Garden Update: 09.10.21

I started writing this a week ago, but I realized I didn’t have any recent pictures of the garden as a whole, so I had to wait until I mowed the lawn and took some more. It’s been awhile since I’ve updated, eh?

As is typical for this time of year, some parts of the garden have slowed their production, while others have been picking up in recent weeks. Most notably, we’re well into tomato season, and this year’s crop has been substantially better than last year’s.

Why that is, exactly, is probably up for debate. On the one hand, we moved the plot from last year, it’s received plenty of sun, we’ve been around to keep it watered, and we didn’t have any major storms come through to drop hail on the plants this year. We also added some compost to each plant. On the other hand, because we’ve been here for most of July/August, Brooke was able to keep an eye on the plants and “trellis” them more appropriately than we are usually able to. That, and she’s trimmed them back a few times. It’s probably a combination of multiple factors, really, but either way…

…the tomatoes are doing fine! It was very hot in mid-August, so Brooke didn’t really want to do much canning, so she’s just been freezing tomatoes wherever we can stick them (as of this writing, we’re supposed to get our new basement fridge today, but we’ll see…we need that in order to make more freezer space available for produce!!).

Aside from the ‘maters, we’ve also got some peppers coming on. We usually don’t end up with a ton of peppers, except for when they’re some weird variety that we probably aren’t actually going to eat. We’ve got some yellow peppers coming on, as well as some small bell peppers. Nothing too crazy, really, but it’s nice we’ve got something coming on.

Otherwise, we’ve still got soup beans on the vine(s). Brooke was going to pick those last week, but then it rained, so we’ll have to wait. She’s picked some already, as well as our other dried bean plants, but there are still quite a few soup beans yet to be picked.

Our sweet potatoes are also there in the background, moving along nicely!

As far as other things on the horizon, we’ve got a ton of apples falling off the tree! Way more than we usually have. We’ll probably pick them tomorrow so Brooke can process them into some applesauce. I’ve only tried the green ones so far, but the red ones we’ve got are new this year, and those came off the tree that fell over in late-June.

The other big news is that we actually got a few almonds this year! We haven’t eaten one yet, but we got a few! Crazy, right?! We waited until their shells popped open, then pulled these out and have been drying them for a bit. Maybe we’ll have Calvin try one, first….

Last, but not least, Brooke pulled 18 frames out of one of her hives last Thursday and we took them to Hannibal for extraction over Labor Day Weekend. We ended up with almost 60 lbs of honey, putting our total for the year close to 90 lbs. That’s quite a bit! We’ll probably have the kids sell some tomorrow, though getting enough half pint jars to put honey in for sales is still a challenge with ongoing supply shortages. Still, Brooke is pretty sure the value of the honey she’s collected this year offsets the purchase of bees for the year, so that’s a plus!

Actually, one more thing: we procured some strawberry plants from a coworker of mine that was wanting to thin their plot out, so we’ve expanded the strawberry patch a bit. No idea whether they’ll “take” or not, but I’m having to water them a bit to keep them happy, as we’re in something of a dry/hot spell this coming weekend. Brooke dug out the raspberry/blackberry “bushes” in the process and I’m going to make some more concrete bricks to line the plot, so we’ll probably just go exclusively strawberries in that space for the next few years. At least, until they die off and we get bored and want to put something else there…

There will probably be one more post later this month or early next month. There isn’t much more growing, but the garden isn’t quite done with us yet!

Garden Update: 07.25.21

The garden is doing well, though I feel like it’s been a bit less prolific than previous years. We had a lot of rain in mid-to-late June, and now these last few weeks, it’s been mostly hot and humid, so we’ve had to return to watering. It’s not like we aren’t getting anything, but it just feels like we’ve got more “lulls” between harvests.

The beans, for example, are truckin’ along. Brooke’s canned at least 12 pints of beans thus far and there’s still more coming. We’ve picked every 3 days or so and are getting an ice cream bucket’s worth every time we go out.

Again, have we had more than that in the past? Sure. But we also planted shorter rows this year and got stuff in a little late, so it hasn’t been optimal conditions. Still, the green beans are coming in fine, as well as the other beans planted in that plot. We’ve got plenty of pods on there for the beans that need to dry over the next few months and, at this rate, it may only take a few weeks…

The tomatoes are also coming on, but again, slower than I’d like. I guess they aren’t too far behind usual, and we’ve actually got a decent number of ‘maters on there, but we literally have our first reddish one on now, so we haven’t actually had one yet. We’re on track to have some in the next week or two, so hopefully it keeps up. I just need to keep watering.

