Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Garden Journal 7/1/08:
A Helpful List of What's Been Happening

First Echinacea Bloom of the Year - June 19th

Realization of the Day:
The best intentions are simply not making it from brain to blog. I just jotted down a quick list of things I've been planning to write about - there are 39 so far. And that was just off the top of my head.

The other day I came across the cute little notebook I started using last year for garden notes. Some days I even took it out into the garden with me! I didn't come close to filling it up, but I've realized that even just a sentence or two can be extremely helpful, such as the one that says 11/8 and 11/10: planted two beds of garlic. I had no clue when I'd planted the garlic until I saw that note.

Okay. So it's July (how exactly did that happen?), and since it looks doubtful that I'll get to much of that list, here's a quick rundown of what's growing and what I've been doing in the garden. I'm still hoping to write individual posts about a lot of this stuff (I've learned so much already this year!), but at least this will give me an idea of what the garden was like on the first day of July. In no particular order:

— The echinacea is blooming like crazy and the flowers are covered with butterflies and moths. The plants have begun spreading a couple of feet into the grass which is fine with me, as I'd rather have flowers than lawn.

— The spiderwort (I love that stuff!) is still blooming. And it's been busy jumping the flowerbed rock boundary, too. There are also volunteers blooming next to the compost bins, which are several yards from the original plants.

— There are only a few potato beetles left on the potato plants - thank goodness.

— The potato beetles have been replaced by Japanese beetles - more than I've ever seen in previous years. They're concentrating on the potatoes, raspberries, and a yellow flowering plant in the chive flower bed that I'm not sure I seeded last year or not (I didn't scatter any flower seeds in there this year). If not, it's a pretty enough weed to have earned a place there. Of course all wildflowers could be considered 'weeds.'

— The 17 tomato plants that went in the ground in early June have been trimmed, mulched, and are taking off.

— I refreshed, watered, and mulched the Cavendish strawberry bed the other day, and the remaining plants are already putting on new leaves.

— There are four different colors of Bachelor's Buttons blooming in the chive flower bed. So pretty! A few volunteer red poppies from the seeds my pal Betty Western sent me last year from her beautiful garden in England (just scroll down past her ever-so-helpful dogs) have been popping up, too. Plus a pretty, black-eyed Susan type flowering plant I don't remember seeing or seeding last year is big and happy.

— The 8 pepper plants in the ground (4 California Golden Wonder and 4 Chocolate - no idea when I planted them) have been mulched. They still look small and scraggly but have been putting on new leaves. I have hope.

— Transplanted 4 really pathetic looking California Golden Wonder plants into the greenhouse as an experiment. (They looked fine when I bought them, but that was ages ago.)

— Harvested both beds of garlic two days ago. Ended up with about 150 heads, mostly on the small (and disappointing) side, though some are nice and big. They're drying in the living room on a large tray covered with an enormous cardboard box (because they're supposed to be in a dark spot). This does nothing to ruin the decor of The Shack, which can only be described as scary. And cluttered. You hardly even notice the box!

— Planted three kinds of cucumber seedlings last night in one of the garlic beds. Started the seeds in containers in the greenhouse on June 12th.

- We moved 10 ewes and 12 lambs into the farmyard last week, and they've already poked their wooly little heads through the garden fence and munched down a large chunk of the comfrey plant, as well as most of the sunchoke seedlings still in containers. Serves me right for not getting them into the ground I guess. (I'm hoping to write more about growing sunchokes - also called Jerusalem artichokes - soon. Maybe after I actually plant mine!)

— Tucked one of the common thyme plants I bought a while back (when? when?) in a little empty spot next to the other thyme in the greenhouse.

- The little rosemary bush in the greenhouse looks fantastic. I used a lot of rosemary during late spring, and it really benefitted from all that pruning.

— The big, beautiful purple sage plant I bought and transplanted into the greenhouse last month has survived being ravaged numerous times by a mysterious, nocturnal something (that isn't affected by diatomaceous earth). It has about six little leaves left. I have hope - but knew I should have bought two plants!

— Trimmed both lemon balm plants way back two nights ago - the one that's been in a pot for several years (I'd put it in something bigger, but I don't have anything bigger!) and the gigantic volunteer in the greenhouse. (Still no idea how it ended up there, but I'm sure glad it did).

- The pot of Greek Oregano (which also probably needs to be transplanted into something bigger) is about to flower.

Chock Full of Chard (which really needs thinning!) in the Greenhouse

From Garden to Mouth:
(I usually say From Garden to Table, but a lot of this stuff never actually made it to the kitchen, let alone the table)

Swiss chard galore in the greenhouse! Patch on the right side from seeds I started on February 14th (photo above). Most of the left side is full of volunteer plants (which are actually doing better than what I planted).

— Ate the first tomato of the year - from a sad looking, stunted little plant still in its tiny pot! How embarrassing is that? It was the size of a small cherry tomato but probably wasn't supposed to be. Very tasty, though! I've really been craving fresh tomatoes lately.

— Have been nibbling on a few ripe raspberries. Not very many this year, and they aren't very sweet, but a few raspberries are better than no raspberries! I only got around to pruning, weeding, and mulching about 1/4 of the patch - which is at least 1/4 more than I did last year.

— Have been eating a few Maxibel bush beans (again, no idea when I planted the seeds) over the past couple of days, but last night I picked several large handfuls of them. Enjoyed some quickly steamed and tossed with teriyaki sauce; the rest will be vacuum sealed (with my new FoodSaver - we upgraded!) and frozen until winter when they will be really appreciated.

I'm probably forgetting some stuff, but this is definitely a start — and it sure makes me feel like I've been accomplishing something out there! We had a small break in the heat and humidity over the past few days, and I made the most of it.

