though some of which I’d never seen or heard of (kolrabi, for one). And, he never made us work in the garden, which may be why I enjoyed it. I watched what he did, appreciated the fresh produce that joined the dinner table, and those experiences gave me confidence to garden just about anywhere I lived after I left home.

This week, I got in the tomatoes, squash, and peppers, I transplanted into the cut flower garden, and did some garden bed weeding and clearing. We’ve got tiny green strawberries, and the peas (that did not get eaten by the rabbits) are blooming.

I am harvesting wonderful lettuces, pea shoots, and radishes. We can harvest the green (walking) onions, but they are starting to set seed, so I thought I’d let them go for it, and only harvest the few onions that we need. All the potatoes are up (I am very excited about that). Also, two rows of beans! I will start a new sowing this week. The popcorn and sweet corn are intermittently coming up. William hoed the new garden, only realizing half-way through that he was hoeing up the sweet corn seedlings. Might need to replant.

Also, am loving all the blooms.