The zucchini worked alright for a bit, but randomly, 2 of our 3 plants just kinda….died….all of the sudden? Their big leaves went down and wilted first, and then it was just over. We’ve got one plant left that I’m nursing a bit, so hopefully it keeps producing. We’ve had 4-5 good sized zucchini so far this year and, frankly, that’s probably all I really need, but Brooke would still like a dehydrated supply to put in pasta sauces, etc. over the winter.

The zinnias Brooke planted have caught up and are doing a good job entertaining the bees. Honestly, I don’t see all that many bees on there, but it’s what I’m telling myself. They’re attracting butterflies and moths though, so at least other pollinators are taking advantage!

The soup beans are planted between the zucchini and zinnias. They’re doing their thing. We’ll have plenty, as usual, in October.

The more recent news involves the fruit trees. The Japanese beetles are out in full force, not as bad as two years ago, but still pretty terrible. The peaches are just starting to turn, so we went ahead and picked a bunch today.

There’s still a lot on there, so hopefully we’ve slowed the beetle’s appetite a bit by taking the ones they were about to feed on, while sparing the ones that aren’t ready yet? That’s what I’m telling myself at least. As usual, I’m not sure the neem oil is doing anything, but I’m still doing it, anyway…

We’ve got two fruiting pear trees, one of which produces an Asian-variety and has tons on it (but we never know when to pick them….like….every year….), and the other tree has never fruited before until this year! And of the two pears we can see on the tree, one of them is covered in beetles. Ug.

The two apple trees are doing their thing. With the flooding we had a month ago (which, yes, I will post about at some point….), one of the trees fell over and had to be propped up…twice… Still, there are still apples on there and they’re looking good!

And pictured above, we’ve still got almonds! I think we’ve got 7 up there, maybe? Definitely more than last year. Are we guaranteed to actually get to eat them this time? Uh, absolutely not. But hey, here’s hoping!

And last, but not least, we harvested honey a few weeks ago! The “package” hive is doing well and we got maybe 30 lbs of honey from it (plus some excess from the wax Brooke brought back from her parents’ house). The “nuc” hive is a bit more problematic. For some reason, they bees weren’t heading up into the super and didn’t put any honey there, even though it seemed like there was plenty of honey and brood in the bottom, deep hives. It was kind of weird, so Brooke will be getting back into it sometime soon to see if they’ve started pushing upward. With as dry as it’s been, there may be more capped honey in there, but we’re also slowing down a bit as we’re in the “dog days of Summer.”

Hopefully we have more tomatoes by the next time I update things!

Garden Update: 06.15.21

The garden’s off to a decent start for the year! We had a relatively mild late-May, but it seems like the sun’s been out for the last few weeks now and we’re already having to water everything to keep stuff growing.

The kale is over and done with, but we left it out for awhile because it seemed like the bees were enjoying the flowers. Brooke planted a few more kale plants that are still out there (aside from that gigantic one on the right that’s very much gone to seed…), but with the heat, I doubt they’re going to last long. We also don’t have any spinach in there either, so I’ll probably just be trying to keep a lid on the weeds until we decide what to put there.

One of the squash plants Brooke put in didn’t make it, but the other three are moving along. The soup beans in the background are moving along, though they aren’t particularly large yet. The flowers Brooke planted seemingly a month ago really haven’t done much, surprisingly, so I’m not holding my breath.

The other bean plants, though, are doing great. They’ve started to flower a bit, but no pods have shown up. I need to do some more weeding around the plants, but if we keep them watered, I suspect we’ll have plenty to pick in 3-4 weeks.

The tomatoes are looking good, too! We’ve got 16 plants, one of which looks to be on the outs, but relatively speaking, that’s pretty good. We’ve also got 4 pepper plants, one of which already has 3 baby peppers on it.

We’re struggling with the trellis system, though. We were going to get cattle panels, cut them, and bend them into cages, but we’re looking at $150 for that kind of an upgrade. This year, we’ll probably still go on with some metal fence posts and string to wrap around the plants as they get taller. There are a few plants that are tall enough that they need some support, so this weekend, we’ll probably get out there get it set up.

