Mid-July Update

The grass is brown but the garden is green! It was a bit of a slow start, and then we got stunned by some serious heat. But we still have a ways to go. Some of my cooler weather crops are bolting too early, but most things are finally starting to pop off. In no particular order, here is an overview of the progress of this year’s plantings up to this point in the season.

First we must notice the peppers. I have close to 30 pepper plants. That Jalapeno plant is dripping with little fruits.  Also pictured are Ring of Fire, Cajun Belle, and Shishito. I counted at least 15 Cajun Belles on one plant already. Not shown are the Super Chilies and Buena Mulata, but they are fruiting too! Super chilies pop up like little Christmas lights. Buena Mulatas start out a pale yellow.

My herb garden has been very productive. I planted a specific variety so I could make my own Herbs de Provence – Savory, Marjoram, Thyme, Rosemary, and Oregano. I’ve been harvesting batches of those and drying them in the oven. I also dried some Sage and Celery tops for winter cooking. And Lavender too. I started a second round of Basil and Dill – since those were already starting to bolt, as well as Cilantro – because I’m going to need that for making salsa with all our peppers. I also started some more Parsley because I love using it in curried chicken salad – with lots of celery.

I harvested a cucumber and made refrigerator pickles, following this recipe: https://selfproclaimedfoodie.com/easy-refrigerator-dill-pickles/  I used the recommended fresh dill, slightly less garlic, and fewer peppercorns. Also added some mustard seeds, and dried super chilies from last year’s garden. Haven’t tasted them yet, but do have an extra jar of brine just waiting for this next little guy to grow up.

I moved my cantaloupe away from the cucumber so they don’t cross pollinate. I have two plants in my container and they are going wild. I might need to figure out a trellis or something for these babies. So many flowers! Look at that tiny melon! You can clearly see the difference between female and male flowers here. Female has the fat, swollen stem that will become a cantaloupe. Male has the skinny stem.

I am a little late to the Zucchini party but they are getting going. I’m sure we’ll see blossoms in no time. Also have Nasturtiums there – still not flowering, sadly. But my Lilies came up, and Calla Lilies are on their way too! That’s exciting.

I started some Hostas, Ferns, and Astilbes in containers to get established for next year. Ferns never came up. Hostas are still small, but look healthy. Astilbes are growing really well, but are not shown because they are in temporary pots sitting in the front flower bed that has reverted back to dog lounging pit. We also put in a Cherry tree and two Lilacs – to enjoy next year.

I’ve been harvesting lots of lettuce. Mustard and Arugula are both going to seed already, but are still edible. Classic Cesar salad is our favorite, so Romaine lettuce is a must. I thinned out my lettuce crops and I am hoping to get some actual heads to form there. Also thinned out beets. Enjoyed those beet tops sauteed with a little garlic – yum! You can see my little onions and carrots in front of the beets. Haven’t been eating nearly as much Chard as last year, or Kale. But I made some fabulous Kale chips! I may move my Kale and Chard to a spot in the raised beds. They just don’t seem as productive in containers. Or maybe it’s been the heat? Not sure.

A very small head of Broccoli has started to form.  I don’t think it will get much bigger, because we had that heat wave. I have to remember to get my Brassicas planted earlier in the Spring next year or start them later for the Fall. Brussels sprouts and cabbage look good though. Celery is doing fantastic. Fennel wants to bolt.

We ate our first hand full of ground cherries today! What a unique delight. I’m attempting to train them up trellises so they don’t take up too much area.  No ripe tomatoes yet, but lots on their way. I have 9 Tomato plants.

That covers most of the bases. We are extremely happy with the garden so far! Just the right balance of successes and learning experiences and outright miracles.

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2 thoughts on “Mid-July Update

  1. Lots of healthy plants! Congrats! How do you use the dried celery tops? Hadn’t heard of that – very interesting!

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    1. Thanks! I’ve never dried them before, but my mother in law told me she would add dried celery tops to soups… I love cooking with the leafy part, and find it very disappointing that the grocery store offerings always have the tops lopped off! I toss some with potato wedges – along with garlic, parsley, other herbs – and roast for an hour.

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