Saturday, September 6, 2008

Big carrots!

They might not look big to you, but they're giant compared to what's come out of my garden in previous summers.

My first cucumbers are starting to grow and my tomatoes are producing like crazy. Still no zucchini. Last week I picked up some winter rye seed and tossed it around in the bare spots in my garden. Some of it has already germinated and is a few inches tall. In early spring (like maybe late February/early March), I'll turn it under to provide new nutrients for the soil. I know that there are better cover crops (especially legumes) but winter rye is what the Colorado State ag extension recommends for our climate.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

First tomatoes!

Actually, the very first tomato came out about two weeks ago. It was nearly ready to be picked when I noticed it had disappeared from the vine. I asked my youngest daughter first, "Callie, did you eat my tomato?" She looked at me like I was crazy, so I moved on. My husband responded similarly, so when I found my oldest daughter, I said, "Brynn, how did that tomato taste?" "It was great, Mom!" I knew it...isn't the first tomato supposed to be reserved for the person who composted, dug, planted, watered, hardened off, planted again, watered some more, staked, and sang to the plants? Where was SHE when all of that was going on? Typical, right? I know I did the same thing to my mom.

Payback came today when I brought in a whole colander full of tomatoes and a bunch of carrots, too. The girls chowed the carrots and tomatoes along with their veggie pizza tonight, but even Scott and I got to eat some of the goodies with our dinner, too.

It's time to harvest my broccoli -- I think it is as ready as it will ever be (one of the florets has turned into flowers). I need to pull out the plants since they are blocking the sun from my tiny tomatoes behind them. I'm planning to plant more carrots and I've already planted more lettuce, although it hasn't germinated yet. We've had so much lettuce in our CSA box that I've only picked a few heads from our garden. Most of it looked good until this week -- now it's nearly ready to go to seed. I think I'll just let it bolt and then compost it. Maybe I'll save the seeds first...

Here are some photos from the garden today.


More tomatoes.

Carrots, parsnips, brussel sprouts, and more tomatoes.

Broccoli ready to come out. Don't you love the huge heads of broccoli we have here? Yes, they are like miniature broccoli. I felt inadequate until I saw that the same kind of broccoli comes in my CSA box. Maybe it's the altitude?

Overgrown lettuce patch.

Tomatoes about to be picked.

My littlest thief trying to get her hands on some grape tomatoes.

Orange is her favorite color, so it's only natural that she would adore carrots fresh from the dirt. My only regret is that I didn't plant MORE of them. She inhaled her carrots with her dinner tonight.

Mmmm...A perfect summer portrait. Hair wet from the hot tub, hands full of the freshest veggies. What more could a kid want?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Note to self

Self -

You know that ecinachea plant you put in the front row of the perennial garden to keep the deer out of the rest of the garden? Well, it's getting eaten by the deer (even though it's deer "resistant") and it's WAY too big to be in the front of the garden. In the fall, move it to the spot formerly occupied by the artemisia (the one Brynn killed with gasoline) and put a catmint in the ecinachea's spot. The deer don't touch that and it's lower growing. Also, move the second ecinachea back to the spot formerly occupied by the now dead (for no good reason) coreopsis and find something new to stick in its spot, too. Maybe a low-growing agastache.

Don't forget.


PS: Remember to look into getting a hedge trimmer to shear back the catmint and shape the boxwoods.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Spinach bolted.

Oops...I waited too long. I ended up harvesting (and composting a lot of) the spinach two days ago. Most of it had bolted. Some of it was still edible, but about a third of it went straight to the composter. Ugh! Next year I'm going to try planting Bloomsdale Spinach and see how it does. Whatever variety I planted this year was lame. Tiny leaves, took forever to germinate...not good.

I'm still waiting to see if I'm going to get any broccoli or brussel sprouts, too. The plants are huge, but there's nothing resembling brussel sprouts or broccoli attached to the leaves. Not sure how that's supposed to work since I've never grown them before. The carrots and parsnips seem to be growing well, as is the cilantro. The basil's kind of sorry, but I think it will get better in the next week or so. The tomatoes have lots of flowers and a few have actual green tomatoes -- a good sign, I think.