The strawberries are done for the year. This past weekend, Brooke went out there and transplanted all of the shoots that had inserted themselves outside the bounds of the border and moved them to the surrounding area. We added some grass clippings and compost to bury them, but now we need to keep an eye on them and keep them wet. Really any additional strawberry plants are a “bonus,” so if anything survives, great! But if now, then ah well.

Brooke thinks we ended up with 15 quarts of strawberries by the end, which is more than last year by a decent amount. She made some freezer jam with it, and otherwise, we just tried sharing them with neighbors. We were gone to Florida during the height of picking, but the neighbors were able to keep tabs on them and make sure someone enjoyed them. They saved us plenty, too!

The cherries have been the next thing to deal with! Brooke made a cobbler with some of them, so now we’re struggling with what to do with the rest. We’ll probably leave some for Calvin, since he really liked eating them last year, but Brooke may try to make some canned cherry pie filling for use later on in the year!

Similar to the strawberries, the cherries were probably “ready” while we were in Florida, though they were still delayed a bit relative to the strawberries. Last year, Calvin would go out daily and just pick and eat them by the handful. This year, he hasn’t been here enough to do that! There’s always next year, I suppose.

Last but not least, Brooke got into the bees last weekend and they looked great! She put another super on the nuc hive, so hopefully we’re ready to start extracting around July 4th. We may take some to Hannibal this year, as we should have a little more time to get an extraction in among the usual mud volleyball festivities. As you can see above, the frames don’t look capped, but there’s plenty of honey in there, so give it a few weeks and we should be good to go.

We probably don’t have much more to harvest until July! Once the beans come on, we’ll be busy with more!

Garden Update: 05.13.21

We’re a bit late to get our planting in this season, largely because the weather has been very inconsistent (i.e. rain, cold, cloudy, etc.), but also because we were gone to Yellowstone last week (more on that in future posts!). Brooke also had grand plans to burn a large pile of leaves and branches a month or so ago, but because we kept having cold, wet weather, the pile never quite caught fire.

She did get some spinach and kale planted in one of the plots, though some of the kale survived from last year (flowering above). We had a nice spinach salad last weekend, so we’re getting plenty of it, and Brooke dehydrated and chopped up some kale a few weeks ago for smoothies, so the “leafy greens” side of the garden has been working just fine so far. She also planted some flowers that are starting to pop up in the foreground of this shot.

Today, I tilled the rest of the garden after Brooke raked off the remnants of the “burn pile that wouldn’t burn.” She planted green beans, pinto beans, black beans, and soup beans (that one’s close to the existing kale and spinach plot), and we plugged in tomatoes and various pepper varieties in another plot (pictured above with the milk jugs on top). We think the tomatoes and peppers have waned a bit in recent years, so Brooke grabbed some manure bags today to try and supplement a bit, so hopefully that makes a difference this time around.

The strawberries are back in full swing. We’re going to be gone again in early June which, based on last year’s pictures, we should then have fruit ready. The plot has branched out a bit, so we definitely have more plants than last year. Hopefully that leads to more strawberries! Also, it looks like the raspberries have randomly decided they’re going to start shooting up more branches after 4 years?? It’s a bit weird….to be filling in…now….

The fruit trees are also moving along! We had a crazy cold spell a few weeks ago, so we were a bit afraid of whether the trees would bear anything, but low and behold, they have. Above, we’ve got some almonds growing, though still not all that many. Maybe 5 on the tree right now? There could be some higher off the ground, but we aren’t expecting much.

There are a metric tons of cherries, though. Again, the cherries will probably be ready when we’re out of town, so hopefully the birds leave a few for us…Calvin will be very disappointed if there aren’t any left for him…

The apples and peaches are also coming on well, though some of the branches on the peach tree look a bit dicey, for some reason (like, no leaves on some of the larger branches? Strangely?!). So yeah, there are definitely peaches on there, but it’s tough to know whether we’ll have as many as last year.

Last, but not least, we have new tenants in the beehives! Brooke got a package for the tall one and a nuc for the smaller one, a few weeks separated from one another. They’ve been relatively active, despite the lack of quality weather. She’s probably going to add a super to the big hive tomorrow, and maybe another deep on the nuc hive. We expanded the bee area a month or so ago so that I can mow near the boxes more easily, and also to level out the boxes better (there used to be a tree in the ground behind where those boxes are, so there’s some ground sinking slowly…making it hard to keep the boxes level long-term…). There’s a spot for a third box, but we’ll probably just wait until we get a split from Brooke’s Dad.

