Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bees

I have noticed lots of bees, wasps, and flies around my garden this year. I haven't ever noticed so many flying insects out there. I do know that this is a sign of a healthy garden and also good to welcome pollinators. I snapped this picture of a bee workin' a cucumber flower.




And speaking of cucumbers, we have lots around our house. If you like fresh cucumbers, come over for your fill. This is my harvest from yesterday, notice the huge cuke on the right. I hadn't noticed it til last night, sheepishly growing away under the leaves. Also a few tomatillos starting to ripen. Now I just need my roma tomatoes to turn red and it will be salsa time.

And here is Gracie playing in the yard last night. I can't beleive what a little climber/monkey she has become. She is more adventurous and willing to climb than Sean was at her age. She climbed right on to Sean's motorcycle last night followed shortly after by a fall. Suprisingly, she didn't even cry.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Basil, Lettuce, Mint, Oh My!

After watching my mint grow in slow motion, I decided it was time to take action. When I originally planted the mint plant, I had concerns that the potted planting may result in soggy soil. I didnt even realize that the pot had no holes on the bottom for water drainage. This past weekend I dug the pot up, drilled holes in the bottom for drainage and put a pot filled with rocks underneath to ensure good drainage. I think the mint plant is responding already as it seems to have grown as much in the past two days as it has since I planted it. Here is a picture taken in the middle of the process.
The fall lettuce I planted a little over a month ago is about ready to begin harvesting. Nice timing since the spring lettuce was getting pretty spotty due to bolting (going to seed). I found heat tolerant, slow bolting buttercrunch lettuce at the store for the fall planting. I wasnt real sure whether I could get it to sprout with such warm weather but sowing directly into the soil is a success.
A week ago I decided to plant the seeds leftover from the spring lettuce planting since I had such success with the buttercrunch. Already, the seeds have sprouted and are taking off. I expect to have lots of lettuce to eat in a month or so.
The basil continues to grow like crazy, getting close to matching the size of last years basil plant. We continue to cook with lots of basil but cannot come close to using it all. Please come by our house if you would like a stalk of basil to use when cooking. We found that cutting a stalk off and putting into a glass of water next to the stove works well as it reminds us to use it and will keep fresh for some time.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Speeding

Over the weekend I got to spend more time in the garden checking out the growing progress. It appears that the pepper growing process is now speeding along. I have tons of fruits set and some that are close to ready. Here is a close-up of a jalepeno just setting, you can barely see the green part of the pepper coming out of the flower.
And a picture of a bell pepper plant just beggining to grow. I have lots of fruits on these plants as well.

This is my harvest from Saturday. I'm getting to the point where I need to take a basket to harvest everything. We had lots more to pick on Sunday.
And to finish off the post, a picture to show the results of speeding on your favorite downhill mountain bike trail. I got a little too excited Friday while riding and took a decent fall, resulting in an ugly bruise on my side that hurt like hell the following day.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Slow Growing

There isn't much new to report from the garden. I'm pretty disappointed in my tomato and pepper plants this year. Of three bell pepper plants, I have only had three fruits. Jalapenos have been slow going but seem to finally be setting fruit. I will post some pictures of the tiny jalapenos and document the growing timeline.
In the meantime, here is a picture of a tiny cucumber. Still getting about one cucumber a day.

I found a great book at the library recently with information on growing, harvesting, cooking and storing many types of vegetables. The book suggested putting cucumbers in ice cold water immediately after cutting, leaving a little bit of vine, then storing in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. I have used this method a few times now and it seems to work great. Storing them otherwise leaves the cucumbers rubbery and dull looking after one day.


And a picture of Sean eating a cupcake at our friends Pioneer day party. Thanks to Emily for the delicous cupcakes and to Sean for making a big mess of Scott and Becca's porch.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Trellising

I thought I would try trellising some of my vine veggies this year since the supplies were on sale at the hardware store. This is the starting point, I have a feeling the cucumbers will take quite well but not so sure about the squash.