So what's been happening in your garden? Are you totally on top of things? Incredibly behind? Inundated with ravenous pests? Already buried under a mountain of zucchini or tired of tomatoes? (If so, I'm jealous.) Do tell!

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where every homegrown bite reminds us of how much we love to garden and how much all the effort and frustration is worth it - even if it's the only bite of something we'll get for the year.


  1. I too enjoyed the first tomato of the season today. I have a small garden and very very few veggies. The tomatoes that I picked today are called 4th of July tomatoes. They are on the small side but that is ok, as I am the only one in the house that eats plain tomatoes. I have romas growing to make salsa for my son - that he will eat. I also picked a banana pepper today that I will have with my dinner tonight.
    Great blog!

  2. I'm still putting in lettuces (which I hope work since our evenings get so very cool) and more radishes. My measly tomato plants are worse than pathetic. They simple don't get enough sun so next year I'll put them in pots and can move them between morning and afternoon I guess.

    Harvest? Well, I thinned the radishes and added the greens to a salad. Not that I could taste them since they were so small. But it was the point that mattered. My OWN radish greens from my OWN garden and my OWN hands. So HA!

    I'm envious of your space and growing season. :)

  3. We have potatoes! Lovely, tasty, waxy charlotte potatoes! Our first plant produced 30! We were very excited... the best part (apart from them tasting far more delicious than store-bought ones) is that my children love to help me dig them, find them (like little nuggets of golden treasure in the soil), wash, cook and then eat them!

    We are also looking at our first zucchini (although because we are British (but 'bilingual') we'll call it a courgette) all ready to pick.

    Onions, carrots and sugar-snap peas also looking good!

    Yay! Oh how I love summer...

  4. We've also been getting 4th of July tomatoes for a couple of weeks. Small but good. They are great with our white cucumbers drizzled with Italian dressing. Had crop failures with zucchini and yellow squash so it's been a bit slow around here. (Thanks for a great blog. It's fun hearing what's going on in other gardens.)

  5. I wish I had tomatoes. July 1st is usually when I get my first ripe tomato but they are all green still. We are overloaded with zuchini's though and the past few days we have had cucumbers and greenbeans. Our lettuce is done for the season but I will be putting more in the ground later this month for a fall crop.

    I love reading your blog and I too have the best intentions of posting on my blog...I keep taking the pictures but it has been over a month I think since I have updated it!! Maybe I will have a chance this weekend! (I keep saying that ;)

  6. In my very small MA garden I've got bloooming tomatoes with eensy little fruits on the sun golds and brandywines, sunchokes that are going crazy in a big old pot, kentucky Wonder pole beans that are growing like...well pole beans, I suppose, two varieties of heirloom carrots that are sending up their first big frilly leaves, onions just barely starting to bulb, 4 King of the North peppers that are not doing terribly well, ditto for a pot of leeks that I tried to start from seed, and a big winter squash that is taking over my patio.

    I still need to get my cukes and summer squash planted (wow...I can't believe I haven't done that yet).

  7. Harvesting Broccoli and Chard here. I had to pull up the lettuce.

    Spinach, Sunflowers, and Carrots didn't make it. Basil and Peppers are a joke. Sugar Snap Peas and eggplant are flowering now. Potatoes are growing nicely.

    Beans and Tomatoes not flowering yet. I wouldn't expect that for another week or two.

  8. I WANT TOMATOES TOO! WAH! There are little baby tomatoes all over the place, teasing me, and I know I won't actually get to eat any for awhile yet. So far just eating radishes and lettuce. And lots of herbs. I'm afraid of our corn--it's almost as tall as me already, and the saying around here is "Knee high by the Fourth of July." Knee high to a giant, maybe. There is going to be a serious corn harvest this year. And also a frightening potato harvest, since we've actually been getting rain this year, as opposed to other years.

  9. Hi Everybody!
    Thanks for taking the time to share such newsy comments. It's so much fun hearing about what's going on in all of your gardens. But even more than that, I love your enthusiasm and excitement. There really is nothing like growing your own - even if it's just a couple of radishes. Of course they'll be the best radishes you've ever tasted! : )

  10. I know exactly what you mean. I have a running draft post that I have a list of one line notes on topics I want to talk about - it grows faster than I can keep up with it; that and the notebook I carry around.

    As far as the garden, I barely was able to start it this year (new house, still working on inside), but I have a tiny tomato plant that just sprouted its third tomato, and I have basil growing like crazy, with cilantro and rosemary following closely behind. Also well on my way to starting a compost bin.

    Would love to hear more about growing garlic!

  11. My sugar snap peas are turning yellow, and my beans have all been eaten by the rabbits! Only 2 carrots are coming up, and NOT where I planted them. (Birds maybe??) My lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and cabbage are growing veeerrry slowly. I'm not sure why. But, glory be, my zucchini has one ready to be picked! Yaayyyy! This is my first garden ever, and it's so very much fun to watch it grow, and to harvest such delicious food!

  12. Time has a way of getting away from you. I started planting some liriope at the beginning of the summer, and it's already spreading.

  13. Hello, I've just come across your blog for the first time. Love to hear what is going on in someone else's garden. :-)
    I am buried under a mountain of zucchini but, in my opinion, you can never have too many zukes. My family may not agree though. We've been enjoying our tomatoes for only a few weeks, but with 90-ish tomato plants there will be plenty to enjoy over the next month.

    Love your garden pics.

  14. We're at the tail end of tomato season, but I have plenty of romas diced and frozen in 2-cup containers. Great for spur-of-the-moment cooking this winter!

    Also am freezing wax beans - which I love, - sweet potato fries and other assorted produce from the farmers market.


March 2013 update: My apologies for the inconvenience - I know word verification is a pain - but I've had to turn it on to help stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I've been getting every day. Thanks for your understanding.

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