Monday, July 28, 2008

good fences make good neighbours

As I was doing my usual bit of pottering around yesterday in the garden, a woman passing by informed me that she got the plot next to me and is getting someone to roto-till it for her soon. She also asked me to turn on the seeper hoses for her since it "needed a good soaking". Er, right. pre-installed seeper hoses coming right up... Since the initial weeding effort on that plot had already resulted in the compost pile nearly ending up on my cherry tomatoes (close to the boundary but still on my side) I thought it best to construct the wood-chipped garden pathway that the community garden requires between plots.

There are so many plants flowering right now and it is easy to just brush them off as just some also-rans compared to the vegetables. I took some pictures of the nasturtiums (munched on one while watering - very peppery!), potatoes, borage (only tried the leaves so far which have a lovely cucumbery taste) and, of course, the rocket/arugula.

The cucumbers are doing well. "Orient Express" is sporting quite a few fruits which put on several inches almost overnight and "Lemon" finally is producing little globe-shaped cucumbers (even though you have to hunt for them in the foliage at the moment). The last cucumber "Bog-standard" has flowers but I have great hopes for it.

In the overview picture, the zucchini seem to dominate the entire garden. Which is true - I am faced with the first glut of the season.

I managed to harvest good-sized bunches of mustard greens, collards and rainbow chard, plus four not-quite-baby/not-quite-war-clubs zucchinis. Considering that I still have half a zucchini in the fridge and more on the way tomorrow, I am shopping around for friends to take them off my hands (haven't stooped to leaving them on doorsteps yet...)

Sunday, July 20, 2008


The first zucchini harvest! Instead of one, I actually got two today which were of good size. In addition I also took some more rainbow chard - the last batch was delicious chopped up into some scrambled eggs.

I am still waiting for the patty pan summer squash to blossom but it seems to be putting on lot of leaves. Not as pretty as the zucchini's marbled leaves (shown on the right) but nonetheless very attractive.

I am very excited about the cucumbers, its little spiny beginnings showing. Lots of flowers also on the lemon cucumber but nothing concrete yet. Right next to the cucumbers are my mustard greens which seem to handling the hot weather very well so far. They need thinning out again, so even more greens for supper soon.

The main event of the afternoon was putting together some support for the burgeoning tomato plants. The are now too big for the wire cages and I was too cheap to buy the wrap-around ones for $4 each. Little bamboo frames and string will have to do.

All in all a very successful afternoon but it was very hot. Had to do an emergency stop cycling home buying limeade since I had run out of water. Such is life... :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Nearly there!

It's definitely summer and the great big harvest is nearly upon us. I already took a few leaves of collards, chard and mustard greens and I am really looking forward to tasting them. A neighbour gave me some spinach starts which I planted although they didn't look too happy. Still, there is the potential for even more greens in the future.

There is a pepper growing, it nearly sneaked past me! I think the variety is Nardello's and it should turn bright red. The other pepper plants are still gearing up but looking tall and bushy.

The zucchini is reaching gargantuan size and with its mottled silver leaves looks stunning. There are numerous fruit developing and there may be even one large enough to harvest this weekend. Sorry for the blurry picture, it was getting dark already.

I need to remember to plant my winter squash, it is getting a bit later than I wanted to but every time I go to the garden I forget to take the packet of seeds. Maybe I just start them off in pots at home.

I think the garden has undergone some magical changes over the last few weeks yet it will transform again soon when the beans and cucumbers are climbing up the poles. Can't wait!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

one out, one in

Today hit 90 Fahrenheit/33 Celsius, with the forecast tomorrow for similar weather. Had to get out to the garden before my lovelies would all wither and die of thirst.

At the fence, my helping committee awaited me. This time I wisely only let two in at a time. When one of them had to go, another one was allowed in. A little boy got quite upset that he didn't get to help water. I'll look out for him next time.

Somebody has finally started on the plot next to mine, in fact they cleared it of most of the weeds. Unfortunately, some of the pile ended up on my plot and on top of some of my vegetables. No lasting damage done but they could have put it on the other side where nothing has been done. I'm happy though that the garden is being used. I also see lots of evidence of other gardeners finally getting a move on.

A few updates on cucumbers, tomatoes and corn.

First the corn. Still surviving! Growing, even.

The tomatoes are setting fruit. Shouldn't be long before some ripen. This shot is of Costoluto Genovese but I also spotted a few smaller ones on, I think, Early Girl and Velvet Red. The plants are growing so fast and so big I may have to get some cages for them (Back - lie down - shoo! /dork).

The cucumbers are now nearly reaching the netting (well...stringing) and so are most of the beans. I just have to get them through this mini-heatwave. The lemon cucumber is nestled between some of the tomatoes so it is slightly more shaded and has started to flower.

All these pictures were taken before watering so it looks a bit dusty. Things are hanging in there rather nicely. I may start harvesting some more greens at baby stage before they bolt almost immediately. I am letting the broccoli raab and the arugula (aka rocket) set seed to save me buying more for a later sowing. The zucchini still amazes me - how can a plant grow so much overnight? The borage I planted alongside to insure extra pollination is also keeping up with it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

children of the corn

I showed my pictures of the lonely corn to tomatowoman@work. She politely asked whether I knew the saying "knee-high by 4th of July". I said No.

After that conversation I saw some sweet corn in the local Fred Meyer. They went in yesterday and seem to be doing ok. I decided to go for a close staggered row planting, to ensure plenty of pollination. At least they reached ankle-height now and have company in their misery.

I keep forgetting to take my camera but everything is growing like mad, especially the zucchini. The warm but not too hot weather and the occasional thunderstorm down-pour did wonders. Toxicfingers was very surprised when she visited. I will try and take some pictures this week (hot weather and dry spell forecast so another trip to garden soon).