Thursday, July 26, 2012

It's growing, growing, growing!

Our garden is in a bit of a holding pattern at the moment. The peas are done, except those we are keeping for seeds, but nothing else is producing. Boo!

Next year's plants are in there...
We decided to leave quite a few peas on the vine – more than we are planning to save seeds from. The wisdom of that immediately became clear, since Zoey picks a handful of peas every time she goes outside. I'm not going to complain about her eating too many veggies! Some of the peas are clearly getting beyond their prime, which is good; our research said to leave them on the vine until they were all shrivelled up. More waiting!

While the peas haven't shrivelled up, some of our bean leaves have. I'm not sure what's up with that. It goes beyond mere wilting – they're dark green and dehydrated-looking, almost like they had a mid-life change-of-career and became shrinky-dinks. I keep tearing off those leaves and throwing them away, but I don't know if it matters. Aside from the occasional shrunken leaf, the beans look healthy and are flowering like mad. Still no actual beans, though. Waiting sucks.
Not sure what causes this.  Alien ray guns?

Pumpkin in the making
I'm also waiting on something to grow on...well, pretty much all of the other plants. The pumpkin stopped just producing leaves and made a flower! That means that we will get at least one mini-pumpkin off that giant plant. There are maybe a dozen more buds that look like they might produce...but they might be more leaves in disguise. Grrr. Our other squash plants are just leaves, leaves, and more leaves at this point. 

Lots of leaves...hopefully it will lead to lots of squash!

It's a flower, I promise
Our poor little cucumber, for all its lack of impressive size, has three flowers on it. Take that, pumpkin! I don't know if it will ever grow to any sort of normal cucumber plant size or not. It might be a bit of a sad year for everything but peas and beans.

The cucumber does, however, have an easier road than our poor broccoli and cauliflower plants. Last week, Zoey helped me weed by carrying the pulled weeds to the bucket. The next day, she took it upon herself to weed some more. With not much to choose from, she designate all of the broccoli and cauliflower plants as weeds and executed them. We replanted them, but odds are still out on whether or not they'll make it. If they do, they earned it!

Come on, lil guy!  You can make it!

Likewise, our strawberries – which we didn't expect to live – have made a remarkable comeback. Not only did they flourish enough to produce two whole berries, they managed to survive the cat using them as a bed. Now, they're putting out runner after runner, and in the past week or so, the total number of rooted plants has more than doubled. I'm liking this trend for next year!
Go forth and multiply!

That's a year's worth
Also promising for next year is our compost. We compost everything except meat and dairy (because those supposedly attract rats). This is partly to have nice compost to spread in our gardens, to compliment the main filler of composted horse manure (thanks for the poop, Mom!) and partly to save space and stink in the trash. Since we rent, we didn't want to build anything large for our compost, and we wanted it contained, so we used a couple of large Rubbermaid bins, and drilled holes in them to allow for some air flow.

Up close - looks good except for the moisture!
Unfortunately, we forgot to drill holes in the bottom of the bins, so the compost is very wet. We are also not as diligent about turning it as we should be. We took the lids off so the compost can dry out a bit while the weather is nice, and when it's a bit dryer (and therefore lighter) we will flip the bins over and drill holes in the bottom so this doesn't stay a problem. The compost is looking decently decomposed, and there are quite a few worms living in it, so I'm going to say it's healthy. We'll work that into the gardens when we pull out the current crop of stuff and before we plant any sort of winter stock. If, that is, we get around to trying any fall or winter planting. Time will tell!

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