Here is a picture to show the progress of my lettuce (you can barely see the sprouts in the wet soil). I planted it about 3 weeks ago using buttercrunch seed that is slow to bolt and heat resistant. I wasn't too sure if I could get them to sprout in the hot Utah weather but it seems to be coming up well. My other lettuce is about completely gone as its all bolted. Im looking forward to more fresh lettuce through the fall.



Im starting to get concerned about access to my garden. The squash, tomatoes and tomatillos are starting to grow together and cover my paths. I will have to continue being vigilant in pruning to keep things from getting out of hand.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Holy Cukes

The cucumbers are here. Averaging about one a day, tasty!

I have so many Tomatillos on my two plants. Come harvest time, there will be plenty. This is the first season I have grown Tomatillos, I'm looking forward to using them.



Dinner! I made a stir fry last night using the vegetables from the garden shown below. It was delicious, the Kung Pao peppers(stringy bean looking things) added just the right amount of spice. And I love saying "Kung Pao bery good".

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Kids, stay away from that gnome!



My new gnome. I started thinking one of these might be appropriate in our garden since we have so few sex offenders in the area. And the fact that he was only $5 made it a done deal.



We've got too much zucchini, this is the harvest from two days. We recently had a dinner which solely consisted of Zucchini casserole.


Sean not wanting to show off his new "skateboard guy" shoes that Scott and Becca gave him for his birthday. He loves them and has blisters from wearing them so much. Thanks Peters'


And a cute picture of Gracie who is quite full of personality now.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Killa squash and Slow growing mint

Zucchinni and yellow squash plants a few days ago. Notice the size change in such little time. I think the stuff grows inches overnight. My nightmares involve disturbing visions of our house being completely taken over by the vines of summer squash. And they continue to take over anything in their path. I am now having to "prune" leaves as they rob the sunlight from nearby plants (see pepper plant in picture).


A close-up of my mint plant. I planted it in a pot in my garden to contain its roots since they will take over a garden if allowed.



Yes, that's duct tape you see on my pot in the picture above. When I pulled this pot off the shelf in the garage, I noticed it was cracked in many places. After contemplating throwing it away and buying a new one, I decided the gray do-it-all could solve my problems with 1 foot of its handiness wrapped around the top. Yea, yea, I'm a cheap ass I know.

This is another picture of the mint plant following Sean's birthday. Notice the tomato cage protecting the mint from Sean's birthday toy. I sure wish that damn plant would grow as vigorously as it's supposed too, then I would have a reason to make mojito's.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fast Forward

This picture was taken on July 5th to show my first zucchini harvest. And the lettuce continues to come in droves. Lots of chives and the basil plant was just starting to grow like crazy.



A picture of a salad for dinner. We probably eat salad with dinner at least 5 nights a week and we still can't manage to eat all the lettuce and spinach we have. (notice my love for croutons)


This is my first yellow squash harvest of the year on S&G's mom birthday, July 13th. Fitting since she refuses to eat the yellow goodness due to its "warty" texture.



And I will clost this post with an excellent picture of my brother in law, Elliot, who was nice enough to visit us for S&G's mom birthday.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rewind

I am posting these pictures to show what my garden looked like when I began in Spring 2008. I will follow with current pictures of the garden and my harvests.

The pictures shown on this post were taken June 18th, 2008. As you can see, the lettuce was in great shape at the time and you can barely see the squash that was planted 4 weeks prior in the background.





Picture of a tomattillo plant the same day. Planted same time as squash and really growing. At this point, I'm already concerned that it may take over my garden.





This is a green bell pepper. Already a nice size pepper on the plant in mid June. Ive never had much success with producing volumes of bell peppers and certainly never had any this early in the year. Im hoping this is a sign that I will get lots of peppers this year.

Thats all I'm posting for now. After a few more pictures showing my initial harvests, I will begin showing the current state of my garden and all that its producing.