The flowers I grabbed from Mom and Dad’s house last year also came back pretty well, too. The columbine has been flowering for a few weeks now, and the irises came out while we were gone on vacation. This plot of flowers are probably going to spread out quite a bit over the summer, so I’ll have to keep an eye on it. I’m sure the bees will be happy, though!

It’s supposed to rain quite a bit over the next week, so hopefully we’ll have more to share in a month!

Garden Update: 08.27.20

It’s been just over a month since the last update, and relative to where we were in July, things have definitely slowed down. Brooke planted beans and zucchini where we had the radishes and kale and those things are doing wonderfully. The soup bean pods just showed up this week, and the black beans are drying out quite a bit, so they’re going to be ready to pick soon. The zucchini have been doing well, way more than we actually want let alone need

As far as zucchini go, we’ve picked two or three like this every other day or so. It’s been pretty silly. It’s great to grow stuff and have them work really well…….but we only have so many things we want to use zucchini with (e.g. fried, bread, cookies…..muffins?)

Speaking of beans, our rattlesnake beans came back voluntarily! You can see some of them there at the top of this pic. We probably won’t end up with more than a handful of beans from the pods, but hey….we did almost literally zero work for these, so whatever.

Our peppers have been hit-or-miss. The “lunchbox peppers” Brooke planted are starting to come on pretty well now, so we’re getting a few of those every day or two. The bigger Margaret peppers have also come on better than last year, but still not tons of them. Obviously the green beans are way done, but there are still some pods growing on some of the plants. The sunflowers, though, look beautiful!

You can see some of the lunchbox peppers in orange , as well as a few tomatoes (more on that in a second). We also picked our granny smith apples! They were starting to brown at the top, so we didn’t want to let them go any longer. I picked 7 and sent them to Mom and Dad’s last weekend, so these represent the rest of the litter from the tree. We ended up with way more than we expected, and they seem to taste pretty good! Not as good as a gala apple or something, but hey….these were free(ish)!

Speaking of the tomatoes, we’ve been pretty disappointed this year. We got some really, really nice “slicer” tomatoes a few weeks ago, but since then, they’ve almost literally dried up. The cherry tomatoes are coming on very nicely, which has been good since Meg’s been home over summer, but other than that, the paste tomatoes Brooke planted have barely done anything, and the others have been one- or two-at-a-time, so never enough to process sauce or anything.

This gigantic plant is a volunteer. I’ve thought it was a watermelon for the past few weeks.

Things like this are what we’ve seen. Maybe 11 or 12 of them coming off that one plant.

Welp….we don’t think they’re watermelon anymore…

We found this out there, yellowing and, incidentally, rotting. Apparently, we’ve got a whole bunch of pumpkins growing!

That’s enough for now! Maybe one or two more posts as we finish out this year’s growing season. One last thing I should probably mention so we remember when these were planted…

Brooke ordered more strawberries! They’re June-bearing berries from Jung Seeds, this time. Since we got such a good yield this year from the existing plants, we want to keep things rolling by refreshing the plants from time to time. Hopefully we’ll end up with more than we did this year!

Crazy Day Yesterday

So, we went to Hannibal last weekend to extract honey for the first time this year. Brooke pulled 28 frames from her hives here in Marshall and ended up with 8-10 gallons of honey. Her Dad had more like 70 frames, so it was a looooooooong day of extracting for them. The kids and I mostly hung out in the pool, so that was nice. 😉

Anyway, with so much honey, including some we and Brooke’s Dad had left from last Fall, the conversation moved toward “how do we offload it?” The kids sounded amenable to putting a table outside our house, so we figured we’d give that a try. Frankly, I didn’t expect more than a few people to stop, if that. We also figured the kids would get bored and want to come inside. The temperature was actually quite pleasant for August 1st, so it wasn’t nearly as hot as it could have been.

They stayed out there for 6 hours. 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. They sold through $212 of various products, including candles, last Fall’s honey, and the more recent batch from this Spring.

They also got $10 in tips. People just dropped by and gave them $2.

