Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My garden babies

This is almost my favorite time of the year for my garden. I've got little teeny tiny vegetables coming in. My favorite time of year would be when I actually get to pick them. Hopefully by the end of this week or next, depending on how much rain we get between now and then.

It's particularly exciting, because I've tried some varieties that I've never grown, or even heard of, before.

This is a baby minature white cucumber. There are a handful of these and the vines are COVERED in blooms. I'm hoping I have so many of these this year, I don't know what to do with them. I don't know what they taste like. I ordered these seeds from Seed Savers Exchange, which describes them as having a sweet, mild flavor. I can't wait to try them. They're interresting, if nothing else.

Check out these stunning purple blooms on this Black Hungarian Pepper plant! This is another variety that I'd never heard of before, that I also got from Seed Savers Exchange. It's a long, medium hot pepper. If they produce well, I'll definitely grow these again, because they are just so pretty in the garden. You can't see it in any of the leaves in the picture, but the the leaves have dark purple veins, and when they were seedlings, the whole plant was dark purple.

And, of course I had to plant some of the old stand-bys. What is a garden without summer squash and beans?

I love summer squash. And winter squash for that matter. My father in law is already over run with patty pan squash, which is the only variety he grows. He likes them particularly. We've already been enjoying the bounty from his garden. Once squash start coming in, it seems like you are flooded with them. This little guy should be ready in the next week or so.

The best surprise of my garden this summer were the two volunteer tomatoes that came up in my root vegetable bed. The soil has sand mixed in since that's where I grow my carrots, and carrots need fine soil. But earlier this spring, I noticed two funny looking "weeds" growing in that bed. Since they sorta resembed a tomato seedling, I thought I'd wait and see if they were. The bigger they got, the more they looked like a tomato plant, until there was no question. They most likely came from seeds in my compost, although, I don't remember putting compost in that bed. The real mystery was what type of tomato they were. I found two small tomatoes on them, and now I know they are romas! Which is awesome, since the roma seedlings I started aren't doing so well. I cannot believe how well these plants are doing despite being volunteers in a sandy soil bed. I staked them up, and planted my next crop of carrots around them.

I also experimented with potatoes this year and planted a row of old potatoes that had gotten soft and sprouted vigorous eyes. I also gave some to my father in law. He's planted them like this before, famously on a particularly warm Christmas day a few years ago, and he had the best new potatoes of anyone I knew. Anyway, he told me to wait until the plants get tiny white blooms on them to check on the potatoes. My plants haven't made it there yet, but I did plant them later than the first recommended time.

Most of my tomato plants are getting big and bushy and covered in blooms. I have one bed that's a problem. The plants aren't dying, but they're not thriving either. I think I may dig up the tomatoes in them since they won't likely produce any fruit, and put in some fall and winter vegetables. I was reading last week, that now is the time to start planning and planting for fall and winter, which is hard to believe since I'm not even harvesting my summer crops yet. I definitely want to try kale this year, which can last well into the winter, and I may even try some covered rows with other types of greens and cool weather crops.

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