Monday, July 28, 2014

"July 28, 2014 Garden Update......"

I decided since I was out in the garden picking green beans today and tying up Sugar Baby Watermelons, I should take photos for a "Garden Update".  :)

The 2 varieties of cherry tomatoes are growing very nicely but are not setting many fruit, although there have been hundreds of blossoms.  Perhaps the cooler temperatures have had some effect on this?


I was able to pick a few strawberries from these plants, but the majority of the berries disappeared......"I believe", with chipmunks.  The 3 blueberry bushes have ripening fruit on them......hopefully, I will be able to pick them before the chipmunks are aware of their ripeness.  :)


Here are several Summer Squash in planters.  I have been able to get a few squash from them but have had some blossom tips wither and die.  I'm not exactly sure what the problem has been but since I have watered the plants less, they seem to be setting fruit better.  I must have been giving them too much water for the cooler nighttime temperatures and the days weren't hot enough to require the plants to drink it up quick enough?


The broccoli is growing nicely but no sign yet of any heads......


In this 2' raised bed I have a variety of plants giving us produce.  The Zucchini and Summer Squash plants are doing well, although I think the cooler temperatures are slowing the production down.  As you can see, I am blaming the cooler temperatures for all of this.  ;)  I was, however, able to pick enough at the same time to make a batch of my cousin Barb's Zucchini Relish.  I will be able to do that again within the next few days, too.

I have cut numerous kale leaves, making seasoned kale chips in the dehydrator, and today, picked a bunch of green beans for tonight dinner.  I am thoroughly enjoying being able to pick from the garden and eating the produce the same night.  :)
 

I haven't grown watermelons in years but thought I would attempt to this year, choosing the variety, Sugar Baby.  I also thought I would try trellising them, giving the melons support by tying the melons up in old shower scrungie netting.  So far, this method seems to be doing very well.


The Grasshopper population is quite large this year and they have been dining on several types of plants, but really taking their toll on my pepper plants.  I get sharing with Nature, but hope Nature remembers to share with me.  ;)


All of my tomato plants are heirloom varieties.  The few which have ripened and we've tasted have been excellent, but the plants are not as productive as I would wish.........however, it could be the cooler temperatures, right?  ;)  I do wish I had planted a few hybrids (I don't think they all are genetically modified) for a control group to see how they would have responded to the same conditions.  Perhaps next year......


This small strawberry patch gave us quite a few berries until the chipmunks found it.  The 2' tall, small spaced fencing did not deter them in the least.  I hope to build a tall raised bed soon so that I can transplant these strawberry plants in it and give them a good amount of time to set good roots before fall.  I also plan on building removable sides and top, covered with hardware cloth in hopes of saving the strawberry harvest "for us".  :)

I hope to replace all of the rest of the low raised beds with 2' tall ones this Fall, too, so they can be in use for early next Spring.  I haven't been able to rotate my plantings as I would like, so having new beds will help with that.


My other 2' tall raised bed is doing very well, too.  As you can see, my cabbages are forming nice heads, the dill is close to flowering, and the peas are on their way out.  I am purposely leaving many pea pods to mature on the vine to see how well they dry and how many shelled peas I get from these few plants. So far, no sign of sprouts forming on the 6 Brussels Sprouts plants.  OH!  The small plants in this near corner are Zinnias.  I planted the seeds quite late after getting a package free with something else we bought.  


The 4 seedless grapes are all growing well, too.  I have 2 green and 2 red plants......the green seedless seem to be growing the fastest, sending out the longest runners.


The Red Raspberries that I planted last year have grown exceedingly well, too.  Next years harvest should be quite large with all of this years new canes.


I planted these 2 Blackberries about 5-6 weeks ago and they have grown tremendously, too.  I've never had Blackberry plants before so do not know what to expect from these.  All I know now is that the canes are VERY prickly, VERY long, and still growing!


Unfortunately, I lost one of my 3 Rhubarb plants, although the 2 surviving ones are quite healthy.  I'm not sure if the leaves are also poisonous for grasshoppers, but if they are, they aren't helping put much of dent in this years population.


All of my container plants on the deck are growing well, too.  Perhaps it is because the pots heat up more quickly after a cooler night?  (See?  Back to the cooler temperatures).

Here are my pots of Basil......


Ginger......


Tomatoes, with a tiny Zucchini or Summer squash plant emerging......


And lastly, my thriving pot of Chives.  I have already trimmed these plants 2 times for dehydrating.  I just noticed the weed growing in the pot.  These photos are good for spotting what needs to be addressed, eh?



"Some Highlights of the 2014 Cherry Festival Parade......"

Don and I sat at the exact same spot for this years parade as we did last year.  AND.....we found a parking space even closer than last year, too!  Nice, eh?  ;)

Here are some photos of this year parade.......














Here are my 2 favorite entries.  :)



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"Pontooning on Duck Lake....."

Don and I were kindly asked to cruise around on Duck Lake with our neighbors, Tami and Linda, on their pontoon last Saturday.

Here is Linda......



And Tami......



And Don.......


Gracie, Tami and Linda's little dog, jumped from lap to lap to make sure we all were enjoying her attention.  :) I made sure the stern of the pontoon was watched over.  ;)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

"The Little Guy/Girl......"

