Garden Update: Mid-September

That's all she wrote...
That’s all she wrote…

Now that September is nearly over, the garden’s pretty much done for the year.  This past week, the highs were still in the low 90s and the sun stayed out, so we ended up turning a few more tomatoes red than I expected to, but overall, we’re in a “down year” for our tomato crop.  The corn has dried out pretty effectively, though we haven’t tested the kernels to see if they “pop” as they’re supposed to.

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The peppers have mostly died out, though the coyame peppers keep on producing. Brooke’s been spending most of her garden time dehydrating peppers, then dicing them up to make pepper flakes (for some unknown, future purpose…). The margaret peppers never really did much, though we did get some peppers off them.  The peppers definitely produced, but I just don’t remember getting all that many off the plants.  This is probably because margaret peppers are intended as “red” peppers, so I wasn’t picking them in their “green” state.  As such, sometimes they’d shrivel up before we’d get to them.

A few 'maters in there...soooooo many peppers...
A few ‘maters in there…soooooo many peppers…

The coyames, alternatively, turn red and then stay red for awhile, giving us the time to pick them.  Of course, they’re hot peppers, so not exactly the kind of thing I’m going to slice up and slap onto the grill.  Oh well.

Pumpkins!
Pumpkins!

The pumpkin story is yet to be completed. The plants died out pretty rapidly, leaving behind at least 15 little orange pumpkins. Beetles got to them, but I think we’ve still got a few viable ones out there. Brooke tried spreading some Sevin on them, as that was a pesticide that she could carefully avoid contaminating bees with, but we aren’t sure how much it helped.  We’ll see, I guess…

Herb(s)!
Herb(s)!

The basil took over the herb garden.  Lavender, oregano and lemon balm are still doing quite well, but weeds have invaded this area of the garden.  The sunflowers aren’t looking great anymore, but I think Brooke is planning on using them for something.

Overall, I think the “herb garden” was pretty successful this year, though processing everything else has detracted from our use of it.  Which is to say, there’s a lot of fresh stuff in there, but Brooke needs to spend more time dehydrating oregano and basil for later use, and less time dehydrating peppers.  Still, a good problem to have!

Trees!
Trees!

I wanted to include another picture of the trees, as they’ve done remarkably well.  The pear trees are still lagging behind the others, as they got hit by Japanese beetles, but the trunks have grown quite a bit in recent weeks, so I think they’ll make it through the winter and come through stronger than ever for next year.  I can’t remember if we should see fruit yet next summer, but I can at least plan for the trees to survive

Meat! ...wait...what?
Meat! …wait…what?

We ended up getting access to some “pork ends” from a co-worker of mine.  $20 for 60 lbs of leftover cuts.  Some of it was definitely better than others, but Brooke ended up grinding 20 lbs of it by hand (then vacuum sealing it and freezing it), followed by some additional portions she saved for cutting up (i.e. various purposes), and lastly the leftover “fatty” portions for rendering.  If I recall, she ended up getting maybe 4 lbs of fat off what she saved.

...quite a bit of processing went down...
…quite a bit of processing went down…

It brought back some memories for Brooke, who used to work behind a meat counter.  I’m not sure she’d like to do this all the time, but for the money, we ended up getting quite a bit of usable pork to use this winter.

That’s probably it with regards to “garden updates” for 2016!  The highs this next week are in the 70s, so while we’ll get a few more tomatoes to ripen, it certainly won’t reach the heights of tomato juice production we’ve had in past years.  Brooke has a few buckets frozen downstairs, but again, I don’t anticipate she’ll get more than a few quarts.  Perhaps we’ll be pleasantly surprised…

Garden Update: Mid-August

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I realized I hadn’t posted an update since late-June, so I figured I ought to add some more pictures.  Overall, the garden’s finally starting to yield some produce.  It sure looks healthy, for the most part, though we’re still in waiting mode for many parts.  The pumpkins took over this section of the garden, and have continue into the rest of the yard.  There is a single watermelon plant somewhere in there, but considering how voracious the pumpkins have been, I don’t expect them to make much.  We’re having to keep the pumpkins out of the tomatoes, so keeping an eye on their growth has almost become a full-time job…

Popcorn!
Popcorn!

The corn has tasseled and has some ears on it, finally.  Brooke pulled up the carrots weeks ago, so she planted some peas on the other side of the corn in hopes they’ll do something for the Fall.  There are some little plants growing slowly, but it’s still too soon to tell if we’ll get anything out of them.

Peppers, tomatoes, etc.
Peppers, tomatoes, etc.

The coyame pepper plants have gone insane.  These were some free seed packs from Monsanto that we inherited and, believe you me, those geneticists know what they’re doing.  They’re similar in hotness to jalapeños, so Brooke will probably end up drying them and grinding them into chili powder.  The margaret peppers we planted aren’t doing quite as well, though we’ve still harvested a few.  They’re closer to regular ol’ bell peppers.  That sad little wilty plant in the middle of the picture is a margaret pepper plant and we’re trying to keep ‘er going.  It’s got some peppers on it still that we’d like to continue with.

