The July Garden
0 comment Thursday, June 26, 2014 |
I need to take a image of my garden today; it's so lush and green, it absolutely amazes me. I can't believe how far we've managed to come in only a year. I've paid the price (my carpet is in an atrocious state, it's going to cost a fair bit to clean!) but it looks wonderful. EDIT: sorted, the light was weird due to cloudcover moving in, but I'm loving this space, truly.
Heading into harvest-time now, which is a bit bittersweet; mostly due to the fact my appetite and energy is nigh on non-existent and so I'm trying desperately not to waste what I've been growing. This has required me to think of ways of preserving my stash. My shallots are all drying away and are ready for storage understairs, and the potatoes are already stored under there and awaiting mashes and chips. I've been drying herbs and more herbs (I've loads of sage and rosemary now, more than I can possibly harvest, hurrah for winter savoury dishes!), and the lavender is due a harvest soon as well. Peapods which aren't getting eaten are being blanched and frozen, and peas are being eaten straight out the pod! Toms are picked when they ripen but the huge Hungarian Heart tomatoes are still green. The pear toms ripen at twos, and are again eaten where I stand. Peppers - wow, I love how my peppers are doing! These are also getting blanched and frozen, though as the year closes out I'll be dry-roasting the majority and saving some seed for next year. The leeks, chard and chicory is being harvested as and when, though I have been pulling the biggest leaves of the chicory and feeding it straight to the compost pile - left too long, they get too bitter to eat. It's not ideal but eventually it will "make dirt" as sprog calls it.
The basil will need a full harvest soon - that will all get pureed with a bit of olive oil and frozen for use as needed. I'll be harvesting some tarragon as well though it didn't get big this year - just in case it doesn't make it through the winter, though I intend on covering the bed with a cold frame. The chives; man, I don't know why I can't grow chives but they're always these little disappointing little fronds. My grass looks better than my chives do (sigh) but the grower I got the stuff from was less than stellar, so maybe I'll invest in better stuff.
My squash has started sending out flowers in extreme earnest and setting fruit finally. May just be in time! I'm glad to note that the vines of Black Futsu are remarkably restrained for a squash. This is good news as I can now trim the ends to keep them concentrating on feeding the fruits, and the vine itself can be instated beneath my growhouse plastic once the toms are done, keeping the squashes safe from frost and maybe extending the growing season a few weeks.
Deadheading and mounding up the grass clippings around my plants as mulch and fertiliser is working well - it really controls the weed situation and returns nutrients to the ground, which is desperately needed in soil like mine! I've been putting fresh grass clippings in with the squash and it's really done a load of good, but the back garden is dog territory and I'd rather not pollute plants I intend on using for consumption with dog-poo, so I'm keeping things separate. Still works a treat, though. The grass is growing in so lush and green, with very few weeds, I'm hoping I can forego the whole weedicide business. Here's to hoping! The lawn is still going to need a serious topdress of good soil in the fall, however.
I'm turning my eye to the fall garden, now - even though the heat of summer is still making itself known, the apples on the tree are firming up (when my son isn't using them to play baseball with, I've lost half the crop to that!), the rosehips are forming on my dog rose hedge and I've got some donated lily pods from a friend - now just trying to figure out where to put them. I've pulled the nasturtiums from the front garden display to allow the asters some room to do their thing, and they're setting heads. Osteopermums still going strong and I'll be taking cuttings from these in late August to propagate more plants.
Soil improvement is the name of the game now; once the peas have been fully harvested, I'll be cutting them off at ground level, stripping the plants down and digging them back into the beds. The potatoes grown in sawdust, compost, paper and grass clippings weren't too bad at all, but all tiny potatoes need to be removed from the resultant mix and then all that needs dumping either into the raised bed or the compost proper to break down completely. More fertiliser on everything as the year is winding down, and I turn my mind to keeping things going over the winter; I could do with some sort of winter greens other than chicory. I've had good luck with the eastern greens blends and I'll probably be sowing some of that once I get a good layer of compost worked in.
Today I've managed to dig up some energy from my never-large stores and I'm doing some cleaning round the house. I've had my requisite four days of sitting about doing not much of anything, and now it's time to get it in gear, as my son will be back in a few days, and then NOTHING will get done! But then, that's rather the point - we've got this awesome garden and now it's time to enjoy it, and I've got a few surprises in store for my little man when he returns...

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