What a weekend! Between all the swimming and lounging and gardening and biking and enjoying the amazing summer weather….oh. Wait.
I don’t know about where you live, but the summer weather here has been nothing short of BONKERS. 90 and humid one day, 60 and overcast the next. it is now nearing the end of July, and if i didn’t know that, I’d swear it was October.
I’ve been drinking hot tea, y’all. And not just because I like it (though, that too) but to stay warm in my cold as a witch’s you-know-what house. Because I refuse to turn the heat on in JULY FOR CHRISSAKES, no matter how frigid it gets in here.
The silver lining is that I found a new tea love: Gypsy Teas Chai varieties. The Chocolate is my favorite so far (surprise, surprise) but I haven’t tried the Caramel yet. I have high hopes though.
Despite all the time I devoted to keeping myself warm by crocheting under a blanket (I‘m a hipster, remember? Not old.), I did manage to brave the blustery weather (I’m not kidding – the high was 57 on Saturday!) to get some garden photos and even snagged myself some cucumbers, summer squash, and lots of herbs before my fingers lost all feeling due to frost bite.
(Drama queen? Me?)
Herbs. Lots of herbs were harvested. Some were frozen, others went into kale hummus (with kale harvested from the garden, obviously), and some was eaten in various salads, stir fries, and on top of grilled veggies.
All were delicious.
As was this, my first summer squash of the year!
I have been trouble shooting what appears to be Blossom End Rot in my summer squash plants. It is either from lack of fertilization or a deficit of Calcium in the soil.
Not one to leave it to chance, I ammended the soil on Saturday with bone meal (which has calcium in it) AND spent some QT outside getting *ahem* involved in the fertilization process. Just making sure that the boy parts meet the girl parts, you know.
I was very scientific at first, using a q-tip to transfer the pollen to the female flowers, but that started to become combersome, so now I just rip off the petals from the male blossoms and rub anther all over the lady bits.
No one ever said this gardening thing was glamorous.
I started doing this all early last week with all the squash plants, and wouldn’t you know it? Science works! (Again.)
Every one of the flowers that I hand-pollinated have since grown into the beginnings of fruits – the spaghetti squashes and the summer squashes.
I’m like a plant match-maker.
Here’s the squash bed, in all it’s glory. Note that this was taken yesterday, a week after I PRUNED those squash plants. They are voracious growers!
I should have taken a photo before I munched on all the nasturtium flowers, but I didn’t. I just love their peppery bite.
Also, though you can’t see them under all the squash madness in that photo up there, but the four pepper plants I have are still fighting for their lives. There are about 4 teeny tiny flowers on them, but I’m not holding my breath.
Seeing that overcrowding there makes me really wonder why I’ve never had success with peppers…..hmmmm.
In other garden happenings, almost all the tomatoes are starting to put out fruits!
The Red Zebras (above) aren’t so much red yet, but they are getting their zebra stripes!
The Brandywine’s (above) are starting to get big and ugly, which is good. This is just one plant of FOUR of this variety, but they all have a few tomatoes on them. If this stupid weather would warm up, I might actually get some tomatoes.
Come on heat!
The ugly thing? That’s what we like with Brandywines. They are the big fat, flavorful slicers that are perfect for those caprese salads that you dairy eaters so love.
The yellow pears have started to reveal their pear shapes.
Which, again, is what we like to see. Lovely ladies with the pear shape. Tomatoes got BACK, if you know what I mean.
That mess right there is the tomato action. That’s where the pictures from above came from….within that craziness lies many baby tomatoes.
The beans are flowering like WHOA, but there’s not a single bean to be found. (BOO, beans.)
The cucumbers are vining up the ghetto trellis, and I’ve eaten a few delicious burpless cukes as snacks in the last few days. But not enough. Never enough cucumbers.
I also started to make half-sour pickles with some of the pickling cukes I am growing. They are sitting in my fridge beckoning to me right now. The recipe says to leave them for four days before tasting them, and I can already tell it is going to be a LONG four days. But worth it, if they turn out.
