The New Home Economics

Garden update, mid-August(!) edition

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This happens every year.  OK this is really only my second year with a real garden but it happened last year too.  I get to mid-August, and I walk past the garden, and I see 2 ft tall weeds, and I think “meh.”  My sense of urgency is completely gone.  Except I do still have a decent amount of food out there to eat yet.  Let’s take it section-by-section:

beets081509What’s this, you might ask.  It used to be green beans, but they are done now.  Now it’s some weeds, but it’s also three rows of beets.  They’re kinda hard to make out right now because they are teensy.  This is my first time experimenting with so-called “late season” veggies.  Supposedly you can plant some things in mid-summer and they have a short enough growing season (and cold tolerance) that you will still be able to harvest them before the winter sets in.  So I’m trying some beets and some kale (coming up a couple pics down from here).

My biggest challenge with this whole concept is that I garden in a narrow space between two two-story houses.  The sun’s angle is definitely on the down-swing now and every day my garden is getting less sunlight.  So we’ll see if this works or not.  At least I can say I tried!

beans081509Here’s the complete mess that you could call my pole beans.  Newsflash: pole beans get really, really tall.  I should have built my little twig teepees about 7 feet tall instead of 4 feet tall.  Now I have a twining, vining mess.  But it’s covered with beans.  I’m not really sure what to do now.  I think I’m supposed to just let them completely dry out on the vine, and not harvest them until the plants are completely dead.  Most people (most normal people that is) do not raise beans for drying like this because dried beans are insanely cheap, so why grow them?  I got excited about these particular beans, called “Hidatsa Shield Figure” after reading a book about heirloom plants.  No store that I know of sells these beans, so I will have something very unique to put in soups, etc. this winter.

brussels081509My brussels disaster.  This will be my second and final attempt at brussels sprouts.  I’ve been nursing these things since February, and my dreams of a brussels feast have been all but dashed.  They have a few really loose, pathetic looking sprouts on them, but my harvest will be very small if I get any at all.  On the bright side, the lettuce underneath them re-seeded itself and I may actually get to harvest some soon!

pepperskale081519Here are my loverly banana peppers.  I picked a first round of them last week and made some pickled banana peppers.  They are freakin’ delicious!  A couple more are coming in so I may try to do another pint or two.  You can also just barely see the tiny little kale plants coming in on either side of the peppers.  We’ll what happens with those.

parsnips081509Parsnips are looking good.  Once you get past the initial anxiety of making sure the seeds sprout, these things pretty much grow themselves.

onionsandweedsI can’t believe I’m showing you this, but just look at my beautiful red onions!  Surrounded by tons and tons of weeds!  😦

cuke081509On a more positive note, here is a ripening cucumber.  Growing an heirloom variety called “Boothby Blonde” cucumbers.  They are hands-down the most delicious cucumbers I’ve ever eaten.  They are SUBLIME.  Seriously.

brandywinesEven more exciting than that, MY FIRST TOMATOES of 2009!!!  Boy howdy was the wait long and excruciating.  I did three heirloom Brandywine tomato plants this year.  I really love Brandywines, even though they do have a slightly longer growing season.  And yeah, I’m fully aware of the LOTR connection and the fact that I might love them all the more, precisely because of it.

tomatojungleHere’s my tomato jungle as it looks right now outside.

3sistersFAILOh, and here’s my awesome “3 sisters” garden.  Good grief, biggest FAIL of 2009.  Reasons why it failed:

1. For the “groundcover” plant, I should have done a vining plant like pumpkins or squash.  Just because zucchini are sorta related doesn’t mean they’ll do the same thing.

2. I should have stuck with one bean vine per corn stalk.  I tried to use one stalk of corn to support 3 bean vines.  They got too heavy (and a strong wind didn’t help either) and now the corn is pretty much bent in half.  Even after Adam tried staking it up.

overgrownmessAnd here’s the whole beautiful, overgrown mess!  We’ve been vacationing a lot the past few weeks, and our drought has suddenly lifted, and everything is going CRAZY!  It’s pouring rain right now as a matter of fact.  Tomato season has finally begun, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

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