The bean plants in the background are also moving alone.  The green beans are mostly done at this point.  We ended up with around 2 gal of fresh green beans that we ate on as we picked them.  We’ve still got cans of beans downstairs from previous summers, so Brooke wasn’t quite as ambitious this time around.  The soup beans are coming along nicely, and the edamame (read: soybeans) are producing a metric ton, so we expect to do pretty well on that front.

Some beans and such from last week.
Some beans and such from last week.

Otherwise, the tomatoes are still coming along, albeit slowly.  They really got hammered by the hail a few months ago and it seems like that hampered their growth on the north side.  There’s also something eating them that we haven’t been able to identify.  It isn’t squirrels or rabbits, but likely some kind of caterpillar or other insect, as we’ll find random holes through all the good ones.  Still, it seems like that’s slowing down and we’re starting to get them now.  If they continue, we should end up with a healthy number of roma tomatoes and other “slicer”-varieties.

Herbs!
Herbs!

Lastly, the basil, lemon balm and oregano really took off since the end of June, let alone the sunflowers.  The lavender has slowed down quite a bit, and the lettuce is done.  The comparable picture from June of this section of the garden sure looks sparse!

That’s good for now.  Weeds are slowing down and we’re having to supplement our watering now, which isn’t too surprising.  We ended up with 4 in of rain last week when we got back from our vacation, but the ground drank it all up and we had to water again shortly thereafter.

I should also note that Brooke’s been using Sevin dust on various leaves to kill off the Japanese Beetles that are still going after our plants, especially one of our peach trees.  We’re finding them on some other leaves too, but Brooke’s trying to keep it away from the flowers so she doesn’t influence the bees.  For now, the trees are fine, but we’re having to keep an eye on them.

Garden Update: Late-June

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The garden’s looking pretty good since Brooke and I spent hours last weekend weeding it, so I figured I should post something before it’s hideous again.  Here in the forefront, the pumpkins are starting to look pretty good, but the squirrels dug out one of the hills, so one series of watermelon plants is down.  Hopefully we get something out of the three plants that are still there, but again, they won’t be ready until September anyway.  The tomatoes, on the other hand, are doing remarkably well.  We’ve found three or four “volunteer” tomato plants that we’ve plugged in where we lost some to hail and, thus far, they’re doing pretty well.  We’ve even got some tomato plants flowering!

Beans and peppers
Tomatoes and pumpkins

The bean plants are looking really good (the main reason I wanted to take pictures, really…), though some of the soybeans are smaller than I’d prefer.  The green beans and soup beans, as usual, are going gangbusters, so we’ll end up with a good crop of them.  I’ve staked two of the pepper plants, as they were starting to grow more “sideways” than “up-ways”, though two of the plants are still looking pretty small, so I dunno how they’ll ultimately turn out.

Herbs
Herbs

The herbs are looking a lot better now, after supplementing with some larger plants a few weeks ago.  A few of Brooke’s original seed starts are still with us (cosmos, aster, basil), but I added oregano, lavender and lemon balm.  The lettuce is looking awesome and we’ve eaten some of it already.  The sunflowers, seen in the background, are also starting to really take off.

Trees
Trees

Lastly, the trees seem to be doing alright, though their growth has slowed down.  We got 2.5 in. of rain a few days ago (finally), so I don’t feel the need to water them this week, but I had to run a hose out there to each tree the last two weeks due to lack of rainfall.  I trimmed a few of their low hanging branches the other day too, as I’d rather them grow “up” rather than “out” at this point.

Everything’s still growing!  I didn’t bother taking a picture of the popcorn, as there isn’t much to see yet.  We’ve got some plants growing, but they look pretty sparse.  It remains to be seen whether anything will come of them, but we’re treating them as more of a “test” than anything else.

Onward into July!

Garden Update: Early June

Bees!
Bees!

I’ve got a few things to cover here, so it may get kinda lengthy…  The first thing that bears mention is the bees!  We don’t have chickens here (yet…), but for the time-being, bees will be our means of extending this homesteading venture beyond growing stuff in the ground.  Brooke ordered some bees a few months ago and they arrived in early-May.  Since that time, we’ve largely left them alone, aside from giving them copious amounts of sugar water to keep them happy until more flowers are blooming.  The hives are in the yucca plants underneath our maple trees near the garden, providing them with a decent amount of protection from the elements (more on that soon…).  They don’t get a ton of sun, but I’ve trimmed the maple trees a bit to make sure they get it for at least an hour in the morning and in the evening.  We’ll see how they do there, but right now, it seems like they get especially active in the early 10:00 hour and remain that way until the evening.  In the picture above, Brooke was opening up the hive to make sure the queen was doing her job and, at least a few weeks ago, it seemed like comb was being laid and brood were present, so thus far, the bees appear to be doing their jobs!

