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.   

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