Rosey the Riveter

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It's an in-between time for the garden.  Most of the spring plants have been harvested but the summer plants are just beginning to thrive.  The days have gotten warmer... I fear the 70s are gone until fall.  The nights, too, have been staying in the high 60s (good for tomatoes and peppers, not good for broccoli.)

As such, it's a mixed bag out there.  We'll start with the good:

The potatoes are looking fantastic.  I started these in about an inch of soil and kept adding as it grew (to simulate 'hilling').
The lavender will be opening soon and ready for harvest.  I really want to make a wreath for the house, and hope I have enough.  It's a huge bush and has really taken over.  I considered digging it up, but the bees love it so it stays.

I am loving these little sunflowers called "Ring of Fire".  They are about 3' tall and have MULTIPLE blooms on each stem, unlike most sunflowers.  I will definitely be saving these seeds and planting more of them next year.
Mortgage Lifter Tomato looking beautiful.
 I believe these are 'Old Virginia' tomatoes.  I have never seen any non-cherry that grow like this, all on the same cluster
The marigolds and nasturtiums are doing well.  Both of them came from the plant swap the VaUHL had in March.
Roma Tomato, turning pink!
 Garlic I planted in the fall... needs to dry in the sun for a few days.  There's lots more to harvest.

Mammoth sunflowers growing crazy.
The melon that sprouted in the comport pile is HUGE.  And there are blossoms.  The real test will be if it actually sets fruit, or not.  Most store-bought cantaloupes are hybrids and IF they are fertile, will not set the same fruit.  So this is going to be a surprise one way or another.  I'm going to be sad if it doesn't produce, because it's so beautiful.  Next year, I'm purposely planting the melons in the compost.  They like to have warm roots.
I caught a honey-bee on the Calendula.  This will soon be harvested and dried, for use in healing salve.  Calendula is an amazing herbal remedy.  It ought to be grown in every garden, and next year I'll add more.  I probably have 16 plants, plan to at least double that amount next year.  They winter-sowed really easily, so that's what I'll be doing again.
 Homestead Verbena is completely taking over.  This bloomed all winter, but it wasn't this big!
 Bronze fennel and wormwood are both thriving.
 The surprise lily we found growing in the hedge.
I tried really hard not to buy any annuals, but I fell i love with these African Daisies (or Gazania).  They are absolutely stunning.
Lemons!  It takes about 10 months for them to mature, but these are doing well.  I want enough to be able to make marmalades and dried zest, since buying organic lemons is so expensive (they are about a buck a piece.)

Now for the bad:
It's just been too hot for the broccoli.  Most of it never headed up, and immediately just flowered.  I am leaving them, because the bees love the flowers, but I am disappointed in the few heads I've harvested.  I think the fall is the best time to grow them, and I plan to stagger my sowings so I can have them through the winter.

Despite my best efforts, the cabbage moths worms have really had a party.  I tried Diamataceous Earth but that didn't help.  I tried a homemade garlic-cayenne spray which seems to deter the moths from landing (and laying) but only for a day or two and only if it doesn't rain.  I was also concerned about ending up with cabbage that tasted like cayenne, so decided I needed to find something else.  I have BT that I'm going to put on, but it's been so rainy I haven't had the chance.  In the mean time, I sprinkled the plants with sprigs of thyme, because I read that works well.  We'll see,
This parsley monster was a little baby when I paid a buck for it at the Fall plant sale.  It went strong all winter long, and I harvested a bunch... both to dry and to feed the caterpillars.  But the weather is growing warm and it's going to bolt.

And, to keep it real, here we have the ugly:

The peas are tired and worn.  There are some monster pods on there that I am allowing to dry out in hopes of saving them for seed.  As soon as they do, I'm yanking the plants.  I will grow more in the fall.

Hubby has laid down all the weed-block in the walkways.  Luckily, this is an ugly that won't last long, because he just went and bought pea gravel this morning.  He's sick of mowing and weed wacking in there, so we are hoping this will be a good solution. 

I forgot to take a picture of the pepperoncinis... they are really doing well, too.  Truth be told, I much prefer the fall and spring gardens but we'll see what comes of the peppers and tomatoes and melons and corn.  I'm sure the blight and beetles are not so far away...

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