I went out for a 20 mile bike ride as they were getting started, and as they were set up relatively far from the house, Brooke wanted to be in earshot of them, so she did some stuff in the garden, and also started picking peaches. We ended up with 10 gallons of those, too!! They actually taste much better than they did last year, and they were good enough to just bite through the skin and eat right off the tree.

They’re getting toward the end of their cycle though, so there were quite a few on the ground already, and as we picked some of them from the tree, peaches typically fell. For some reason, the japanese beetles have been much more mild this year, so we didn’t have to fight off many of those, though we did spot a few as we were doing some picking.

Brooke even put 10 at a time into paper bags to have the kids sell for $2 a bag. We think they sold 8-10 bags of peaches, too!

By the end of the day, we were ready to actually eat some of them, so Brooke put them into a crisp and we enjoyed them that way. Deeeeeelicious. 🙂

All in all, we were very impressed with the kids. They were polite, they took turns coming in if they needed something like water or a snack, they didn’t complain about it… They seemed to have a lot of fun!

So much so, they earned a $55 table-top air hockey set. It should get here tomorrow. 🙂

Garden Update: 7.26.20

I’m catching up after a few weeks, so bear with me a bit…. The bean crop kinda got the best of us when it ramped up in earnest after we returned from July 4th in Hannibal. We picked…and picked….and picked….multiple rounds like this, to the point where Brooke was quite done with canning… We ended up with around 30 pints of beans, plus the ones we’ve been eating on here and there. We didn’t end up giving many away because our beans came on late and everyone we’d usually give them away to was also inundated, so they didn’t need more. We should be set in the veggie department for, oh, a few years….

Around the same time we were dealing with the beans, the zucchini plants had grown pretty full, but we hadn’t seen many zucchini on the plants…until we found this gigantic one just chillin’, waiting to be picked. Brooke ended up shredding and dehydrating it, so we haven’t actually used it yet, but we’ve got another one or two on, so she’ll get creative with them momentarily.

We’ve also got other bean plants surrounding the zucchini plants, so as those start to slow down, the beans are going to take their place. The soup beans are vining well, so I’m sure we’ll get our usually ridiculous crop of those by the time we pick them in October/November…

The foreground still isn’t doing a lot, but there are some kale plants, spinach, and a random giant thing that’s either going to make a watermelon or pumpkin. Who can say? Certainly not me.

The tomatoes in the background are starting to produce quite a bit, mostly in the cherry tomato department, but just today, Brooke picked some beefy ones that we look forward to turning into BLTs later this week.

So yeah, not a ton yet, but certainly enough to start enjoying! That one in the upper right is one I’m particularly excited to chomp on…….

The green bean plants are in the middle there, and they’ve slowed down quite a bit. There are still some beans on there, but we’ll probably just keep an eye on them and grab a handful here and there. Brooke also planted sunflowers on the north side for the fun of it, and they’ve been blooming for a week or so.

The pepper plants still don’t look great, and in fact, a storm knocked a few of them over to the point they may not make it, but we’ve gotten some margaret peppers comin’ on that will hopefully be tasty.

In other news, the peach tree is….truckin’ along…to the point that it’s so weighed down with peaches, that branches are breaking…

I mean, on one level, I’m pretty pleased that there are so many fruit on there! But they aren’t ripe enough yet, and the japanese beetles have found them, so even with a billion peaches on there, we still may not get many… I’ve been using neem oil on them once a week, but we’re expecting rain this week, so I may need to wait until the rain subsides a bit.

Our apple trees and pear tree are also producing. The granny smith apple tree, especially, has a solid number on there, but Brooke says it isn’t time yet, so she isn’t letting me test any out… Hopefully I get to before the squirrels get them……ug…..

And last, but not least, so much honey! Brooke collected around 28 frames last Thursday, and we took them to Hannibal this weekend. We ended up with around 8-10 gallons of honey, which is a mostly ridiculous amount to get from two hives, one of which was just established a few months ago. Mark pulled 70 frames himself, so altogether, we ended up with around 30 gallons (and hundreds of pounds….) of honey this weekend between Hannibal and Marshall. I think the kids are going to try and set up a table and sell honey along the street, so we’ll see how that goes. Brooke’s going to try and contact “the powers that be” at our Farmer’s Market to see if she can set up there, in which case, we should be able to offload it relatively quickly. Plenty to get rid of!

