Thursday, July 17, 2014

Catching Up

Summer is a busy time here at The Slice.  The garden is planted and growing gangbusters.  We've had a bunch of rain and plenty of sunshine.  It's all lush and green out there just now.  I haven't really had to water until this last week.  It's been wonderful.

Just the other day I dug up the first planting of potatoes and harvested a huge bucket full of reds, whites, and yellows.

Out of curiosity, just now I went out and weighed yon bucket o' taters.  They tipped the scale at 29.2 pounds.  I guess I know who is going to spend some time looking for ways to preserve and prepare potatoes.  I have another bed twice the size interplanted with the tomatoes.  This could get dicey.

A couple weeks ago I managed to pick enough black raspberries to make a small batch of 'jam' for ice cream topping.  To. Die. For.  I'm telling you.  If you have any room at all, plant raspberries.  You might want to consider making room.  You don't really need a garage, right?

This stunning specimen is my latest garden conquest.  Last year's broccoli died a horrible, crooked, warty-looking fungal death.  This year, I get this beauty.  That stuff you get in the store doesn't hold a candle to the home grown variety.  Extra tasty.

Yep, that's my big ol' hand in there just for scale.  That's one big head of broccoli.
Of course, in order to dig the potatoes, I had to pull up the onions I planted in the bed with the potatoes.  Most of them were ready anyway.  My onions never get very big, but I did notice that the ones that had become mostly uncovered over the course of their growing season were much bigger than the rest.  The ones on the left side of the picture below were basically sitting on top of the soil with just their roots in the ground.  They are the largest onions of this batch and might be the biggest I've ever grown at about 2 1/2 inches across.

This year I pleaded and begged and wheedled and whined until I got my husband to build a bed just for growing cucumbers and pole beans.  Here it is:

Yep.  It's a classic all right.  Those two round dealies at the top are genuine recycled bicycle wheels.  I painted them with black spray paint before he fastened them to the top of those posts.  All told, they're just a bit taller than I am.  I think they'll provide ample growing room for pole beans and whatnot ('whatnot' will probably = cucumbers most of the time).  There's a third little section in the middle that currently houses the zucchini production facility.

This year's pole bean selection is of the purple podded variety.  They don't look it right now, but the beans are supposed to be very purple.  Unfortunately, they lose their purple color and turn bright green when cooked  Still, it's fun to say: Purple Podded Pole Beans.  Try it once...or twice.

As usual, the garden this year is full of surprises.  What garden is complete without its fair share of volunteers?  This year we have:

Black-eyed Susan

Sunflower of unknown origin most likely my bird feeder.

Second sunflower of unknown origin also likely my bird feeder.

Fernleaf dill

A long time ago, I was told by a very experienced gardener that once you plant dill, you will always have dill.  She didn't lie.  I planted dill once about four years ago and I have it every year whether I plant it or not. 

Probably the biggest success in the garden this year so far has to be the zinnia bed.  In a word, it's tremendous.  Most likely the best zinnias I've ever grown.  It's so amazing, I can't even get a good picture of it.  This is the best I can seem to do.  To quote a good friend of mine, it's STUNNING.

Perhaps the individual flower shots are better looking:

This one might be my favorite.
My husband asked me the other day if zinnias are a perennial.  Sadly, no.  But, I can try to save the seeds and grow them again next year.  He seemed satisfied with that answer.  I like the idea of saving my own seeds.  I don't know what will happen with the zinnias, but I'm going to give it a try.