Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The state of the garden

Ah, it's good to be back home. Our last week of travelling, everyone was getting a little cranky between the heat and all the walking. But we had a great time. And, I really don't mind the thirty degree temperature drop. Gotta love Seattle in July.

I was concerned about how my garden managed to survive during our absence, mostly because we have notoriously dry summers and we did have some 90 degree plus days while we were gone. My mom dutifully came over and watered everything, so nothing died this year (unlike last year when we were gone on vacation).

We missed our cherry season altogether. My mom said the birds picked our tree clean. She didn't know that we had bird netting mostly because the birds have never been interested in the past. She was saving the cherries until they were ripe and then the next day, Bam!, they were all gone. Oh well. I always assume a certain percentage for the local fauna anyway.

Our blueberry bushes produced absolutely nothing this year. Zilch. Zip. Do they have some rotation I don't know about? Because there was never anything for the birds to even think about picking off. The last two years they produced, but this year, nothing.

The apple trees aren't dead (still), but they aren't looking all that fantastic either. They are still confused from almost dying during our last summer break and then having the kids pick them clean in August. I'll be more than surprised if anything happens this year, especially since it was flowering and fruiting last October.

The potatoes are going gangbusters, but I didn't get a chance to do the final hilling, so maybe I'll try to throw some more dirt on them this week and see if anything else grows. I knew this would happen, but the stems were too short when we left to add any more dirt on top three weeks ago. And now they are huge and looking a tad weary.

My tea plant hasn't grown an inch since I bought it. At least it's not dead. Same deal with my fig tree. I've had the thing for, what, three years now? And, it's still only 12 inches tall. Asshole.

My olive tree is going crazy. I'm hoping for a bumper crop this year so I can cure some tasty arbequina olives. My banana plant didn't die either, although it looked like it had one leg in the grave when we left. My mom said she watered it like mad while we were gone, but I think it had more to do with a little heat that helped it out.

The kids' garden (which I haven't told you about yet) is doing extremely well, except for the spots where the damn neighbor cats rustled around and nothing germinated. We planted it before we left and were greeted with several rows of fully ready-to-eat french breakfast radishes and lettuce with some carrots and green onions bringing up the rear.

My asparagus plants are looking sickly, but they are still alive! The tomatoes have a few things growing, although the ones I planted from seed probably won't do anything this year. The sugar snap peas I planted last minute, and are doing well, should make up for it. And the blackberry bush pretty much doubled in size and has little berries on it.

And, finally, my pumpkin patch is getting huge! I'll have pictures once I finish settling in. I spent the weekend getting the house and kids ready for our summer sitter as I go back to work today. Yikes!

How is your summer garden growing? Any major successes or massive failures? Are you planting now for a fall/winter garden crop?

6 comments:

Brad K. said...

Maybe next year...

I planted three hills of watermelon, supposed to be baby sized, 5-8 lbs. One has one set - about 1 1/4 inch. Another has two - maybe 3 inch and 4 inch. The other has one melon set, maybe 2 inches. I figure, barring frost, maybe 1 lb by holloween.

I scattered chicken house leavings for fertilizer. Patches of milo are starting to throw heads.

Did you know that when you have prairie sod, and scatter bermuda seed, you don't see much bermuda grass get started, even 8 and 10 years later? But tear up the soil, and the bermuda wants to fill in with a vengeance. Like, say, when you would have liked to put in a garden. Sigh.

I planted a couple short rows of lettuce, and a small patch of beans. The beans sprouted nicely. One is still there; the grasshoppers all look smug. I never did see the lettuce, it didn't last that long. Grasshoppers seem much more enamored of pepper leaves and plants that tomatoes. I have about a dozen tomato plants out - three have a couple of blossoms this week.

My neighbors are selling squash, lettuce, and tomatoes. Me, I can't figure out how to get the grasshoppers to the chickens without mixing in the neighbor's chicken-threatening dog. I guess the dog is a hazard - they keep their chickens penned, too. Sigh.

At least next year I will have some space where the prairie sod is broke up and root mat pulled out.

I bought one of those 4' ring things for a round garden patch at Wal-Mart. In a panic, the day before a week-long trip out of town, I through the ring down near the rest of the garden, dropped in some old hay (mostly Johnson grass - heavy stems, 8' tall), some compost from old round bales, some mulch, and a dozen Moss Rose, like Grandma loved. Danged things are doing really well, blooming all the time.

Between the bermuda grass and grasshoppers - not doing so well.

Billie said...

I planted 2 tomato plants and a few marigolds. The marigolds got Western thrip which migrated to the one tomato plant. I ended up stripping off most of its leaves to eradicate the bugs that just wont go away. The marigolds were pulled out in an attempt to salvage the tomato plants.

Cherry tomatoes - did well
Hamburger tomatoes - leaves - none - fruit - several

Maybe next year. Every year, I get better and better at it. This year my plants were going gangbusters (my first year) until they got nailed with the bug infestation

Olivia said...

Oh no - not another one cursing a fig tree :<

Tomato plants growing like mad - huge radishes, 2 pea plants (what happened to the others?), carrots, chard, beans, beets and onions coming along - some herbs great, others not so much, pansies and dianthus sulky,lavender and spiky red flowers doing great, various squashes in various states and lettuce and spinach the same.

We have a lot of wind here (seabreezes - we are by the ocean)and very light, sandy soil so a lot of the smaller seeds were blown up after planting and have scattered themselves in various places around the garden. Makes weeding interesting . . .hmmm, is this a weed or ... no, wait, it's a baby lettuce.

Tree Huggin Momma said...

I was told blueberries are alternate year crops. I was encouraged to plant some my first year (and get nothing) then plant more my second year and so on until my 4th year which will keep me in blueberries year after year (it will take 3 years to establish, but its worth it, if you see the way my kids eat blueberries). Finally got pestacide free blueberries at the Southwedge 4 pints $16 and the kids and I have been in heaven. Bought them Thursday night no one touched them till Friday Morning and Monday morning they are gone.....

Allie said...

My tomato plant got blight. So I pulled it today.

If you put coffee grounds down in the garden the cats like to get into, they should leave it alone.

Stephanie said...

We're only growing a little this year, some tomatoes and basil mostly. Progress is really poor, the weather is really hot.

We've gotten one yellow pear tomato, and none of the plants look happy. The soil here is really poor, mostly decomposed granite.

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