Friday, June 25, 2010

The Garden Report: June 25, 2010

Ah, summer…when the sweet promise of spring turns into an explosion of activity.

green beans

This is two days worth of green beans. Two. Measly. Days. On Tuesday, after a five day picking hiatus, I hauled in six and a half pounds of beans.

Two days later, I picked all of this – another two and a half pounds. And there were easily this many still on the vine that may be “too small” today, but by Sunday they’ll be ready to pick.

I mean, you know…dang.

These are just…incredible. Tender, stringless, juicy, flavorful, just insanely good. They’re ‘Contender’ bush beans, and they aren’t kidding about the heavy yields on these babies. (Heh…I noticed one of the reviews here complains about the bushes falling over – I’ve noticed that too, although it’s not so much “falling” over as “being pulled over by the insane number of pods dangling off it.”)

Next door, the butternut squash is beginning to set fruit. Lots and lots of it. I had no idea butternut squash did this – last year, the “hard rind” stuff we grew tended to give us one or maybe two squash / melons per vine. Well, SURPRISE! I counted a dozen baby butternuts before I decided I was getting a bit compulsive and quit counting.

Waltham Butternut

This one is a ballerina – see the tutu?

Tutu butternut

The zucchini has started producing teeny-tiny zucchinis. Awwww, isn’t a cute little thing? Ya. Do not be fooled. Not only will this guy grow to mammoth proportions seemingly overnight, he will be joined by thousands of brothers. Fear the coming zucchini invasion! FEAR IT!!!

innocent zucchini

The cherry tomatoes are a-blushing. We’ve eaten four of them so far. Mmm, juicy!


And the beefsteaks are becoming populous.


As, at long last, are the romas.


We finally got the peach / nectarine tree propped up – it’s just so tiny, and the fruit is getting so big!


Aren’t they pretty little peaches, though?


Cute nectarines, too.


The lemon tree is already starting to cover itself with little green lemons, which the kids insist are limes.


The Christmas limas are just hanging out, all cool and stuff, leaning on their fence like they just don’t care…


The corn / beans / pumpkins are a sight to behold.


The corn is getting taller than me (which isn’t all that hard, but still). The pinto beans aren’t doing a lot of climbing yet, but they seem happy – and so do the pumpkins.


After a lot of waffling, we finally decided to put in more corn in the empty spot; the spinach likes it cooler and the corn likes it hotter, and it’s about to get nothing but hotter around here.

And we like corn. A lot. Even with over three hundred plants in the ground, I’m willing to bet supply won’t keep up with demand once they get to harvest. Sigh. Yeah. I think I need five acres just to grow enough corn to shut everybody up around here…

And when I started working this part of the yard, I discovered that it has become a huge litterbox – add an extra hour to make sure I’d gotten all the poop out of there! Gah, stupid cats. I’m trying the coyote pee deterrent, which does indeed stink to high heaven and also made me laugh because I had to wonder how in the world I would know if it were, you know, really coyote pee and not just plain old garden-variety-species-of-animal pee.

I mean, seriously – how would I ever know?!

And then I got to thinking about how just plain sad it was that I’d be worried that the pee granules I was sprinkling around my yard wasn’t authentic coyote.

And then I got to remembering Dave Barry’s brilliant Decaf Poopacino column, and I had to take a long break to let the giggles pass.

Then I thought: What kind of world is this when you worry that people might be ripping you off by selling you coffee that was NOT pooped out by a weasel?


Hee. Ahem. Anyway. Hey look, future corn bordered by hopefully authentic coyote piss sprinkles! (Uh, you can’t actually see that part…you’ll just have to trust me on that…)


Here are their future neighbors, the gift-from-neighbors tomatoes. And if they look a little sad, that would be because I totally forgot they aren’t on the drip system yet and didn’t water them for about five days. Oops.


In the front beds, the pak choi…


…and the lettuce…


…are coming right along.

Soon, some of that lettuce will look like this one. Which I named “dinner,” and which will pair up nicely with some of those cherry tomatoes and perhaps a dash of vinaigrette.


