Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summer garden report

I have talked a lot about my garden but not really discussed the results of all my repurposing and frugal garden ideas. Recently, I have begun harvesting strawberries, green bush beans and cucumbers. So, to brag a bit about my success, I have taken a few pictures of my fruits and veggies.

I harvested a couple strawberries prior to the one pictured, but this is the first that was undamaged by earwigs or partially eaten by other animals. While most of my gardening techniques are organic, I used Sevin powder around the strawberry bed to get the perfect strawberry pictured here. I planted 50 Ozark Beauty everbearing strawberry plants, had 13 take, cut off blossoms and runners until July 1 and started to get strawberries about three weeks later. As an everbearing plant, the strawberries bloom and produce fruit throughout the summer rather than just in June. I have to survey the territory every day to check on ripeness. Right now, three more strawberries are nearly ready with just some white left and there are plenty more blossoms and small white berries waiting to ripen.

I received a surprise on July 22: my first two green beans! I knew the plants had bloomed, but did not really look at the plants until recently. I happily harvested the two beans and stored them in the refrigerator. The picture below contains four days worth of beans and the newly harvested strawberry. I had forgotten how fuzzy green beans are and enjoyed them for dinner with onions and a bit of bacon. Yum! The strawberry tasted wonderful for afters.

These beans were picked Sunday, July 27. My bean plants may be hitting their peak. I only have six plants producing so the numbers I am posting are not going to be impressive. Part of my reasoning for planting beans and some of the other plants is trying them. Do I like to grow them? Do I like to eat them? If the answer is yes to both, I will keep them on my list for next year when I expand my garden. I can plant more because I liked what I had. More plants means more work and more harvesting, but essentially doing a test plot helps me focus on what I can do and what I like.

While I have not taken pictures of my cucumbers, I do know I will try a different variety next year. The dual-purpose bush cucumber I purchased was not very bushlike and is a bit too spiny for my comfort. It is a robust producer and I may end up giving away the seeds to someone more interested in cucumbers than I. I definitely only need one plant to produce the cucumbers I will use. I have not touched the six I have harvested with at least ten on the vine!

My late-planted peas are slowly growing, my onions are holding their own even as they were planted in May and eaten by rabbits, my tomatoes are growing (even if I have blossom end rot on a goodly share of them), and my Jacob's cattle bean is starting to bloom and produce tiny pods. Hopefully, I will love the onions, enjoy the peas, can the tomatoes and see if I like growing my own beans for cooking.

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