I love pole beans. I'm raking in this many about twice a week. They're beautiful plants, they're prolific, and the aphids hate them. I could also eat a giant pile of pole beans for dinner, steamed with butter, nothing else. I think pole beans are the queen of my garden, and they've done swimmingly in this funky cool summer we've had going on.
The bell peppers must have heard me mention that as soon as my broccoli's ready to plant, they're getting pulled and composted. Since then, about a half dozen peppers have shown up, including this purple variety I got from seeds on line.
I said I was never growing bell peppers again because they've never done well, but if I actually get a few decent peppers this summer, I will probably try them again. Us gardeners are nothing if not forgiving.
And what is this here? Is that a red tomato? Several months back, I joked that my "early" tomatoes will ripen around September. I guess I wasn't kidding. I've also got the Romas and Brandywines growing prolifically but nothing turning red yet. I admit, these little beauties are giving me hope!
Okay, so the Mexican Talavera tile--while earthy and beautiful--is not going to work for this particular mosaic project. Unfortunately, the stuff flakes, cracks, chips, and generally doesn't cut in the shape I want. I am going to keep it for a future project where shape isn't quite as important.
Sigh...I'm off to find new tiles. Good news is I found a tile store that allows you to buy in quantities as small as a square foot and they send free samples.
It's the middle of August and as advertised, the Early Girl tomatoes are the first to start turning red. This is the first decent sized tomato that we've got turning and it's in the bed closest to the workshop. Those plants seemed to do better than the plants in the bed closest to the fence, though Al insists both beds get the same amount of sun.
As for produce, I've got a decent crop of Romas, a handful of Brandywine (yellow and red), but nothing turning yet. All green.....
I tried planting herbs in the bed along the fence this summer. That bed gets the least amount of direct sun, and I was hoping to reserve the sunnier beds for vegetables. I had mixed results:
Thyme and sage seemed to do pretty good. This sage is a bit small, but mind you it was completely hacked to the wick by a blackbird when I first planted it. Considering, I'm pleased by how large it's gotten. These are also being shaded by sunflowers that got bigger than I'd expected. I'll try these two along the fence again this time sans sunflowers.
The oregano is extremely happy.
Chives, basil and parsley--ironically the three we use the most, were not too happy in this spot. The parsley is being shaded by the sunflowers, but considering how much we use it, I will probably move these plants out and intersperse them with the veggies in the sunnier beds next year.
Autumn Beauty, Lake Valley Seed (Friedman's) Height 5-6'
Mammoth Gray Stripe, Lake Valley Seed (Friedman's) 8-10' "Gigantic flowers & edible seeds"
I started these in Jiffy pots and transplanted in late May/early June. Snails wiped out the first batch along the fence. Heavy doses of Deadline and Corky's pellets helped about 1/2 of the 10 plants survive. I'm hoping for some bird seed from the giant ones. I also need to remember that these will take over the raised beds, so either plant them against the fence, or maybe I'll do a couple wine barrels next year and keep them segregated.
I may have watered my broccoli to death trying to keep the seedlings moist while we were in Oregon for 5 days. Today, I'll plant some back-up seedlings in the event these don't do well. The ones pictured here are about 2 weeks old.
This fall, I'm trying out three different varieties of broccoli, all from Johnny's seeds: Gypsy, Marathon, Arcadia. All three had interesting properties:
Arcadia - cold tolerant and recommended for either summer, fall or winter production.
Marathon - cold tolerant and rated the #1 fall and winter variety. Johnny's also said this is widely planted in California, so I figured I'd give it a try.
Gypsy - heat tolerant and resistant to downy mildew. Johnny's says it's versatile for summer or fall harvest.
I figured I'd try all three at various different times during the year and see which ones do best when. Last year, the starts I picked up at Friedman's and planted in August did beautifully. I tried planting starts again in February but I think the frost got them. They all buttoned, so I pulled them when it was time to put in my summer veggies. This time, when I try to plant early spring broccoli, I'll cover the plants to protect from frost.
We love broccoli, and with the early success I had, I'm determined to figure out how I can make this a near-year-round staple in the garden.