Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A great year for veggies

The veggie patch, right center
It not only looks like summer in the garden—it tastes like it, too. I've really neglected this blog this year, but at least I haven't neglected my veggie patch. It's really been producing for me this year. I've been getting snap peas for supper two or three times a week for the last month, I've almost finished off the broccolis—except for the bits the slugs got first—and even got a couple of little beets! I even harvested several servings of potatoes, both from this year's All Blues and from a couple of volunteers I missed harvesting last year.

The hay is working better than ever, one light initial weeding is all I've had to do. And I'm happy to say that when I pull it back to sneak some taters, I see ground beetles and earthworms and little millipedes, all hard at work. I definitely still have slug issues, and probably wouldn't have gotten any broccoli, kale or parsley at all, if I wasn't regularly sprinkling Sluggo around. I am watering earlier than I did last year, but not too much because there's still a lot of moisture in the soil. But the potatoes I've pulled up have been beautiful and shiny with no sign of scabbing. They're also a bit bigger than last year, even this early, because all the new sets got planted in the really good soil.

My garlic is bigger this year, but still not full-sized by any means. I'm going to pull it up on time though, let it dry out, and replant the cloves in October, as I'm supposed to. Maybe I'll get full-sized plants next year.

I harvested an artichoke this afternoon! It's only 3" long but it was starting to look like it might be opening, so I jumped the gun and took it. It had many ants on it, which I hope I knocked off, and I wonder if I picked either really early in the morning or late in the evening, if they wouldn't have gone home? I remember from my very first garden, which was full of ant colonies, that they always seemed to disappear in the evening. Hmmmm. Next time. I probably don't get up early enough in the morning to beat them these days, though. I'm retired—they're not.

I love the companion flowers I planted, and the air is always full of zippy little buzzers visiting them, and (I hope) eating bad bugs. I probably shouldn't say this out loud, but I haven't seen an aphid yet this year. Don't tell anybody.

Yellow calendulas and flowering bolted kale
My Bergarten sage surprised me with some really pretty, light blue, typical sage-type flowers. It's growing so well in this corner that when I found several on sale at the local Bi-Mart, I bought 4 more of them to put some other places where I need robust, sun-proof ground cover. It's lovely, classy-looking, and tastes great.
Bergarten sage in bloom
 I finally got around to planting some zucchini seed, the soil and the air temps should be warm enough now for them to do well. And just in case we do have a long warm summer, I put out a hill of cantaloupe seed and one of honeydew. They're not up yet, but I'm keeping an eye on them. I'm so happy with the veggie garden this year, it's unbelievably great to go down and pick supper. And besides the veggies I've gotten strawberries, raspberries, and my two dozen pie cherries. I'll try to get more pictures up here now that I'm almost done planting for the season.