Saturday, June 28, 2008

Garden Growth

Even though it has been a month since the last post, we have not been idle in our projects here on the farm. I will try to make a few posts over the next week or so to try catching up on reporting the progress on some of the activities around here.

Over the last several days, we have been enjoying meals comprised mainly of green vegetables grown right here on the farm. My wife has been diligently attending to the needs of the garden and the results are nothing short of spectacular. She spends most of her free evening time almost every day after work weeding, watering, and picking the fruits from her labors. Fortunately for the rest of us in the family, our taste buds, stomachs, and overall health benefit from her efforts as well.

Here is a picture from April 17 showing the recently expanded garden area:

By May 22, some of the early season vegetables were making good progress, but the warm season plants were just getting started:

Here it is June 28, and the green coloration in the garden plots far outweigh the brown colors that dominated the earlier pictures:

Here are some more before and after pictures to demonstrate how the warm weather and lots of TLC and hard work can produce some amazing growth in these plants. On May 22, here are the plots where the tomatoes, squash, and peppers were planted:

Just over a month later, here are pictures of the tomatoes, squash, and peppers. We have enjoyed zucchini and yellow pear squash in our meals the last several days.

The tomato plants are loaded with small green fruits and lots of blooms. They should be ripe for picking within a week or so.

The pepper plants still have some growing to do, but they are showing blooms already. Peppers really thrive in the hot weather which is what we experience during the months of July and August that are about to commence.

Last month we built a trellis structure using t-posts and twine for the snow peas to climb. In this picture you can also see the broccoli and spinach plants in the foreground. The spinach has run its course. The fresh spinach was as sweet as could be. However during an early June heat wave, the plants went to seed, so we are done with spinach until fall when another batch will be planted. The last two weeks have seen the broccoli plants producing big, beautiful heads that are very tender when steamed. This is another plant that we will grow another batch when the cooler weather returns this fall.

As you can see from the following picture, the snow peas knew what to do with the trellis and are climbing quite nicely. We have enjoyed fresh snow peas and sugar snap beans the last several nights with our dinner.

Also in the garden, we are growing artichokes:

...and asparagus. The asparagus takes two years to reach maturity. So this year the plants will develop, we will mulch them good over the winter, and then should receive fruits from the plants by next spring.

The leaf lettuce that we grow is a variety that continues to grow back as it is cut. So we are able to enjoy salads and lettuce for our sandwiches regularly. The plants will go to seed when the hot weather sets in next month.

The potatoes are very close to being ready for digging up. We had potatoes last year as well and were amazed at how much better they tasted than store bought. Who could have imagined that potatoes would have a taste difference? Based on that experience, we planted double the amount of potato plants this year. Once this crop is brought in, we will leave the ground until fall and plant another batch. Potatoes like the cooler weather, so they do not do well during the mid-summer heat of July and August. Just to the right of the potatoes are our home grown onions. We are just starting to lift them and they are wonderfully tasty!

Finally, what would a garden be without flowers? We have several varieties growing with the objective to grow varieties that will attract beneficial birds and bugs that will eat the harmful critters hanging out in the garden, but not be interested in the veggies themselves.