Just a quick August update. This is when my garden tends to look pretty leggy, and I struggle to keep up with watering because of the sheer size of the plants. An hour each morning isn't nearly enough some days. *shrugs* Last night we had a wonderful soaking rain, and the garden has perked up just enough to be beautiful. So quick while it lasts, here it is... our August garden!
Our tomatoes are touching the eaves again this year. The disappointing part is that this seems to be a poor variety. Every tomato we've harvested has had a black growth - and has spoiled before ripening. *sigh* Live and learn, next year we'll order our seeds in January so our beloved Bumble Bee cherry tomatoes aren't sold out!
The rest of the garden is doing well also. I have 40-50 peppers just starting to blush, about a dozen zucchini growing steadily, countless (literally, I can't find them - my daughter finds them!) cucumbers hiding behind the zucchini leaves, and dozens of itty bitty melons! Not to mention the hundreds of tomatoes... that we're praying SOME will grow without this goshawful blight. I'm ready to swap out all our tomato soil, just in case it's in the soil at this point, but for now - we'll see if we can manage anything from this year.
The herbs are doing amazingly well also. I ended up harvesting a full half-pound of peppermint last week. EIGHT OUNCES - of an HERB! Our freezer is filling quickly of labeled baggies, as we simply can't keep up with that much fresh mint.
Even our leeks are starting to look like itty bitty leeks instead of awkward chives!
Despite quite a bit of five-finger discount losses due to the proximity to our sidewalk, our harvest count right now is at:
* 5 tomatoes, with a combined weight of 25.3 ounces
* One pepper, at .3 ounce (we'll be harvesting the rest of these next week)
* Four zucchini, with a combined weight of 35.7 ounces
* Six cucumbers, with a combined weight of 42.4 ounces
* And along with all the other herbs I haven't bothered to weigh, 8.1 ounces of fresh peppermint.
That's just shy of 7 pounds of produce... from miniature varieties of vegetable, BEFORE our prime harvest times!
We have already begun to evaluate the garden towards next year.
* So far we know that we WILL be growing zucchini again; either the same Table Dainty or a similar tiny variety. The Chinese long-beans will go away however, in favor of returning to our never-fail Purple Podded Pole Beans to help with nitrogen fixing.
* For cucumbers, we will continue with our miniature Dragon's Eggs - but are considering branching out into gherkins as well... for pickling. These will be underplanted with GARLIC next year!
* Our carrot beds - while they have a small handful of carrots growing, we feel as if we would have better yield returning to salad greens, so those will be planted with arugula next year; the princess and I can't get enough of it in the stores, so we'll be growing our own!
* We are loving the yields we are seeing in peppers this year, and the squirrels are actually leaving these alone! So the Maule's Red Hot peppers will return next year, WITH the companion marigolds! I don't know if we got lucky or the rumors are true, but peppers and marigolds SEEM to love each other just as we were told!
The other things we know we will grow next year are: Sweet Alyssum, (can't get enough of their pretty white flowers or the fragrance) a few varieties of basil along with our other various herbs, and we want to try peas! IF our melons do not produce well, we may companion-plant edible-pod peas with either beans or the gherkins!
Plants we still don't know about are: our melons, (which could give way for peas & gherkins or acorn squash) the leeks, and the parsnips.
It's a learning process, but we love the journey. And being able to enjoy fresh produce grown right outside our dining room in our own "private oasis"... is priceless.