Dear Friends and Gardeners: Harvesting At Last

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“Before the fruits of prosperity can come, the storms of life need to first bring the required rains of testing, which mixes with the seeds of wisdom to produce a mature harvest.”
~Lincoln Patz

 

 

There were many storms and rain and cold winds in spring….all culminating in a rather late first harvest at the end of May.  No peas or radishes or greens picked in April or early May.  No the veg garden took its sweet time this year.  I let nature takes it course, and I did not cover any of the crops save for the lettuce bed to keep the Cabbage White butterflies from making Swiss cheese out of my kale.

 So the day before my birthday in late May, I took my harvest basket, and pulled up the most gorgeous crop of radishes…..red and crispy, long and creamy white inside with a bit of a bite.  We ate them all in a matter of days….a good 50 or more radishes we had salivatd over for more than a month since their germination.

 

 

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And along with these yummy radishes, we picked the first arugula, red Mustard leaves and baby lettuces….our first fresh salad.  We look forward to that first salad even more than any ooey, gooey chocolate dessert.  Look what we grew….nothing tastes fresher and sweeter in our minds and mouths.

 

 

 

beans

And the very next day, I was out in the radish bed planting beans, both bush and pole beans…green, yellow and purple.  I love the colors as they grow and flower and then fruit under the leaves.  I used my trusty Seeding Square as it has served me well this year.  Much to my surprise, the beans germinated in a couple of days and grew fast.  

 

 

 

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They are already flowering, and we should have beans ready for picking any day now.

 

 

 

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Also planted in the pea bed were some cucumbers that were little starts.  They should be flowering this week with the new surge of heat that is coming.

 

 

 

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This little female flower popped open on the only cuke plant I have growing in my round planter on the patio.  It was a left over starter plant, thrown in last minute where there was a space….and oh boy is it huge and growing bigger daily with some of my tiny dill starts from seed….now bushes.

 

 

 

lettuces

The lettuce bed grew slowly even though it was covered, but once it started to produce, it was non-stop for 6 weeks even with the heat.  Here we see it at the end of May (left).  From top to bottom on the right….mixed baby lettuces, arugula, red Mustard (wow is it hot) and red lettuce.

 

 

 

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I was picking basketfuls every 4-5 days.  I have already pulled out the greens that were bolting, and have planted new seed….more lettuces and arugula.

 

 

 

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Peas didn’t start producing until the middle of June.  I don’t think I have ever waited so long for peas to grow.  

 

 

 

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After a couple of months, the onions have begun to put on new growth and get bigger…we lost about a quarter of the starts, but I think we may have onions sometime in late August or September.

 

 

 

garlic

The garlic grew fast in spring…reaching 2 feet in both beds.  We knew it wouldn’t be long before we harvested early again this year.

 

 

 

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The two garlic beds started producing scapes in mid June…very early.  

 

 

 

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So we cut them, ate some and pickled 3 jars….yummy!  Can you see some of the other harvests int he basket?

 

 

 

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We actually got about a dozen strawberries.  I plan to weed, mulch and work on keeping this bed going.  The plants are huge and sending out shoots.

 

 

 

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And just as I thought, not a week after cutting scapes, a quarter of the garlic was ready to be picked.  We have picked half.  The other half will fade slowly giving us about 120 heads of garlic.  

 

 

 

herbs

I took my waiting basil and parsley and planted them in the garlic bed…there are already morning glories and pumpkins growing with the new herbs.

 

 

 

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And the volunteer sunflowers, the ones that seed themselves, seem to grow better than any I grow from seed.

 

 

 

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The chervil and cilantro have both bolted but they still taste yummy.  I will start some new seed soon.

 

 

 

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Tomatillos are growing…actually there were some that were growing on the starts before I planted them.  I put them outside for a few hours a day to get used to the conditions, and the bees couldn’t stay away from the numerous flowers.  We have not had these produce before so this is a new fun fruit we are watching as it grows.

 

 

 

tomato bed

The tomato bed was planted at the end of May during a terrible heat wave.  Then June turned cool.  So I wasn’t expecting too much from this bed right away.  I planted 5 tomatoes, 7 peppers, a row and a half of okra and 3 eggplant.  These plants like to grow together, and I have learned to give them lots of room, and not crowd too many plants in one bed.  With our variable temps and humid conditions, diseases easily can spread.

 

 

 

DSCN5270And one month later, after pruning many side shoots (I didn’t get them all) we already have fruit on all our tomatoes.  They say if you keep many of the side shoots pruned, while the plant is growing up to a foot, it puts all its energy into producing fruit.

 

 

 

DSCN5271I think they may be on to something….of course I had heard this before, but was just too busy to prune.  I made the time this year.  This bed only gets about 5-6 hours of sunlight so it may be a while before they ripen, but I don’t know….I think we may have early tomatoes for a change. 

 

 

 

squash

Finally, the squashes are growing and flowering while the carrots and a couple of beets, that made it through the crazy spring, may produce.  I plan to plant more beets for fall soon, and hope for a better crop.  With our weather they can be hit or miss.

