Friday, August 14, 2009

August 14, 2009

It appears that I treat my garden blog the same way I treat my garden... plant it, then forget about it for a couple of months.

I actually haven't been that bad at neglecting the garden itself... but once we prepared the house and yard for the summer season we pretty well let it just manage itself for a while. For June and July we were either hosting guests, or out of town on any given weekend. I weeded the garden beds every couple of weeks, and the sprinklers kept it watered when the rain ceased... but I otherwise just wanted to let it grow and figured I'd pay more attention when things calmed down in the house. About a month ago, though... I was next door and saw my neighbor's massive squash plants - which were in the ground weeks *after* mine were, yet were easily 10 times the size. I suspected then that the dirt our gardener used to fill up my garden beds this year may not have been particularly rich in nutrients, so I dashed back home and threw some Miracle Grow on my garden.

Then we had a massive heat wave, and with 109 temperatures I frankly could have cared less if the whole thing dried up and blew away... it was too damned hot to care.

The heat passed, and we've returned to a respectable Northwest rainy spell.

Ahhh... rain!

So there's my list of excuses for the lack of updates. Haven't been here, and there hasn't been much to look at anyway. Moving on to photos:

This is a new resident in the back yard... we have so far named him "The Brown Rabbit". So far as I can tell he has not disturbed my garden, but I suspect he might be eating the hostas under the bird feeder, because the deer haven't been in back all summer and yet those particular plants have been munched on in the last couple weeks. But the bunny is cute and fluffy and eats clover in the grass, so we like him.
So far.

Please excuse the messy look of the yard... but I saw the "how's the garden doing?" request from SMT this morning, and I thought if I don't run out there and take pictures NOW I'm just going to forget again. So I hauled out there with my umbrella and snapped some shots - weeds and all.

The herb garden is doing great, now that it's being watered regularly... I've chopped down my oregano twice this year (each time I got over a pound of plantage) One nice thing about our heat wave... I chopped the oregano the day before it got supid hot, rinsed it, and laid it out on a giant metal tray to dry. Then we ran away to escape the heat, and the oregano dehydrated right there on the tray in my kitchen - no need to tie it up or anything. Woo!

I haven't been cooking with chives much, so they've flowered a bit... and the light green tuft you see behind the thyme is a type of really thin-leafed basil. Regular basil gets eaten to the ground the minute I put it in the garden... but this variety seems to thrive so long as it is watered properly.

Middle of the frame at the top is a small lavender plant, who is here temporarily while we decide if we want more lavender in the front. The middle row is the oregano, once again filling in thick and lush after having been mowed down just a few weeks ago. The 4 rosemary plants are the bottom row... and they have grown like crazy as well.
I bought these to potentially replace my BIG rosemary which grows at the top of my firepit wall - if they didn't recover from last winter's odd freeze. Turns out they did recover, quite nicely, so we are up to our ears in rosemary now.

One thing I LOVE about rosemary is that the deer don't eat it. Actually, nothing seems to eat it except for us humans... so these are plants we can move to the front yard when they get sizeable enough.

The right half of the vegetable garden. After feeding my plants, the tomatoes finally started to grow decently lengthed vines, and we've even had a few ripe cherry tomatoes. The front-most leafy plant in this pic is a foxglove - we can just pretty well ignore that, (I left it in the path between the garden beds as decoration, but it didn't flower this year) The squatty little plant on the right (can you see the little yellow flowers in it?) is my zucchinni. Tiny... I know... but keep in mind, this particular plant was eaten down to the ground when I first put it in my garden... then sprouted one weak little leaf so I let it go. In the grand scheme of things, it's not doing too badly.
The big squash plants are yellow zuchhinni, which I'd planted to replace the one that was eaten and came back from the dead.

My yellow zuchinni plants are doing quite nicely now, and I picked the first two veggies from them this morning after shooting these pictures.

This is the left half of the garden, another story all together. Since this was the half that was filled in significantly by the garden guy, this is the reason I suspect his dirt was not particularly nutrient rich. Those little squatty plants are lemon cucumber plants... and they are struggling to grow. They were nothing more than a couple leaves until after I fed them last month, and I will be feeding them again this week.
My beans did somewhat OK for a while - they grew and produced enough sugar snap pea pods to collect for a side dish for dinner (however I ended up eating them as a snack like potato chips instead) The Looooong bean plant on the end is the one Gayle planted in school - and it made a respectable height before drying up.
I think I'll be pulling what's left of these plants this weekend, and maybe tossing in a different kind of bean seed just to see if I can get another bunch of plants before October rolls around.

I do have a few tomatoes getting ready to ripen... we are supposed to heat up again next week so perhaps we'll get some red ones.
It kills me that we had so much heat a couple weeks back, but my plants were not yet big enough to take advantage of it and ripen.

This is Gayle's Garden - she planted this pumpkin seed in school as well. This patch of dirt is the very back part of the back yard... it had been overrun with blackberries until we had our big wind storm a few winters back - half a cedar fell into this spot and killed everything that was growing there. Since then it has been a hotbed for weeds... and we systematically scrape them off. When Gayle's seed sprouted she wanted to put it in the yard, but I didn't want to put it in the garden beds where it would take everything else over, or potentially grow out into the lawn.
Enter the Empty Patch. We plunked her pumpkin seedling in the ground and I re-aimed the sprinkler so it would swing around to hit this spot. Now we have big beautiful leaves taking over the weed bed, and Gayle has her own garden spot.
The vine has sprouted over some of the odd ferns we have in the back, so after I took this photo I re-aimed the vine to wrap around in front of the bird on the dirt. Next year I think we'll plant a bunch of pumpkins, and turn this area into a whole pumpkin patch.

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