Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Garden News

We have finally been getting some rain here in WI and boy is my garden happy.  It seems like they all doubled in size in the last couple weeks.  Which makes me a very happy girl.  One of my goals for July was to pick some fresh produce, and I know I'll be able to cross that one off my list.

This is one of my three raised beds.  It contains four tomato plants, three hot pepper plants, two green pepper plants, and one stevia plant.  The fences is about two fee tall, so that gives you an idea of how large the tomatoes are.

Here are some of my Super Sweets, not quite ready to be picked.  The two cherry tomato plants are loaded with these little guys.  I can't wait to make some caprese salad.

And look, there is an orange Roma tomato hiding towards the bottom of the plant.  Roma tomatoes are one of our favorite tomatoes.  It's nice and meaty, and rich in color.  They make great salsa, sauce, and caprase salad (if you haven't guested, we're big fans of caprases).

And speaking of salsa, here are some tiny, tiny jalapenos.  We will have a freezer full of jalapenos this year.  Last year, my jalapenos didn't form fruit, so I'm pretty excited for all the peppers we'll have.   

And here are some of the hot peppers on one of the heirloom pepper plants.  I planted two from a mix of different peppers hoping for a little variety, but looks like I have two of the same plants.  That's okay.  I used two of these little guys in my Soba Noodle recipe the other day.  I can say, these little peppers have quite the kick.

This year I decided to give Stevia a try.  It's off and growing well.  I read that they take a little while to get established, but once they are, they grow like crazy.  It really is a pretty awesome little plant.  The leaves are so sweet.  You would never guess it by looking at it.  They work well to sweeten tea or you can just eat them straight off the plant.  I plan on drying it to use as a natural sweetener all year round. I think I'll be planting this one every year.

And of course my broccoli and carrots seem to be doing okay.  They did not react very well to our extreme heat wave, which has returned.  I've been keeping them well watered and hoping for the best.  You can see that I had some cabbage loopers enjoying the broccoli leaves, but I remedied that with a quick removal of the worms and a little natural pesticide designed specifically for worms like this.  Maybe I'll even luck out and get some broccoli this year.  

The rest of my plants aren't doing the best.  My onions and snow peas did not like the 100 degree weather at all.  I tried to keep them as happy as I could, but I lost almost all of my onions and the snow peas are on their last limbs.  That's okay, I can do a fall crop of both of those plants.  My garlic, another first this year, did pretty well.  I got small heads of garlic out of all of them, so I'm pleased.  Now that I know how to grow them, I'll plant a ton more this fall.  

And as always, my herbs are doing great.  I've had to cut back the mint two or three times now.  I've also trimmed all three of my basil plants (Thai, Purple, and Sweet) back a number of times.  The secrete to large herb plants is trimming them back.  I know, it doesn't make much sense, but it really does work.  

And just a note on my raised garden beds.  I use a combination of peat moss, compost, and wood chips in one and straight up soil in the other.  The one with the combination is doing much better then the soil alone.  I wanted to try growing without soil, but was skeptical.  I can honestly say, I'm sold.  The plants in the combination are so much happier, so all the beds will have a combination in them next year.  And hopefully will be overflowing with happy, healthy plants.

How does your garden grow?  Have you harvested anything yet?  Did you try anything new or plan on trying something next year?  I'd love to know.  

And always stay creative my friends.     


Anonymous said...

How exciting! I'm sorry to hear that the heat has caused some of your plants a bit of fuss, but good to see that you are getting some stuff to grow! I've got a garden update post already scheduled for next week- getting much of the same as you- tomatos, peppers, & herbs.

Storm, The Psychotic Housewife said...

Your garden looks a lot better than mine, that's for sure. Even with cooler weather, my onions didn't do too well, either.