 

 

 

So there you have the veg beds.  Are you growing any vegetables or herbs this summer?  What have you been harvesting and enjoying?

 

 

 

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In A Vase On Monday 

 

I know our hostess, at In A Vase On Monday, challenged us to make an Ikebana vase this week, but unfortunately life  and weather had other plans for me.  So I hope you like these instead!

 

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We cook with many perennial herbs, so I am always cutting them and putting them in water.  

 

 

 

herb vase

This weekend before all the heavy rain came, I cut sage, thyme that was flowering, and oregano.  They made such a pretty bouquet, I had to put them in a vase for a while.

 

 

 

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I also created another vase for a neighbor’s birthday this past week.  She is a garden buddy, and we share plants and ideas.  Every year, I make a vase from flowers in my garden for her birthday.

 

 

 

bday vase

This year I added lots of Heliopsis and Echinacea that I was thinning.  I also thought oregano in bloom would smell and look great.  And I found the purple plumes of an ornamental sage.  I know my neighbor loves herbs, and wonderful smelling plants, so they were perfect for her birthday bouquet.  

And this year, I was on top of things enough to dig up some Echinacea and Heliopsis to give her.  We are having extreme heat and dry conditions (until this weekend) so I hope the plants make it, but I have plenty of other volunteers if they don’t.

 

I am joining in with Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday, where you can check out more wonderful vases made by other bloggers around the globe.

 

 

 

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Next up on the blog:  

Monday I will have a look at the newly weeded Sidewalk Gardens.  nn-logo

I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her blog, Rambling Woods.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Monday. 

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2016.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.   

54 comments

  1. Andrea says:

    Wow Donna, you have a big harvest! If only we are nearer i will barter with you some of our avocados and tamarind. Are they all purely organic produce? I am envious as i don’t leave near the ground.

    • Donna says:

      I would love to trade for avocados…we love them….and anything else you would trade. It is too bad we can’t. And yes they are truly organic….no chemicals at all used, and organic seed and soil.

  2. Susan says:

    Your blooms are beautiful as usual. I have lots of things starting to bloom and am , in my usual STUPID style, fighting the urge to cut any. Why do I do this???? I need to get a vaseful in the house today!

    Wow-the vegetables are all coming along so nicely. It was a good lettuce year, wasn’t it? I shall miss my salads for a bit. I see you have resown.–do you use a different variety for summer? I’ve often had trouble getting salads started in the heat of summer…..

    • Donna says:

      Oh with your garden you must cut for at least one vase Sue….you will not even notice any of the blooms missing. Yes a very good lettuce year. I actually don’t use a different seed for summer because I have my bed in more shade and under cover so i have some success. I did use one for summer one year from Renee’s Garden, and it was great. I should use it again! I hope to sow even more lettuces later in summer too.

  3. Christina says:

    I enjoy reading about what you are harvesting. You have a lot of success even with the late start your cold spring forces on you. I like the herby vase too.

    • Donna says:

      It is amazing what and how much we can grow here with our short season. And we get a pretty good harvest too. Christina, I thought of you when I made the herby vase….lots of foliage!

  4. Nadezda says:

    Good crop Donna! I love your salad and radish, this spring I didn’t sow radish at all because it goes to flower in long light days here in North.
    Your tomatoes are so big ahead of mines, they are in bloom now.
    Have a nice week!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Nadezda. I hope to sow more radish later in summer just before fall in hopes of more harvest…but as you say it is hard as they go to flower if they have too long light. I was surprised about the early tomatoes too but we had lots of heat in later June. Hoping you have a great harvest!

    • Donna says:

      I am trying a new perspective….it is overgrown, and I am finding it an adventure to see what is growing once I clear it out. There is a diamond in that rough!

  5. Sara - My Woodland Garden says:

    Oh no, one shouldn’t read this kind of posts when hungry. 🙂 Your harvest looks great, Donna! Such beautiful and healthy plants!
    We already eat our own potatoes, and the tomatoes (which I love) and arugula (which I don’t especially like) are growing well in the greenhouse.
    Happy harvesting!

  6. Cathy says:

    I am going to try growing garlic for the first time this year. The thought of having 120 bulbs is wonderful! Lovely vases – really like the addition of the herbs Donna. Have a lovely week!

  7. Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern says:

    Ahhh, the fruits of labor! I have some cherry tomatoes forming, too – including the elusive indigo. Yes, peas seem awfully late this year and I just picked a big batch. I am missing my garden – have to set up another date soon. Your edibles look so lush and happy Donna – those salads – WOW! Enjoy, enjoy.

  8. Eileen says:

    Hello Donna, your harvest does look great. We have a few tomatoes and that is it this year. Your flower arrangement is pretty. Wishing you good harvesting. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

  9. joanna says:

    What a productive garde [ner]!!
    And how good it must all taste.
    Losts of work I warrant. I don’t envy you that 🙂
    You neighbour must have been pleased with your gift.

