Monday, July 26, 2010


Sorry to yell that out, but my goodness I was so surprised to see some cucumbers that I let out a squeal when I saw them. This is the back side of the tomato garden. I planted cucumbers and two chayotes (which I blogged about here) and some hot peppers along the fence. The deer have eaten most of the hot peppers (the more I type that out the hungrier I get for venison).
Here is the chayote so far. Not seeing 30' vines just yet...
Look at these cucumbers! They grew so quickly I never even noticed them as babies.

So you know what I did immediately after taking these photos, don't you? I picked them and ran (really, I ran!) into the kitchen to taste them. I cut blossom end off first and started slicing. Fabulous! A teeny taste of bitter in the skin which I find tasty. Look how juicy and perfect they are. Oh my. Still swooning.
And, of course, you may guess what I did next. Oh ya, PICKLES!! (did I just shout that? sorry!)

Friday, July 23, 2010

The July State Of The Garden. And Chickens.

Seeing as the month is nearly over and I have yet to do proper State Of The Garden post, I got to work early with the camera this morning.

The Black Copper Marans are growing and thriving. I'm completely in love with this breed so far and I have yet to see an egg (perhaps the end of summer!). They are lovely birds. Here is a growing rooster. In the coming weeks I'll be keeping a close eye on the behavior of the roosters. Our resident gentleman rooster, Rowdy, has taken to stalking and flying at me so he will be re-homed as his genetics aren't necessary anymore anyhow. I'd eat him, but he is great with hens and a bit too old to be good eating anyhow. Just seems a shame to off the guy and it seems there are always folks with small flocks who need a new roo from time to time. This fellow pictured below, who remains without a name, is one of my favorites so far. I'm hoping he turns out to be a kind fellow. The grapes have been trimmed substantially by the deer. This year the deer are jumping the 6' fence without a thought. I've lost quite a bit to them so far. On the outside of the fence the plants are trimmed to nothing. On the inside? Quickly being trimmed to nothing.Here are the raised beds with the corn garden in the rear. This is the view from just a few feet inside the front fence.
And here from a side/rear view:
On the left when inside the fence is the asparagus mayhem. This hedge is serious. Parsley and onions interplanted. The tree there on the right is a Fuyu Persimmon (2 years old now) and behind the child's chair is the small potato bed.

Rhubarb and columbines... the columbines were just thoroughly trimmed by the deer. They were gorgeous before.One of the greens beds:
Carrots, beans, chard, onions, mache:
Carrots left to go to seed to not only cultivate the seeds, but to provide a very strong attractant for beneficial insects. And they're pretty.
Next year my big goal is to not have to hand water the main corn garden. It's a pain, it wastes water, and there isn't any reason beyond a lack of time for this scene below to be transpiring. It's the only beneficial aspect of the deer having access to my garden: they trim the leaves of the Katy apricot tree so I can plant a hose there. Sad, I know.
You'd think the b&*^urds could leave me more than this?????

I just finished harvesting ripe figs from this Brown Turkey tree, only to see there is a new flush coming!
Another issue. Chickens. Ahh chickens chickens chickens. Every once in a while one of mine goes broody and insists on nesting in the garden. I think our cat may try to play with her (big mistake) so a few feathers can be found but the hen goes right about her business and the cat stays far away for a bit in an apparent satire to demonstrate the satisfaction of another lesson learned.
The pumpkins! So tiny for this time of year!
The sweet peas still going strong (but trimmed by deer regularly) and the pumpkins and chicken coop in the background.
The corn/children's garden. I call it a children's garden because the fun of tall corn with sunflowers was the only reason I started planting this plot. I leave a path through the middle with a little circle in the center to lay a blanket and have snacks/dream/play/read books. Here is a view from the front:
and from the back:
Some of the Mammoth Sunflowers are starting to form their heads! They are at least 8' tall. So beautiful and strong.
Look at the girth of this stem! (I dread pulling them out this fall already.. oh my back...)
On to the tomatoes. Those who have been reading know my struggle with wilt this year. It's so sad. BUT... I'm so very happy I followed the advice of my farmer friend Jamie (who also offers a great CSA) and didn't pull all of them. She smartly told me to wait and see. I'm organic here and don't spray this or that (even organic or non-toxic) because I do really believe that things can work themselves out (umm.. except I'm going to spray the crap out of my dormant Septoria-inflicted boysenberry cuttings this winter LOL). As my dad has always taught me: "Don't F with Mother Nature!" haha! That comes with a wink at my house and a story about Muscovy Ducks I'll have to go into some day ;) My Dad is about to get a new knee next week after a long painful journey so he's on my mind a lot these days.

Anyway... See how one plant is badly afflicted and the neighbors not at all (yet)?
And jewels abound. I'm not holding my breath expecting a harvest, but danggggggg very tempting!

The basil is going OFF! LOVING IT!

A view to leave you by of my false salvia, placental Wonderful pomegranate, and a pineapple guava bush which is fighting for space in the jungle which is my yard!

The best of the best is shown here. There are flops (I should do a whole post on flops, really) and heartbreaks (deer, gopher, chicken, migratory birds, blue jays) and general annoyances (kids) along with really crappy stuff (weather SUCKS so far this year... where is summer anyway??) but all in all I'm really impressed with my garden and how well it does with my lack of attention span (2 kids) these days. Some friends came to visit our garden recently and called it a DINOSAUR GARDEN because it seems so big. I keep putting that in my mind as I work at it and visit it, it has really helped to give me perspective. That and looking back at old posts to see how it has grown.
Thanks Garden and Garden Friends! xo

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ode to a Black Swan Poppy

I played with this image a bit, thought I'd share how vibrant it became.