I planted a bunch of beefsteak tomatoes along the fence, in the huge holes left by the cucumbers that refused to grow. After watching me first rebuilding the trenches around the various squashes and tomatoes in the yard and then doing the same around the new tomatoes, Captain Adventure decided to show me how it was done.


New this week: A couple watermelon plants. I finally gave up and bought two “pre-grown” pots to plant – I can’t get watermelon seeds out here right now for love or money! (I had bought some watermelon seeds way back when, but I took them to the Girl Scout garden planting thing and, well…no more watermelon seeds.)


This weekend, I want to figure out what I can do with this big gaping hole.


On the far left is the peach tree, the two cherries are in the background, and that big fuzzy beast is one of the two redwood trees we took out last year. Obviously, it is not actually dead – also, it is going to be a real bear to get out.

Now, eventually, that will be a very shady spot; but for the next couple years it will be almost-full sun.

Really, something could go in there. Hmmmmmmmmm…

Lessee, who am I missing here…Oh! The potatoes are giving me a couple “bonus” flowers!


These are the Kennebecs. A couple of the plants are just a little behind their siblings – a little smaller and only just now going, “Oh yeah, flowering, I was supposed do that flowering thing!”

I can’t wait to start digging up some potatoes for our dinners around here.

The berry bushes are doing the same thing they were last week, which is almost nothing. There has been some growth, but it’s still very slow and they aren’t showing any signs of going into hyperdrive any time soon.

Not, mind you, that anything has…until hyperdrive is already in full swing and it feels like I can just stand there watching the bean pods swell up, the flowers unfurl, the vines creep along the ground, the tree stretching another foot toward the sky.

I’m a bit surprised how much I’m enjoying this. It’s not an inconsiderable amount of work, and I’m sure when the hot weather really gets here I’ll find it a lot less awesome…but I guess some things just never change.

I still love digging my fingers and toes into dirt. I love the smell of freshly dug earth and green growing things. I love the magic trick that is a little old seed turning into something enormous. I love being in the Out, with the sun on my back and fresh air – and in my part of town, I’m working with the sounds of roosters, goats, horses and cows in the background.

It’s a special kind of awesome. There’s a deep contentment in it, a feeling that no matter what else may be going on in my tiny, insignificant little life or out there on the greater stage of Da Whole World, well…I’ve got this dirt, right here. And these seeds. These plants. This sunlight, this clean(ish) air, this…time outside of time.

It just makes me happy. And greedy for more. More time for it, more room for it, more-more-more. I keep taking the long way to and from everywhere I go, driving past all the for sale signs all over our rural area…five acres here, forty there, a hundred-and-sixty or three-hundred-sixty or a crazy-talk-three-thousand.

I don’t know if I’d actually be woman enough to handle more than what I’ve got…but I surely do love to daydream about it. All this, and room for sheep too…

(Whaaaaaat? Oh, c'mon, everything always comes back to wool around here, you know that...)


Lydee said...

beautiful produce!

Anonymous said...

Wow - amazing garden inspiration! I hope to have one that large someday :-) Thank you for all the gorgeous photos!

Anonymous said...

I vote for a huge basil garden in the temporarily sunny area.

Louiz said...

Looks like a fabulous harvest, soon. I must do better with my window box of peppers (capsicum) seedlings. Still seedlings, still tiny and sad looking. Maybe they don't like the window box.

Catherine Banks said...

How do you keep the birds out of your tomatoes?

Money Saving Maine-iac said...

What a fun post! You write well. Our beans here in maine are just beginning to grow so I look forward in month to the bean crop you've been picking!

Science PhD Mom said...

It looks fabulous! Your corn is so high and mine is SO still sulking with the "What, you wanted us to GROW with this overcast sky and iffy temperatures maybe hitting the 70s? Bwahahaha, *ttthhhbbbpppttt*!" However my tomatoes seem to be happy and all of my beans are up and growing, including the scarlet runner beans which are the never-fail, hit the sky contenders around here. Hopefully about a month from now we will be dining on our lettuce, beans, carrots, and cherry tomatoes. Until then I appreciate your garden porn oh so much...makes it easier to keep whacking down the weeds and babying everything along. Thanks!