OH!! Remind me to tell you about my indoor winter greenhouse plans. It is ON, kids. I’ve got some fun new seeds ordered and I’m in the process of clearing out a room to devote to growing….lots of stuff. I mean, a few things. I’m trying to contain my excitement to just a few things for the first year, but that whole moderation thing has never been my strong suit.
But we’ll talk about that later.
The other nightsahde that I planted, the eggplants, are putting out some SERIOUS flower action. I’ve got 4 each of Japanese Long and….another kind (the usual boring grocery store variety that I can’t think of the name for) and all of the plants have flowers!
I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch or anything, but I am sensing some baba gannouj and some ratatouille in my future.
I hope. I really, really hope.
The cabbages are starting to produce heads! Which means: kimchi! (Not authentic kimchi, I know, but I couldn’t find any napa cabbage seeds.)
I’ve never grown cabbage before, but from what I know, this is a cool season crop, so I wasn’t expecting it so soon. Then again, I also wasn’t expecting the temperatures to dip into the mid-40s in July, and well…they did on Saturday night.
Sick of hearing about the weather, yet? Not as sick as I am of talking about it, trust me.
Watermelon radishes RULE. I’ve been harvesting about 2-3 of these a day and I throw them onto my nightly grill plate, full of whatever veggies I harvested or whatever I have in the fridge.
If you’ve never had grill radishes, you are missing out. They get really creamy on the inside and kind of crispy on the outside (if you are a liberal oiler, like I am…right Dad?) The grilling takes some of the bite out of them too, but not all of it. We like for some bite to remain.
Here’s the whole garden, in all its glory. Well, most of its glory. There are also those 8 other tomato containers and a whole porch full of herbs, but that is just child’s play compared to the beauty you are feasting your eyes on below.
Look at that kale!! I’m not kidding, I harvest about 1/3 pound of leaves every other day and it still looks like shrubbery!
The flower garden situation isn’t as exciting as the veggies. This is pretty standard for this time of year though. I go nuts on the flower gardening and talking about flowers in the spring and early summer during the mad flush of spring blooming. Then the veggies start growing and I shift my attention to them (attention whores that they are), pruning, weeding, harvesting, fertilizing….you know.
There are some flowers out there, bringing brightness to these otherwise dreary, overcast days.
I think these are double Impatiens? Whatever they are, they are beautiful and lush and bright and I can see them from my living room perch all day long. I love them.
They share a basket with these guys, too. It’s the hot pink pretty flower basket. (I have a way with naming things.)
Jerry, the man who would not let me leave his greenhouse without about $20 worth of produce and flowers and wouldn’t accept a single penny for them also made me take a couple marigolds that he didn’t have time to plant.
Luckily, I’d just dug up those frightful bushes in my front yard. I had planted a bunch of bulbs already, but they won’t be blooming until next spring so that space was in need of some 2013 flowering.
Behold, the world’s largest marigolds EVER:
Sitting right in front of those softball sized beasties, sits an old green wooden crate that I filled with a hodge podge of leftover flowers. Earlier in the spring, I filled hanging baskets and porch railing baskets with an assortment of annuals, but I had a few that didn’t really fit in there.
Black Velvet Petunias and Dusty Miller and coleus….
….and snapdragonsand more coleus.
And see that gladiola in the background? I had no idea what color that was going to be when I bought it, but serendipitously, it matches the rest of the flowers!
I wish I could could say that I planned any of the color coordination going on down in that crate, but….nope. I mean, I guess I kind of did, since I picked out the petunia and the coleus in those colors, but as for a grand master plan? Nope.
Even with the cold weather, at least I have my thriving gardens to appease my summertime desires. Now, if only it would warm up so I could have a reason to start drinking some cold brewed coffee. I’ve only had two iced coffees all summer and that right there is a damn shame.
I’m guessing that chai tea would be excellent cold also. Maybe someday it will be hot enough to find out.
Get to know my readers question of the day: How long do yo spend in the shower? I’m an in and out kind of girl. I get in, do my business, and get out. Under 5 minutes, 8 if I have to shave. I do some of my best thinking in the shower, too, but if I stay in there any longer, those thoughts fly out my ears; I have to write them down instantly or POOF. Someone needs to invent a waterproof white board type contraption for shower thoughts.