Garden Update: 07.02.20

It’s been a minute since I updated about the garden. We’ve got some tomatoes on the vines now, including some pretty beefy big ones that’ll help make some great BLTs in a few weeks. The cherry tomatoes are moving along, but we haven’t seen any red ones yet. Also, some of Brooke’s paste tomatoes are looking to be a good size, but again, I think we’re a few weeks away.

The green beans and peppers can be seen in the lower left of the above image. No beans yet, but plenty of flowers on the plants, so in a week or so, we’ll probably be picking. It’s been pretty hot this week and last, so once that happened, the plants really started perking up.

I happened upon these margaret peppers yesterday when I was seeing why one of the plants was mostly on its side. It was apparently weighed down by huge peppers! We’ll wait until these are red, so it’ll be a bit before we can pick them, but what a pleasant surprise! We don’t usually have peppers on at this point in July, let alone peppers this size. Excellent!

Here’s a better view of the pepper plants and green beans. You can see all the flowers on there, so yeah…tons of beans coming on… At the back of this plot, Brooke planted some sunflowers, so those are slowly rising above the green bean plants.

In the background, we’ve got raspberries on the plant, so Calvin’s been going out and stealing them. The strawberries have been done for a few weeks, but we were soooooo pleased with how many we got. We were getting bowl-fulls daily for awhile there, so plenty to fill ourselves with and plenty to share! Brooke ordered some new plants, so we’ll add some more to the plot and expand it for next year. We didn’t get enough strawberries for a pie (well, total, we probably did, but not enough to split and use for other things, too…..), so gotta put more plants in.

Lastly, Brooke never planted any “pole beans” (just didn’t get around to it), but we do have a volunteer growing from last year, so we’ll probably end up with a few, regardless!

Brooke replanted the spinach and kale plot with zucchini, black beans, and soup beans. Those plants are all doing really well, but are a bit behind the green beans in total size (aside from the zucchini, of course). I need to do some weeding around that plot, and with the kids being gone next week, maybe I’ll find the motivation….(hah!).

The lettuce is looking good still, too! Probably getting done with it in the next two weeks, but we’ve had a good run of lettuce this year! Brooke dehydrated the kale and put it through the food processor, so we’ve got a few pint jars of powdered kale sitting in the freezer. What will we do with it? Who knows! Expect Christmas presents of powdered kale. 🙂

Last, but not least, so many peaches! Like, I said this last year too, but this year is so many more. Unfortunately, the japanese beetles have reared their ugly little heads, so Brooke’s already doing battle with them while I spray neem oil every week. Not sure it’s actually doing any good, but it makes me feel like I’m trying, at least…..

That’ll do for now! Another post coming once we start getting ‘maters!!

Garden Update 06.08.20

As I’ve made pretty clear with the last few points, we’ve been friggin’ busy these last few weeks, but while we’ve been busy inside the house, the garden has been doing its thing with some minimal intervention from us (aside from a little weeding here and there).

Brooke planted green beans a few weeks ago, and only in the past few days, they’ve finally started looking pretty good. We had a bout of cooler, rainy weather that wasn’t all that conducive to our hot-weather plants, so now that we’ve had weather in the upper-80s and lower-90s for the past 5 days, the beans are finally making headway.

The green pepper plants south of the beans are also finally looking better. It just took some sun showing up for them to finally take off. I wouldn’t say we’re out of the woods yet on them, though, as they’re pretty small. Brooke also added some sunflower seeds to the north part of the plot, so they’re up and moving around. We’ll see how they turn out…

The tomatoes are also finally taking off. I pulled the milk jugs off of them a few weeks ago because the plants were getting too big, but even then, they slowed down their growth due to the aforementioned cooler weather. The four varieties we’re running are all moving at around 3 plants apiece. We’ll have to see. Got another month or so to go on them…but we’re optimistic…

Today, I tilled up the last bit of the garden that wasn’t planted yet. Brooke put in more kale and spinach, as that part of the garden is relatively shady and will hopefully give us some leafy greens later on in the summer. I think this is the first time we’ve tried planting those things in mid-June, so we’ll see how that goes.

Speaking of spinach and kale, the former is mostly done (though they’re still in the garden), and the latter is ready for harvest. The kale is still looking pretty good though, so Brooke will probably pull it sometime later this week.

