I consider myself an amateur but enthusiastic gardener. Gardening lets
me escape my day-to-day work of programming and computer work.
Blogging about it lets me keep track of what worked and what didn’t.
Flowers just, but I would much rather grow something I can eat. Our
veggie garden is roughly 25×25 feet, and we have or are planting a
blueberry plot, strawberries, raspberries, grapes and apple trees
around the yard. I don’t consider myself a foodie or organic, but I
like good food and natural processes and products when possible,
effective and cost effective.
September came and went without a single update here. We have nearly a dozen pumpkins sitting in the basement waiting for halloween. I thought this one was all the way orange — the bottom half was hidden in a thick jungle of leaves.
We have been using basil throughout the summer, but it was finally time to pick it all. Well, half of it. The other half ended up being lemon basil which isn’t what I wanted for pesto.
I picked all the leaves off and blended them with a little bit of olive oil and a little bit of salt. It’s delicious! We didn’t add the garlic or pine nuts yet, since it was headed for the freezer and the nuts supposedly don’t freeze well.
For a while we’d pick about this many tomatoes twice a week. We only got one ear of corn.
The garden is now all but done. There are some big fat mortgage lifter tomatoes still green on the vine but it’s anyone’s guess if they’ll ripen before the frost gets them.
Mostly I’ve just been studying and working. I did take two days last week and went duck hunting for the first time ever. I didn’t get any ducks, but I had a nice time. I went up to the Carlos Avery wetlands management area near Wyoming, MN. Duck season re-opens next week, hopefully I’ll get a chance to go out again and actually get something.
Both the big garden in the back of the yard, and this small garden are all out of sorts. I have taken on a couple of extra consulting jobs to save a little extra money before school starts, and the garden got the short end of the stick.
This morning I started working on catching up. Here’s the small garden as of this morning. The grass in the front-right is where Sophie threw a handfull of grass seed into the carrot plot. The bare spot front-left is where the onions were supposed to be growing.
We have been eating carrots for the last two weeks and they don’t seem to be growing any more, so I decided to pick them all, clean out the weeds, and plant a new crop of spinach.
Here’s the carrots, we also found a few tiny onions that were struggling to live.
Our initial crop of spinach went to seed really quickly, probably because of how hot it was earlier in the summer. We only got a couple of small salads out of it. I cut some of the dried seed stalks and put them in the basement near the dehumidifier where it would be relatively cool and relatively dry.
Today when I went to use them they were nice and crispy. It was and simple task to rub them off the stalks into a bowl.
I rubbed them off into a bowl, winnowed them a little bit so that it was mostly seeds, then planted them. I also planted a new crop of lettuce and swiss chard (someone gave me the seeds) along the path to the spigot.
The little garden looks pretty respectable again.
Despite the lack of attention, the garden has been doing pretty well. We have been eating as many beets as our kids can stand — about once a week. Here’s the final harvest. There’s no more in the big garden now.
We have had a couple small bowls of green beans (and purple beans), but today was the first big harvest.
We have been picking the cherry tomatoes every 3 or 4 days for the last two weeks and end up with a bowl about this full each time.
The two big sunflower in our garden were volunteers, and they were doing great at first — they grew to about 8 feet tall. The minute the seeds got ripe enough for birds to eat, the birds attacked them, and now they look like this.
I’ve still got a little bit of extra contract work to finish up next week, so I won’t even pretend that I’ll have lots of garden news. After those two gigs are done, I should have a short reprieve before school starts in September.
Beets are ready! We’ve had beets with two meals now. The first time I broiled them with crushed garlic and olive oil. The second time Caroline made glazed beets.
We’ve been picking only as many beets as we were ready to eat, in hopes that the remaining beets will grow larger.
The carrots are doing very well this year. I think it’s because 1) I tilled the ground as deep as possible and 2) we watered them regularly. Only a few of the carrots have peaked above the soil, so I think they’ll probably keep growing.
Fresh carrots are so much sweeter and good smelling than store bought carrots, the kids love them.
Evil Japanese Beetles
Japanese beetles have been attacking some of my plants. They’ve done minor damage do our wild strawberries, but what they seem to like best is the Catawba grape plant. They have left the Concord and Valiant grapes nearly untouched.
Here’s one of the worst Catawba leaves.
The presence of Leaf Galls seems to indicate that we’ve got Phylloxera too.
Between the Phylloxera, Japanese Beetles and black rot I feel very fortunate to be able to post a picture like this.
They’re not ripe yet, but they’re getting close. They’re sweet enough to eat if you don’t mind puckering up a little bit. I suspect they’ll be better next week.