Mid July Garden Tour
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For fun, check out the tour I did this time last month, and you’ll be shocked at the changes that only 27 days can bring!
Sigh, there is so much to be said for the garden this time of year. It makes my heart full, and it makes me feel like summer will never end, the and goodness will never stop. We have had incredibly hot temps here in the Seattle area for the last two weeks. Now, Southerners, please stop laughing when I tell you we’ve consistently had temps in the upper 80’s, low 90’s for weeks. I know to most people that isn’t hot at all, but we Pacific Northwesterners aren’t a hardy breed when it comes to heat. No one has ac in their homes, so multiple days in the high 80’s, renders an outgoing and friendly population,intoo a miserable whiny puddle of sweat.
Let’s just say a lot of time gets spent at Costco to take advantage of free samples and free ac!
But, the garden is just loving the heat; it doesn’t quite know what to do with itself. The first two years I gardened in this space were dismal in terms of heat, but I was still able to produce quite a bit. Last year was lovely, and production was high. THIS YEAR, I can tell production is going to be through the roof. So far, I feel like the garden is three to four weeks ahead of where it was LAST year, and remember last year was a good year.
A note about my gardening philosophy. I don’t care about being the first to have a ripe tomato, or have a bushel of fresh green beans before anyone else. My garden timing is restricted by my work schedule, and my ability to get off my butt and do things. So, I rarely get ripe tomatoes before almost anyone, but let me tell you, they’re worth the wait. My garden is often producing two to three weeks after most people’s have given up the goat. The taste of fresh produce is worth the wait to me, and I really don’t care if my timing is slightly off, or I should have done something weeks earlier. It all comes out in the wash, right?
This year, through just circumstances, I ended up planting six less tomato plants than last year. I still have canned tomato soup, salsa, and marinara from last year’s garden. To me, that says a few things: 1) I didn’t use enough this past year 2) I was producing too much 3) I wasn’t eating nearly enough giant punch bowls of caprese salad! For shame on all accounts!
Let’s get started, shall we?
After constant reapplication of sunscreen on my ghost baby (whom my sister refers to as “Powder”), Troy came up with a lovely solution. My front porch looks like crap, but it works well for us, and keeps Jack happy and pale!
I am getting ready to up-pot some cabbage and brussels sprout seedlings that I planted about eight days ago. As a result, we look like our porch is having a rummage sale.
Sick of losing all our blueberries to robins, I covered 13 of 15 of our plants with 12 yards of netting ($11 at JoAnn fabrics with a coupon). Overnight, we magically were able to harvest blueberries. Ha ha, suck it birds. I’m tempted to leave these up until Halloween to say we decorated the yard.
Ok, check out my main planting area this time last month:
And then this morning:
The apples on our Akane apple tree are moving right along. I check on the progress of those five apples multiple times a day!
The other apple trees new to the “orchard” are doing well, and moving right along. The strawberries I planted at the base are exploding and sending out tons of runners. Runners = free strawberry plants. Right now, I’m directing them where I want them to grow new plants.
Growing up, my maternal grandparents had a one acre piece of land on Bothell Way in Everett. The street where I used to ride bikes is now a Costco, and their lovely house has probably been bulldozed over for a strip mall. But, growing up, their one acre was a kid’s paradise! Grandma had a huge garden and the rock star of the garden was an enormous raspberry patch. Summers were awesome for picking and gorging on those berries. My grandpa built the house by hand, and was extremely good with constructing structures around the property. The raspberry bushes were well-supported, and accessible from multiple angles for easy picking.
Sadly, my raspberry patch, while extremely well-built, is only accessible from the side. That is the downside to living on a tiny micro farm (less than 1/5th of an acre) and running quickly out of space.
Thankfully, I’m tall with long limbs, and am able to reach through the bushes to get the fruit at the back of the patch, at the base of the concrete wall. Sadly for me, it means walking around covered in scratches. Oh well, worth it!
Yesterday, I pulled the garlic and potatoes from the raised beds facing the street. I didn’t spend any money on seed garlic or potatoes this year, so essentially, this stuff was free! I don’t care if you believe in a higher power, or just think it is all based on science, but you can’t plant a tiny piece of potato, and then get this and not think something bigger is involved in gardening. Amazing!
I always “cure” my garlic and potatoes on a screen “borrowed” from my neighbor’s junk pile in his side yard, and propped up on saw horses in my garage for three weeks before placing them in “storage” (baskets in my garage). By allowing the outside of potatoes and garlic to “cure” or dry, the shelf-life of the produce is extended considerably. Once fully dried, I cut the stalks off the garlic and place the bulbs in a mesh onion bag.
The green beans that were at the back of one of the potato patches now have more direct sunshine and should take off shortly. I’m preparing both now-empty beds for the cabbage and Brussels sprout seedlings. I’ll put them in bigger pots and let them grow for a few more weeks, and then will move them to their new cozy home.
This pumpkin was a volunteer (planted itself from from a random seed in the compost) and is insane. The vines grow at least a foot each week.
The pumpkin in one of the planting boxes is also a volunteer. I had originally wanted to put tomatoes in there, but I figured nature knew what it was doing, and I just left it.
Every year, I think I should cut down these rose bushes, because they’re unruly, and take up space that could be better used by blueberry bushes. But then, this happens, and I forget about ever cutting them down.
In construction news, our new master bedroom is really coming along. They installed windows yesterday; it’s so fun to see this project progressing!
The contractor is amazing (rare), and he, along with his team work incredibly hard. They usually show up by 8 am, and are here until 6 pm. I’ve seen them take maybe three breaks, and that is when I’ve brought them cookies, homemade ice cream, and virgin mojitos. They’re incredible!
Thank you for stopping by and checking out the garden! I do so love growing things, and seeing the progression of how this little piece of land changes and evolves throughout the seasons. Whenever I complain that “I’ll never pick enough raspberries to make jam”, I always pause to think “true, but I just picked two quarts of berries that will be eaten on the front porch in the sunshine. I may not have enough for jam, but I have enough for us, and to make memories”. Not to mention saving $7 at the grocery store. When you live on a micro farm, there is never enough for meeting all needs, but if you take a deep breath and remember to be thankful, there is always enough for right now.
How does your garden grow?