Thursday, July 12, 2012

Very few weeds!

Beans, peas, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes, cukes, corn, spinach...

I'm rather proud of my garden this year. While not all the raised beds went in as initially planned, I've found my way around those little problems to create a viable, productive micro-farm for our family. The beans are going great guns, giving us about one meal worth of beans each day (for our 6 adults and two kids). The peas aren't quite as happy, but it is rather hot out there and they're definitely not a real hot-weather crop. I'm surprised they're producing anything at all, so I'm thrilled at what we're getting. 

The potatoes in their towers seem to be doing alright. We have had a plague of tortoise beetles. They're not particularly harmful, but they do eat holes in the potato leaves. So far they've left everything else alone. I've been drowning or squishing them when I see them but they move incredibly fast once they make a mind to do so. 

Herb tire, cukes and spinach, little girl's garden (to the right).
The herb garden is incredible. Tomorrow I will be cutting a lot of it down, mowing it much shorter, and harvesting leaves and such. The finer dill leaves will be minced up a bit and frozen into olive oil in the ice cube trays I just got. Joining them will be sage, basil, oregano, parsley and cilantro. The tarragon will be dried, as it has a strong enough flavor to be useful after drying.

Newly staked tomatoes.
Some of the tomatoes that were started indoors from seed have made the grade. These five plants have been struggling along, behind in their growth until just recently. Now they seem to be doing quite well, and a couple of them even have tiny yellow blossoms. I am hoping that means I'll get some tomatoes off them!

Cucumbers shading spinach leaves.
I planted these cucumbers down a long 10 foot row over five big plastic buckets. They seem to think it's a wonderful way to live, and have grown huge over the past couple of weeks. Along the shaded edge, I planted some spinach. My theory was that the big leaves would shade the smaller ones, allowing them to grow even though it was the hot part of summer. My theory has been proven - the spinach is amazing looking, happy, growing like wildfire. The cukes are insanely huge. 

Corn shoots on the sunny side.
On the sunny side of my cukes, I planted a single row of corn. It's unlikely to amount to much because corn generally needs to be in blocks rather than rows, but I figured it was worth a try. I had a handful of seed corn left after planting the big bed, so this seemed a good use of it. If nothing else, perhaps the corn will grow tall enough for the cukes to use them as a trellis!

The big corn bed
This raised bed was put in late, and I planted it with corn. If you click on the pic to make it larger, you can just see inch tall corn seedlings poking through. There's a lot of weed action going on, but I feel like I need to wait a week or so, for the corn to get bigger, before I go yanking the weeds out. Still, I'm very pleased. Next year, the left side of this bed and the right side of the pea/bean bed will have an arched trellis going over it for peas and cucumbers to climb up. This year, I just hope to have the heavy frosts hold off until the corn produces something.

So it begins...
And there it is, the very first zucchini growing. I wish the other zuch plants I had grown were the size of this one, but this one has grown HUGE. It has a dozen flowers, and this one is now growing into a delicious summer squash that I just can't wait to eat. Hopefully it'll produce a lot of zucchini, because we like to freeze grated zuch for use in the winter. Nothing beats sis's warm, fresh zucchini bread in January!