  10. Kris P says:

    I’m so impressed with the production of your vegetable and herb garden, Donna! Everything looks incredibly healthy too. Your vases are all sweet. I used to frequently use herbs in the arrangements created from my old garden but all I’ve got going now is some basil – still, that may find its way into one of my arrangements one day soon.

    • Donna says:

      Oh yes basil would be great in a vase and smell so incredible! The rain we finally had after a couple of weeks of dry weather has helped the veggies too!

  11. eliza waters says:

    Such a bountiful harvest past, present and future. Your peas look yummy and I love the darling baby cuke! Good things to come. 🙂
    You can always do ikebana any other week, flowers look good no matter how they are arranged!

    • Donna says:

      I love those baby cukes too….it is a pickling variety so they don’t grow very big, and the baby ones on the female flowers are just too cute!

  12. Beth says:

    Hi Donna, Your vegetables are growing great! We are enjoying green beans and cucumbers now. I’ve made 3 jars of refrigerator pickles and a few batches of creamy cucumbers. Also froze 40 cups of blueberries and there will be more. Summer is my favorite time of year!

  13. Cathy says:

    What a range of delectables you have been harvesting Donna – almost makes me want to grow more edibles myself…but only almost! And what a nice idea to have posies based on herbs – I was admiring the leaves on my apple mint the other day and thinking what a good addition they would make to a VOM. I am sure your gardening buddy will be delighted with her birthday posy

  14. Ramblingwoods says:

    Your blog readers leave interesting comments and I enjoy them too. I was thinking of how much time and love you put into this and I am glad you reap the rewards.. Michelle

  15. Aaron Dalton says:

    Do you grow any cover crops to improve/protect your soil, Donna?

    Or did you start out with soil that was already in good condition?

    And do you rotate crops in your garden?

    I’m super impressed with all you’ve accomplished on the veggie front!!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Aaron….I do not grow any crops to improve the soil on purpose, but the peas do improve soil. And yes I started with a great base of good soil. I also top dress my veg beds with compost every year.

      I do rotate crops especially the nightshade bed as we deal with fungal issues. It has taken lots of trial and error, and learning what works, noting it, doing it again and making little tweaks. I am pleased as well this year. Of course Mother Nature has a lot to do with the results. I can only cheat her with a few tricks as she holds all the cards.

      • Aaron Dalton says:

        A base of good soil?!

        A person can only dream of such good fortune! 🙂

        Regarding the compost you use as top-dressing, do you had just about an inch? Or more? And is it homemade compost or store bought? If store-bought, do you have a particular brand you favor?

        Just curious because it seems you’re quite successful and I’m hoping to learn what works best for you 🙂

        • Donna says:

          Raised beds Aaron is the only way I get good soil as we have heavy clay. I used a base of sand for drainage, and filled the bed with organic compost, humus and potting soil. I use whatever organic compost or humus I can find. There is precious little locally so I usually find some bagged. I spread a good couple of inches or more each fall or spring before I plant. And I top fill beds with it as they settle and compact a bit.

          I will say that after several years of using organic soil, compost and fish/seaweed fertilizer early on that I get a pretty good harvest for our short growing season. Of course I say the hot weather this year has helped with the mid=season crops doing so well, and if we have a ‘normal’ (what is that anymore) growing season I get a good harvest too. Lately it seems I am always compensating for the strange weather or extremes. Currently we are in a moderate drought officially.

          • Aaron Dalton says:

            Sounds like your system is working great!

            Sorry to hear about your drought. We had a really dry couple of months (May and June), but some torrential downpours over the past few weeks have officially ended the drought. When the rain comes down that hard, I don’t know how much soaks in and how much just runs off into the storm drains, creeks, rivers, etc.

            Still, hard rain is better than no rain! 😛

  16. Bill says:

    Everything looks great. Most of the beautiful things you’re growing now have already bitten the dust here. Right now we’re harvesting tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and green beans. And it’s almost time to start our fall seedlings!

    I’m interested in our tomato pruning results. We’re still experimenting with that too. I heavily pruned some of the plants and didn’t prune others. I’m keeping an eye on how they do, but I’m expecting to find that although the pruned plants produce fewer tomatoes, the ones they do produce will be earlier, larger and healthier. We’ll see…

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Bill. I would be interested in how your tomato pruning does. I pruned the bottoms of the plants pretty heavily for the first foot to foot and a half of growth. After that I have let the plants grow pruning a few side shoots. I am finding early fruiting so far, and healthier plants.

  17. Angela Robertson says:

    What a lot of produce and still more to come Donna. I wish I could find the patience to grow my own veg. I put a lot of time and money into growing strawberries one year for very little fruit it seemed far easier to buy them that grow them. Everything there looks delicious.

    • Donna says:

      I understand…and it does take a lot of time and money sometimes….I am eliminating things that we find not worth the time and effort, and oh it is so delicious. I wish we could readily find organic produce that is fresh here but not so easy so I grow it.

  18. debsgarden says:

    Hi Donna, your vegetable garden must give you a great deal of satisfaction. Nothing beats “home grown.” My children would sometimes turns their noses up at vegetables, until I told them the veggies came out of the garden. Then they would gobble them up!

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