Saturday, August 16, 2014

GARDEN TALK TIME

The garden is doing pretty good this year... in some areas.  Not sure what is up with the shallots and onions, I'm thinking it is poor soil quality, but everything else is doing great.  Since the backyard was regraded we've been spreading wildflower seed and planting a few things here and there and things are starting to really grow.  This is what it looks like right now:


The Joe Pye Weed is taking over and as much as I like JPW I need to get that sucker under control.

The great part about our backyard, with all the beautiful things growing, is that wildlife is loving it. Every day I can go outside and not only see deer like we usually do but daily we have rabbits, birds, squirrels, chipmunks, snakes, frogs, turtles, dragonflies, butterflies, bees, wasps, and a whole host of other things. The rabbits like hiding in the growth so each day we run into about 4 or 5 back there.  

So onto what else I am having success with.

German Chamomile


One of my favorite herbs. In the past I'd always keep a pot of chamomile inside but last year I planted some and forgot about it.  I was delighted to see it return this year so I planted some more. It is a zone 4 herb but our last harsh winter killed off things I thought were meant for this zone so I was pleasantly surprised when the chamomile popped up. 

Dill


Dill is hardier than I thought. Not only does it appear in odd random places around the garden, after planting a whole new bunch this year we let the Black Swallowtail caterpillar devour it all and yet from the nubs that were left it regrew.  Great, because I need it for canning :-)

Tomatoes

Someone please explain to me what is up with the tomatoes?  I purchased two heirloom tomato plants at the Friends Plant Sale this year and they've grown into these monstrous things (5 feet tall) but the fruits are all still green.  I've never had that experience with tomatoes before.  I'm not surprised about the growth as much as the fact they aren't red or turning red yet.  I am worried with the way the weather has been that the frost is going to appear before the tomatoes ripen :( 

Sweet Potato


Omgosh! Last years sweet potatoes didn't grow but this year they are doing great.  I am more of a "learn by trial and error" and not so much by reading so I have no idea when to harvest the potatoes or how long they take to grow but I have learned one thing and that is not to plant them in a garden box again.  They want to spread far and wide and the box is just too small for them.

Asparagus


Now this I don't want to do the trial and error thing with.  I am going to have to watch a few YouTube videos and read up on this delicious plant. I have been trying to grow asparagus for a few years and each time I'd plant the root something would come along and take it or eat it. I was at the Farmer's Market this spring and a vendor was selling itty bitty plants so I put 3 in the ground and they are growing great! Not sure what the next step is but I'll be staying on top of this one since this yummy plant is a perennial  :-)

That's it.  Anyone else have success or failures in the garden this year? Luckily we've not had any pests but the onions and shallots aren't coming along like expected, they are both itty bitty and so I think I need to do some type of crop rotation next year and amend the soil much better than I did this year.  If you have any thoughts on why the shallots are the size of marbles, please let me know.

8 comments:

Unknown said...

Love this, your garden is Beautiful.

Michelle said...

Thank you Shirley!!

cynthia said...

Michelle, it is looking awesome. Did your asparagus vendor say anything about leaving the first year and not picking? I know there are different varieties, but yours looks yummy! I think the tomatoes are slow this year because of the late start and the cool summer. Hot and sunny makes wonderful tomatoes. We gave up gardening here as Freda and the kids were pulling everything through the fence and also our soil is mostly rock and clay. Not a good thing.

Michelle said...

Hey cyd,

We have to do raised beds for anything edible because of the clay soil. We tried amending it with sand and black soil but it didn't really help so all fruits and veggies are in boxes. Not picking the asparagus is probably the only thing I know. Lol! Do you know if I am suppose to just let the fern type stuff grow or are we suppose to stake that? Thank you for the info on the tomatoes. I hope they make it. The plants themselves are so big and healthy it would be sad to see the tomatoes go to waste :-(

cynthia said...

Hopefully we will get a warm September as August is cooling off. I know you can wrap them in newspaper and store them in a dark place and then they will ripen, but the flavor is not the same as vine ripe. I also have a green tomato relish recipe I will send you. It is yummy. I think you just leave the asparagus completely alone. Good luck. My son is into companion gardening and that seems to be doing really well for him.

Epicure68 said...

Ooh, I'm so jealous of your garden! YOu've got some great stuff going on there. Our container gardening is doing better this year than previous years, probably because 1) husband is keeping the garden watered and 2) we've gotten way more sunshine and heat than we normally do.

If your tomatoes are still green, you can make fried green tomatoes or green tomato chutney.

Michelle said...

Thanks Monica!! I didn't realize you could make anything with green tomatoes, I learned something new :-) Good to know because they still show no signs of turning red and now I know I don't have to let them go to waste.

Michelle said...

Thank you so much Cyd! I'd love your recipe for green tomato relish! I've not tried companion planting but I think I need to do that along with rotating my plants, I think it will make a big difference.