We got a bunch of lettuce and spinach in our CSA box this week, so we'll be having salads for dinner for the next few days. We've eaten about half of the lettuce out of our garden and it was great. Alice Waters talks about how wonderful lettuce is when it's still practically alive. She's right. Crispy and sweet...yum.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My first harvest

I was out of town over the weekend, and when I arrived home on Sunday afternoon, I went to the garden to take a peek. Much to my surprise, I found that at least half of my bok choy had bolted, meaning that it had gone to seed. This was despite the fact that each plant was less than a third of the size that I expected them to be. Seeing that it wasn't going to get any bigger, I planned to make stir fry out of most of it for dinner tonight. The stir fry was tasty, but what was most satisfying was seeing the gorgeous color of the bok choy in the colander as I rinsed it this afternoon.

Unfortunately, my strawberry plants aren't producing much of anything. Lots of flowers, no fruit. I was planning to put netting over the strawberries to keep the birds off, but there doesn't seem to be a need for it. The tomatoes are growing well and adding more flowers every day. My two bell pepper plants, on the other hand, don't seem to have added a centimeter to their height since Mother's Day when I put them in the ground. Since they're only about eight inches tall, I'm not expecting much from them this season. The carrots and parsnips seem to be growing well, as are the spinach, broccoli, and brussel sprouts. I can see little sprouts from the red onions, but I'm not sure if anything's growing under the soil. The green onions never germinated, nor did the edamame, so I've put in more spinach in those spots since that's what we eat most of the time anyway.

Here are some photos of what else is going on in the garden:

Most of Brynn's snap peas are tall enough to reach their support net.

The spinach hasn't grown much in the past few days. I'm nervous
that it might be getting too hot and it could bolt soon, too.
At least we love baby spinach!

The broccoli plants are growing like crazy, but nothing
resembling broccoli seems to be growing yet.

Here's a view of the whole sideyard from the gate nearest our driveway. The veggie garden is in the sections on the right. I love the creeping veronica that lines the edges. The blue flowers are spectacular mid-day.Too bad they're not edible, since they're the only thing really flourishing right now.

Closeup of the creeping veronica.

Brynn enjoying the purple flowers.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Cole crops are in!

That's not that cole crops are in, as in "cool," although they are that, too. My cole crops are in the ground! They might get snowed on between now and the official "last frost" on May 15th, but they should be able to handle a little chill. I planted about 72 individual plants (one seed flat worth of seedlings), about a third bok choy, a third broccoli, and a third brussel sprouts.

No more germinations in the tomato/pepper flat. I'm keeping the seed flat under 18 hours of grow lights a day and constant heat mat, but I've given up on seeing any new germinations. I think I'll try some pumpkin and melon seeds in a few of the non-germinated peat pellets. Hopefully I'll have better luck with those. It's interesting to me because all of my seeds came from the same source, but the germination rates have been totally inconsistent. Almost all of the cole crops, spinach, and basil germinated while only a few of the mixed lettuce and red onion seeds have germinated and none of the bunching onions. I'm not sure why some varieties of seeds germinated without a problem and some not at all. Anyone?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Uh-oh tomatoes

I planted my tomato seeds in the basement about two weeks ago, maybe a few days more than two weeks. I was a week late planting them, but figured with the propagation mat and grow lights they would catch up. So far, of the 25 or so seeds that I planted, only four have germinated. Oops. And they're tiny. And none of the pepper plants have germinated. Nor the asparagus. I will be very sad (not to mention discouraged) if I have to abandon my Mountain Princess and Green Zebra tomatoes, among others. If they don't get growing soon, I'll go buy some two foot tall plants from a nursery so that I can have tomatoes by August. But they won't be as good...they won't be old, hard to get varieties. Scott says my seedlings will be good for next summer. Hmm...I wonder if I can keep them growing in the basement for a whole year?