Monday, August 20, 2012

I am absolutely growing weed(s)...


(Garden before)

So, we go camping for a week and I guess when you add it all up it was almost 2 weeks that we left the garden relatively unattended.  It rained buckets while we were gone, and when we arrived on Sunday I almost cried.

Thankfully, my grandmother, bless her, bought us a brand new pitchfork type garden tool that made tackling this mess a little less awful.

Weeds everywhere.  Vegetables, overgrown.  Dying.  Bad things happening.

I resolved we'd be there the entire afternoon, so we started at the back in the corn.

The corn was actually a disappointment, I'm going to have to do more research.  I'm not sure if it was the earwigs, or if we took them off too soon, too early, if they got too much or not enough water.  The cobs were kind of...chewy. Not sweet at all.  Ah well, a learning lesson.

I guess what *is* good about the corn was planting the pole beans beside the stalks.  I laboriously trimmed away all the corn leaves, leaving the sturdy stalks in place to discover pocketfuls of beans already growing.  Now with the extra sunlight I am expecting a green bean explosion.

(Garden after)

They were really good, had them for dinner steamed with a touch of butter and salt.  YUM!

The cooler weather and rain has also done good things for the lettuce which is sprouting nicely.  The beets, which had earlier shown promise have now dwindled again to only a few hanging on.

We've been enjoying the chinese eggplant, sautéed with garlic and ginger.

Leeks are hanging in, and will hopefully be ready for the next camping trip.  On the last one, we grilled store bought leeks, drizzled with olive oil and salt, and then dipped them in a red pepper dip.  Delicious!

We have an awful lot of space we need to figure out what to do with.  I'm thinking maybe cabbage?  Maybe resow some parsnips that didn't come up the first time?

It's time to start thinking about cooler weather vegetables.

The second sowing of carrots, onions and (1st sowing) of rutabaga are doing pretty good as well.  It took us maybe an hour on our hands and knees, meticulously pinching every. single. weed. from that bed. Sore back? Yes.

 The tomatos...ohhh the tomatos.  They needed a serious amount of TLC.

We're growing indeterminate varieties, which means that they don't really stop growing.  Like, ever.

They grow and grow and grow and take over all the space.

The upside of course, is many tomatoes.  The downside is that they tend to crowd each other, and even themselves.  We went down every single plant, and pruned out all the overgrowth, as well as tried to give them a little more support as many branches were just hanging on the ground.  I think next year we should try staking them on tall poles as they quickly outgrew the wire baskets.

There were still quite a few green tomatoes, so now with the overgrowth trimmed back, the sunlight should ripen those up nicely.

We took out one of the plants, as it had given us about a half dozen *beautiful* beefsteaks and then withered away.  Thanks beefsteak tomato plant, RIP.

Now that we're getting more tomatoes that we can possibly eat in a week, the canning process begins.  The romas are kind of meh, so this years canning will probably be a mixed bag of tomatoes in jars.

Oh and speaking of things dying, the zucchini finally kicked the bucket.  I still have a mega-zucchini on my window sill but that shall be the last.  I'm kind of happy, kind of sad.  Give me a month and I'll be craving it again.

The watermelon gave us a lovely little watermelon that we took camping.  I am kind of giving up on it almost, but I trimmed out the dead parts and realized that there is still a nice vibrant green vine, so I'll leave it and see where it goes.  There is potential I guess.

 I can't even describe how many lbs of biomass I feel like we hauled out of this garden yesterday.  I was pleased though that the epic gardener across from us brought his family by and they commented on how nice and neat it was looking by the time we were almost done.

Anyway, lastly the peas have come up nicely against the trellis.  I'm kind of skeptical that we'll get any since they are an earlier season kind of thing, but hey, the cooler late summer into fall weather might be all they need.

This week, I resolve to visit the garden more before we go away again and stay on top of those damn weeds!