Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Oh, the Beauty!

It's still ugly hot here, and we're mostly huddling inside in front of fans, but occasionally, we just have to venture outside, just to see what's going on out there. I discovered a large zucchini, hiding under the leaves, a beautiful little patty pan squash, and a riot of colorful flowers. What beauty! I'll just shut up now and let the flowers speak for themselves. Such eloquence.

Anyone know what that last flower is? We don't usually see it flowering, but it sure is pretty. It's an onion, a regular old green onion, planted as a set and allowed to grow past the time I should have pulled it. I think I'll let it go to seed and try to replant next year from my own seeds.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's a "Berry" good day!

It's been so hot lately, like almost everywhere, that we've spent most days in the house, in front of fans, and near the one small window A/C unit we have. We venture out quickly in the early morning to check on the garden and run whatever errands we need to, then find things inside to do for the rest of the day.

This morning at 6 am it was already 80 outside, but when I looked out the window while making the bed, I could see the black raspberries hanging heavy. So I dug out the beekeeping jacket with attached hat and face net, added lightweight sweatpants and sox, picked up my bucket and belt to hang it from and headed out to pick.

Besides the constant screen of mosquitoes hanging between me and my quarry, it wasn't bad out there. The raspberries were poor this year, mostly dried out from the heat, but I picked about two pounds of them, then tackled the blueberries, just coming on now. They grow in the lowest ground we have, so have the most moisture they've been able to reach with their deep old roots, and are just wonderful, plump and delicious.

I'm sure the neighbors thought I was silly looking, with all my cover, and I really freaked out their dogs, but it worked well. I managed to get back inside with about 4 pounds of berries for my labors, dripping wet inside my cover, but pleased with myself.

I stopped out to check out the garden while I was out there, and found our first zucchini and a summer squash, so dinner tonight will be great, with fresh squash, and berries for dessert.

The garden is welcoming now, with the scarecrow in place, waving us in with pinwheels in hand, tomatoes, scarlet runner beans and cosmos leading us to the new garden shed. Things sure are growing fast out there these days. The sunflowers are up to 12 feet tall now, the beans covering almost all the fences, and tomatoes just everywhere. The corn is looking good, and the hollyhocks just look so happy!

The rest of the day will be spent inside, for sure. It's HOT out there.

Monday, July 11, 2011

We've Got Garlic!

Whew, life sure does move fast lately. I've missed posting for way too long now and we've gone through all the early spring stuff, all the way to summer.

The garden's going gangbusters now, with little tiny tomatoes hanging everywhere, the potatoes in their tubs are reaching out for the sky, and the beans are on their way to the top of anything within reach.

Last fall we ordered garlic and carefully planted it, in hopes of finally growing our very own supply of that essential flavoring. This week, they all bent over and laid down, turned brown on the bottom, and looked ready to harvest. I looked up when to harvest your garlic online and decided that was the day. What a kick! It was fun, carefully loosening the soil around each plant and lifting them out. I gently knocked off the majority of the dirt and piled them into a basket to carry inside to dry. The heads weren't as large as I'd hoped, but not bad, and they were all in great shape, no insect damage to the plants at all.

Our little greenhouse has a sun cover on it this time of year, so heat doesn't build up too much on the south side of the house, and the metal rack shelving inside made the perfect place to lay out the garlic to dry.

The air can circulate all the way around it there, and the open window on the end of the greenhouse allows fresh air all the time. The bonus for us is the great garlic odor we smell each time we walk past that window.

We're really fond of garlic here, and use some almost every day. This should be enough garlic to keep us supplied for at least most of the coming year. Now I'll just need to shop more carefully for the bulbs I'll plant this fall for next year. I wanted to plant hardneck garlic, for the larger heads, stronger flavor, and the scapes they grow, but apparently was shipped softneck this year. At least I should be able to braid this kind, and be able to hang it for storage.

Yummmmm-Garlic! Just makes you feel good all over!