This is the little guy/girl who is responsible for my putting up a "rabbit proof" fence around part of the garden.  He/she shows no fear of us until we try to get "too close".......in his/her opinion.




Then off he/she hops as far as it takes to put himself/herself out of the "threat" from us.  ;)

Since the fencing, the only "sharing" of our produce has been with the local chipmunk(s), and that is limited to the strawberries......unless the one or two squash blossoms being nipped off is because of them, too.  If they are nipping them off, I wish they would eat them and not just leave them lying next to the stems to just taunt me.  ;)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

FarmCurious Fermenting Set.......

A few months back, one of the groups I belong to on Facebook had a posting about a product called "FarmCurious Fermenting Set".  It was not available at the time, but I kept an eye on the product and was able to order it last week. (http://www.farmcurious.com)

You may recall that Don and I took a class offered through our local food co-op, Oryana, on "Fermenting".  It was a "hands on" class and we made or own quart of sauerkraut.  Because of that class, I planted a dozen heads of cabbage in one of my raised beds this Spring and plan on making sauerkraut here at home.

That little piece of background information brings us up to date on this new product that I think will be a VERY helpful in my making our sauerkraut here at home.

Here is the flyer inside the FarmCurious Fermenting Set.  It's not just for making sauerkraut.  ;)


Each set consists of 2 lids, each with its own air lock set up, which allows gas from the fermenting process to escape the jar.  I am hopeful that I will be able to find half gallon Mason jars so that I can ferment larger batches of sauerkraut than individual quarts.

I purchased 2 sets, which will allow me to ferment 4 jars of produce at a time.


Here is a close up of the lid with its rubber sealing ring, and airlock with cork (the "cork" is actually called a "bung", via our beer home brewing shop).


When in use, the lid from the airlock is removed and a small amount of water is used in the larger part of the airlock, which will allow gas to escape (via the central plastic tube through the bung) from underneath the center plastic piece, but keep any outside oxygen and/or pollutants from getting back into the fermenting area.


I am looking forward to putting these kits to good use.  ;)

Monday, June 30, 2014

"Garden Photos the Last Day of June, 2014........."

My two "Golden Grape" Heritage tomatoes in their hanging pot.


Another Heritage Cherry Tomato, "Sun Gold".


One of the 3 blueberry bushes I planted last year with several Strawberry plants throughout the bed, too.


I replaced one of the dwarf peach trees, planted this Spring, that did not come out of dormancy, with this Dwarf "Moongold" Apricot.  Also in this photo, in the background to the right, is the other Apricot, "Moonpark", replacing another peach tree which also didn't break dormancy.


An overview of raised garden beds, now behind a 2' tall metal fence.  Previously, the long, low bed was surrounded with plastic netting, which I found does not deter rabbits.  :(  I had extra seedlings of Summer Squash, which I planted in pots and meant to have on the deck, but after seeing one of the blossoms nipped off by "presumably" a chipmunk, I decided to set them behind the wire fencing, too.  Unfortunately, now I know that nothing seems to be able to stop chipmunks from going where they want to.  :(


A closer view of one of the 2 Zucchini plants in the far left raised bed.  Looks like I will be picking this one very soon!  I swear it developed almost overnight!  :)


One of several Summer Squashes "soon to be ready for harvest"......


Here is a photo of the entire 8' long, 4' wide, and 2' tall raised bed with the 4 squash, 2 each of Zucchini and Summer Squash in the back, 3 Dwarf "Green Martian" Heritage Tomatoes in the middle, 6 Kale, with Bush Green Beans surrounding the Kale.  More Bush Green Beans are to the side and behind the Squash, too......definitely being overpowered.  :)


Our 5 "Sugar Baby" Watermelons.  My "hope" is that I will be able to train them to climb the trellis and that the developing watermelons can be tied to the trellis using lengths of old shower scrungy netting, like little "hammocks".  ;)


A view of the 5 Heritage Peppers and 4 (2 each) Heritage Tomatoes......



And last but not least, in the end bed, is one of my small Strawberry patches.  The new metal fencing so far is keeping the rabbits at bay, but it does not stop the chipmunks from getting into and taking bites out of or running away with my strawberries.  My plan is to soon build a tiered strawberry planter which will be entirely enclosed with removable sides and top in hopes of protecting next years harvest.


Here is an overview photo of the other 8'x4'x2' raised bed.  In the foreground is a mixed bed of Dill and Garlic bulbs (which are not doing well), behind those and on the left are onions (a mix of red, white, and yellow), with Brussels Sprouts behind them.  As you can see, the rest of the bed is planted with Cabbages and climbing along the left side and rear are Sugar Snap Peas.  The Peas were labeled as "Bush" but I found they still needed support to climb.


Here is a close up of the "Sugar Snap Peas" showing both flowers and "soon to be harvested" pods.


On the deck we have one container of Heritage Tomatoes.....1 "Hana" and 1 "Wild Thyme", both of which are considered green tomatoes when ripe (although there might be some striping of orange, yellow, or red), and numerous pots of Sweet Basil.  Not shown are my pots of Chives and Ginger root.


If it weren't for losing some Strawberries to the chipmunks, and earlier, whole Broccoli plants to rabbits, I would be completely happy with my garden this year.  But as my cousin, Barb, says, "They have to eat, too"!.  ;)  All I can do is work with what I have and hopefully, by next Spring, "Learn from this year and work out the glitches".  :)