I figured I’d catch you guys up on how the gardening is going.  Here is the view from the deck.

Our patio garden

Our patio garden

Our tomatoes are looking amazing, with lots of blossoms and some fruit already ripening.  Their increased size necessitated caging them.  I’m so excited for harvest time!  I have a life philosophy that says you can’t have too many tomatoes.

Tomato blossoms

Tomato blossoms

Tomato blossoms

Tomato blossoms

Tomatoes, carrots, and chard

Tomatoes, carrots, and chard

Tomato cages

Tomato cages

My back yard kale became infested with aphids, so I pulled it out and replaced it with a couple more jalepenos.  I don’t know if I feel there’s no such thing as too many jalepenos, but I can sure stuff a lot of them with cheese and wrap them in bacon before I get tired of them.  Also, I have every intention of making lacto fermented salsa for the winter.

Aphids on kale

Aphids on kale

Peppers and lettuce

Peppers and lettuce

Peppers

Peppers

I’m not feeling too good about our vertical planters.  They are too hard to keep watered.  My strawberries and herbs are just dying a slow death, although some basil sprouts decided to make an appearance.  We may give up on these after this year, what do you think?

Strawberries in vertical planter

Strawberries in vertical planter

Basil sprouts

Basil sprouts

I bought some pots off of Craigslist back in March, and was told that one of them contained “wild onions”, which I intended to transplant somewhere permanent and put more tomatoes in the pot.  I never got around to it, so now these onions are doing their onion thing, and growing bulbs out of their leaves.  I had never seen this before, so I googled it.  Apparently these “wild onions” are actually Egyptian onions, otherwise known as walking onions.  Cool.

Egyptian onions, aka walking onions

Egyptian onions, aka walking onions

Our potatoes are about ready to bloom.  I need to get more dirt in around them to maximize harvests.  That made me remember that I needed to get compost out of the composter.  The idea is to mix compost with dirt and put it in around the potatoes.  We still have dirt from the bulk dirt we got to fill our pots.

Potato plants

Potato plants

As I dug out the compost, I had hoped to be able to run it through a sifter, to get the small parts to fall through into my wheel barrow, and the big parts to stay in the sifter, to be put back in the composter.  Unfortunately, the compost was far too wet to make it through the sifter, so I ended up having to dig through it with my hands (gloved, I’m not that into compost) to remove the big chunks.  I removed a fair amount, our composter is now about half as full as it was, and mixed it with dirt and a bunch of dry straw, to try and dry it out.  I knew it would probably still need some good sun to continue to dry it out before it was useable, but by the time I was done with all this, look what was rolling in.

Rain clouds

Rain clouds

We’ve been getting a ton of rain this summer, I’ve hardly even had to water.  But it’s no environment for drying out already sopping compost, so I decided to protect my wheel barrow of compost in the garage.

Compost

Compost

We have a couple of citrus trees that we put out in the summer and bring in like house plants in the winter.  They actually bloom and produce fruit.  We got tiny oranges off of one last winter (they tasted awful, but that didn’t stop Freja from eating a ton, peel and all) and it looks like we can expect more this year, as well as some tiny lemons.

Tiny orange and orange blossom

Tiny orange and orange blossom

Tiny orange

Tiny orange

Tiny lemon

Tiny lemon

My spinach has gone to seed, and I’m just waiting to harvest the seeds.  I’ll plant them in the fall.

Spinach going to seed

Spinach going to seed

Our crabapple tree is producing nicely.  Our neighbor behind us has a regular apple tree right next to our crabapple, and it has blight.  I was relieved to learn it would not spread to our crabapple.  I intend to make crabapple jelly, but want to look into what else can be done with them.

Crabapples

Crabapples

We have this weird weed I haven’t pulled simply because I think it’s cool looking.  I’ll probably regret this eventually. (Update, it’s Buffalo Burr Nightshade!  Highly toxic!!  It’s pulled but I’m sure it spread seeds already)

Weird weed

Weird weed

My favorite addition to our garden this year has been our bird feeders.  It is so much fun to watch all the birds and the squirrels.  Freja is super into it.

Bird feeder

Bird feeder

Bird food

Bird food

Our squash are all growing and getting bushy.  Still waiting on blossoms and fruit.

Pumpkin plant

Pumpkin plant

And that sums up a tour of the Rocking Homestead in mid July, 2014.  Stay tuned for the addition of food producing animals!

 

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