the garden after vacation

Garden Work

Its been a busy week in the garden. Good and bad. Many firsts to harvest, but also the concern that late blight may be just round the corner again this year. Here’s a rundown of my garden after returning from a week of vacation.

My broccoli is heading up and looking super. Don’t know if I’ve ever had such big pretty plants. I’m expecting some great big heads starting in a week or so. And its the first time I’ve grown cauliflower and the plants look really nice. Great big leaves that make the water droplets dance as when I water them. It seems heads are starting to form now under the leaves though they are not as easy to see the broccoli.

Basil is all of a sudden happy – it likes the hot weather. I am picking a sprig here and there to cut down on the flowers, and pinching off the rest of the flower stalks. Lots of dill and cilantro too.

This week, I dug my first potatoes, and picked my first cukes (an excellent excuse for a martini to celebrate!) and summer squash. The first squash for me was Zephyr, a yellow variety with a green end, very mild and soft skinned. A close second was zucchini Romanesco, third was green pattypan Starship. The Yellow Crooks will be the last – none yet. So many are ripening so fast that I am picking them very small and giving them away when I can.

Lots of lettuce this week. Oakleafs and butterheads. Big full lovely heads. My raddichio is heading beautifully and I am watching to pick my first one soon.

Last week (before vacation), I picked my first Chinese cabbage, a big full Napa head, and pulled my first carrots. On the forth, I made a yummy cole slaw with these. I served that with potato salad, made with the freshly dug potatoes, dill, and green bunching onions. First beets were a couple weeks ago.

Peas have been great this year. Mine came in early and are gone now. A fellow gardener gave me a big bag of shell peas this week- several meals. They were delicious! Rhubarb too has been yummy as always. I have had a thing about making pies this year and have made at least 6 or 8 so far: mostly rhubarb.

The borage has begun to bloom, as has the thyme, hyssop, echinecia and dahlias. Sunflowers are opening too! Beauty and productivity!

Signs of things to come are the tiny Butternut and Butttercup squashes forming on the vines. My Butternut vines have neared the top of my 6 foot trellis. Every few days I redirect the vines so they head upward. The green beans are starting to bloom and soy beans are growing fast. Leeks and onions are looking good. The sweet potatoes are growing long vines in this heat. Celery and parsnips look good too.

The last planting of seedlings that I made before vacation did not do well. I transplanted lots of beets and carrots. The carrots would have been crooked anyway (sour grapes…), but I’m sad about those beets. It was a dry week and I should have asked someone to water for me. I planted more beets on Saturday. Also planted bok choy, summer crisp lettuce, cilantro, escarole and endive.

All of the bugs that were a concern earlier have pretty much disappeared. A few (very few) squash bugs here and there. A few snails in the cabbage (I sprinkled Sluggo and picked off a few yesterday).

My recent seed order arrived. I ordered 8 or 10 packages from Johnny’s. Red and green summer crisp lettuce, a couple new varieties of bok choy, escarole and endive for fall planting, a new cuke for next year, and some more green beans to plan asap.

And the best – the tomatoes – look beautiful. I have many big green
fruits and it looks like a first harvest may come next week. Pretty much
right on cue. My usual first tomato is July 21-31. The ominous problem
is the recent reports of late blight nearby. Very disappointing.

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