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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!

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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.

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Fresh Eggs metal sign from here.

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.

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Ok, check out my main planting area this time last month:

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And then this morning:

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The apples on our Akane apple tree are moving right along.  I check on the progress of those five apples multiple times a day!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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In construction news, our new master bedroom is really coming along.  They installed windows yesterday; it’s so fun to see this project progressing!

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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?

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17 comments on “Mid July garden tour”

  1. Hi!
    I do hope you know that the pumpkin flowers are edible and soooo good…!
    I usually stuff them with a chesse mixture and then fry them, or stuff them with rice and other veggies and bake them or I just use them in omeletes.
    Either way is pretty good!

  2. Hi Sara, your garden is looking fantastic! I am always encouraged by your post and love your reminder that while I may not be growing enough food in our backyard to run a farm stand, anytime I cook with produce from my garden I’m thankful. I’m going to look to add more diversity and maybe some more winter crops thanks to you. Happy gardening!

    • Winter crops rock! If you aren’t already, make sure you plant garlic in the fall. And then promptly ignore it until next July/August.

  3. You are such an inspiration! Our little garden is limping along. This is the first year we have lived in this rental house and I thought where I planted some of my tomatoes and green beans was in full sun, but I was wrong. they are growing, but slowly. We have enjoyed our radishes and I picked up some beet seeds because my kiddo likes to eat the tender young beet greens, so we will plant those soon.

    And we are SUPER excited that one of the three raspberry shoots we brought back from Iowa last year is growing and actually has a few raspberries on it. And, it sent out another shoot so next year we will have more!

    Oh, and I finally cut all the runners off my potted strawberry plant (and planted them around the yard just to see) so our potted plant now has a bunch of strawberries. Yum!

  4. Wow! Your microfarm looks great. I too have volunteer veggies growing in my garden. This year it seems i have multitudes of volunteer potatoes, dill and beets. I’m not sure why the beets came, but we can always use extra. Our yard includes 3 cherry trees, 3 honeyberry bushes, 2 saskatoon bushes, 2 apple trees with 5 types of apples grafted onto them , 20 feet of raspberries and my old faithful rhubarb. I am very blessed to have a 30 x 65 garden plot and a small flower bed. Keep the roses…to remind you how beautiful our earth is. Keep up the good work, Sarah.

    • Oh man, dill with potatoes is one of my favorite things! Your volunteers are lovely pairings.

      We microfarmers have to stick together. All too often I find myself dreaming of “what could be” with a huge piece of land. As a result, I often forget about the wonderfulness that is right outside my front door.

      The roses stay. ;-D But I am definitely trimming them back this year.

  5. Great post!.. I am always telling my family something along the same lines. We may not have all we want but we do have all we need! And more that a lot of people. ( thats where charity and volunteering come in. )

  6. Definitely keep the roses. Not only for looks, but from memory, vignerons plant them at the end of the rows of vines as a barometer. The roses are effected by some things before the grapes, so they know if there is a potential issue (one is frost, I think).

    You’ve inspired me, too. I’ve started pulling out some ornamental shrubs to have more space to plant more productive crops come spring (southern hemisphere, here).

  7. Thank you for that tour. I have a small garden but love watching everything get bigger. Lucky you with all that heat in the Northwest. It’s been a pretty mild summer for us but still the garden grows. I tried sweet potatoes for the first time this year. We’ll see what comes from down under.

  8. It all looks great! I love your raised beds. I haven’t tried netting from the fabric store but I always have to cover something or birds get it before I do. Like apples. Birds or squirrels are already after mine.

  9. What an inspiration you are! I am only in my first year of backyard gardening but you have made me realize that I can do so much more with my space. I have volunteer tomatoes from my compost!

  10. Hi Sarah,

    I just wanted to say “WOW!” I love your micro garden! How fantastic to see the before and after shots! I have a micro mini garden in a newish suburb with big houses but small blocks of land, and have moved out onto the verge, but am an all-and-nothing type of gardener (a week of doing it all and then months of doing nothing!) so my success is rather limited. However, I do have a great row of raspberries, a gift from a friend who was thinning her patch. Next year is year 3 and I am expecting amazing things! I am just impressed that I can grow them here in South Australia – I am a transplanted Canadian and will probably never have a patch like my dad’s in Northern Ontario, his double row is at least 30 feet long.

    Thanks again for your blog, your great sense of humour and being a great advocate for crazy Lutherans everywhere!

    blessings,

    Kelly

  11. Hi Sarah!

    Your garden looks amazing and is making me very jealous! I am wondering how you decided what apple trees to plant? I am looking into buying some but don’t want to have to spray them every year. Are you going to have to spray yours? Plus, did you really cut up a potato and just plant the pieces? Thanks for your help!!!

  12. Love the garden, always great to see how much stuff you can get from a small space! My favourite veggie crops at the minute are chard and radish pods, if you let a radish go to seed it’s amazing how many pods you get! It’s the first year that my soft fruit is doing well, might actually have enough to make some jam, if I can keep my 3 year old away!