In the plot that previously hosted the radishes, Brooke planted zucchini. We’ve planted it before, but I don’t recall much coming of it. Instead of a mound, Brooke put them in a row. Again, this is a “we’ll see” kinda deal.

The garlic is still doing its thing, too. Waiting for them to be done!

Speaking of radishes, we got a lot! Only a few of them, thus far, are what I’d qualify as “good.” A few of the ones I’ve tried are pretty tough and fibrous, but I’m not ready to toss them all out yet.

The real story of the summer thus far is the strawberries, though. We’re getting at least a bowl like this every day, but we’ve been fighting against the slugs for them… These tiny little things keep getting the strawberries right at the “ripe” point, so we’re picking them just a day early to make sure we get some. We’ve given some to the neighbors and to my parents so far, and even with that, we’ve ended up with enough to put on ice cream and put in a breakfast cake, so we’re very satisfied with the crop!

In other news, Brooke planted some sage and bee balm in the raised bed to go with the other herbs. They’re not doing much yet, but the lettuce is finally looking good. We’ll probably have more salads next week, or at least some sandwiches. Too bad we don’t have tomatoes to go with a BLT just yet…

Today, Brooke started picking cherries! Infamously, we got a single, solitary, sad little cherry last year. This year, we’ve got quite a few more than that! Brooke said this was maybe 10% of what’s on the tree right now, so we’ve got a bit to go. We’ll probably pick every other day or so, but we’ve heard that rain can make them split, and as it’s supposed to rain the next few days, we may have to pick a few early again. Still, better than last year!

Speaking of “better than last year,” peaches. So many peaches. All the peaches.

And last but not least, the bees are doing their thing! Again, it’s been hot these last few days, so they’ve been bearding frequently. The existing hive is the one with the ridiculous numbers, but the new hive is still doing fine. I’ve noticed some bearding, but there simply just aren’t as many bees in that southern hive as in the northern one. Brooke needs to hop into the hive and see how much honey they’re putting away, but I would bet we’ve got enough to harvest by July 4th.

Onward, Summer!

Garden Update: 05.10.20

The early(ish?) Spring has been pretty good to the garden so far. The radishes are doing really well (middle), and the kale (to the left) and the spinach (to the right) are coming along, though Brooke planted some extra seeds in there to try and fill out the row a bit better. To the far right, the garlic is…still doing its thing…

The tomatoes are doing well, too, but the temperatures these past few nights (dropping to the mid-30s) weren’t kind to at least a few of the plants. I pulled the jugs off a few that were growing out of the holes at the top (visible in the image above), but replaced them today after a few of the stems broke. They were damaged relatively high off the ground and they still have leaves, so I’m hopeful they’ll make it…

I should also note the straw, at this point. We kept it from Oktoberfest last Fall to protect the bees for the Winter, and figured this time, rather than grass clippings between the rows to limit weed growth, we could just spread the straw instead. We’ve still got some bales left, as we don’t have everything planted yet, so for now, they’re just taking up space: just not on my grass…

The peppers are also doing their thing, but growing a bit slower. We haven’t had many days in the 80s yet, so they’re probably wanting a little bit more heat…

The green beans are going in the soil next to them, but we haven’t planted them yet. I think we’re putting black beans in this year, too, as sell as soup beans (duh!).

The strawberries are taking off! Quite a few flowers have shown up, and the middle of the patch has some new plants popping up. Our next outdoor project will involve expanding the berry patch out and planting some new stuff, but first….gotta finish up the bedroom upstairs……more on that eventually…

The new bees arrived last week! She got into the older hive and put a new super with queen excluder on. For the new hive, put in new frames on the bottom, then transferred frames from the nuc into the top box, and then dumped the bees into the middle. A few days later, she added empty frames again. Both times she got into the new hive, she found the queen, but hasn’t seen much new brood in there yet.

In other news, we’ve got almonds! Like, five of them? Not very many, for sure… We’ve still got frost warnings happening still, so hopefully those few almonds make it….we’ve been waiting 5 years……..

And last, but not least, the peaches are back! Millions of them. There are so many peaches on that tree. We’ve also got apples and a ton of cherries (we only got one last year).

So yeah, I think that’s it…since we don’t have much growing yet, there’s not a ton to say yet, except that things are moving along…

And we had to cover the strawberries tonight because we have yet another frost warning….ug.