Now, speaking of “protection from the elements…

Our ocean of bean plants...
Our ocean of bean plants…

A pretty big hail storm came through just before Memorial Day weekend.  And by “huge,” I mean some pretty big hail.  It was over golf ball size at our house, but larger stones fell just north of us.  Thankfully, Brooke’s new car was on the other side of the state at the time and mine was in the garage…

Them's big...
Them’s big…

The house is mostly undamaged, but we’ve got a few estimates coming in to see if we need to do anything.  The garage roof needs to be replaced, but we need to look at just how much work we want to put into it right now.

Again, the bees were fine because of their placement under the trees, but the garden got hit pretty hard.  Brooke had just planted green beans, soup beans, and soybeans in the garden plot above, where you see a small ocean forming.

Oh no! Tomatoes!
Oh no! Tomatoes!

Our tomatoes were mostly spared, but many of the milk jug covers were blown off as the storm came in.  The unprotected plants were mostly decimated, but the ones that remained covered were fine.  We lost a few plants, but the rest of them have bounced back pretty well by now.  The peas got hit too, as they were probably the largest plants at the time.  Since then, Brooke has harvested all the peas and pulled up the plants so we can make room for planting popcorn.

The entirety of our pea crop.
The entirety of our pea crop.

We still don’t feel like we’re getting all that many peas.  This is the third time we’ve done it and it seems like we’re always getting enough peas for one or two meals.  We can make green beans and soup beans like nobody’s business, but peas are always difficult for us.  They tasted great last night!  We just want more…

Carrots...
Carrots…

The carrots are looking good and probably need to get pulled soon. Again, the peas and radishes were to the left of the carrots, and we’re going to put some popcorn over there today or tomorrow. The weather looks to be getting pretty hot this week (highs in the low 90s), and no rain chance in sight, so we’ll get them planted and I’ll need to water them in the coming days.

Watermelons and pumpkins!
Watermelons and pumpkins!

We’ve been gone for the past few weekends, and any available time during the week has been taken up by Brooke traveling, or by rain, so we hadn’t planted the rest of the garden yet.  Finally, yesterday, Brooke made some mounds next to the tomatoes where the pumpkins are going to go.  This is a section of the garden that flooded last year, so we’re hoping the mounds keep the pumpkins out of the water better than the corn seeds were last year.

We’re also trying watermelons for the first time, but considering they were planted in early June, we probably won’t actually get any until September.  Not exactly “prime watermelon season,” but hey…we’ll see what happens…

The beans survived!
The beans survived!

Thankfully, the beans survived the hail and flooding from last week! Since then, the green beans and soup beans all popped up and are looking great.  The soybeans are moving a bit more slowly, but I think nearly all of those seeds popped out of the ground, too.  We’re adding fewer green bean and soup bean plants than previous years because we’ve still got green beans canned from two summers ago.  If the soybeans take off, we’ll probably keep using those in the coming years for edamame.  Soybeans are good nitrogen-fixing plants, so we’ll rotate them around the gardens to maintain good soil health.

The herbs I planted in the plot in the background are kinda growing, but not all that well.  Many of them got hit hard by the hail and a few of them weren’t looking great when we put them in the ground.  We’ll just have to see how they turn out.  In the extra patch to the right, Brooke planted some sunflowers yesterday.  The bees will like them, too!

Hops!
Hops!

Lastly, I wanted to mention the hops we’re growing in Hannibal.  Clearly they’re doing as well as they usually do!  Mark and Diana got us a nice new vacuum sealer for Christmas this past year, so we’re looking forward to harvesting and saving some of these hops once they’re ready, hopefully earlier than we tend to harvest them.

...something's eating my hops...grrrrrr....
…something’s eating my hops…grrrrrr….

Unlike previous years, though, it looks like somethings chewing on the leaves.  I didn’t see anything obvious on them, but the evidence is pretty clear.  I’m sure Mark will keep an eye on them, as he planted some new fruit trees near the hops, so he’ll be out there checking on everything frequently.

I think that’s about it for now!  Lengthy post, lots of pictures…you know how it goes…

Garden Update: Early-May

Finally got the tomatoes in the ground...
Finally got the tomatoes in the ground…

First of all, let me say that it’s been a long time since I got anything posted up here, but now that school’s out for the summer, I should be able to post stuff more regularly.

Otherwise, it’s that time of year again when I start posting garden-related stuff.  We’ve expanded into another section of the yard, but mostly I wanted to focus on what’s growing and what isn’t.  Up top, we’ve moved the tomatoes to the larger plot this year.  Last year, we went with a similar configuration, but had the two trellises really close to one another, not knowing how well the plants would do.  Well, they did really well.  Almost too well.  To the point where light couldn’t get between the trellises.  Thus, we’ve put them as far apart as possible and will likely not put anything between them.  19 different plants are in there right now, ranging from “slicer” tomatoes to “cherry” tomatoes to “heirloom” tomatoes.

Some carrots, peas...and weeds...
Some carrots, peas…and weeds…

The other plot we planted in turned out pretty good.  The carrots are over-run with weeds and Brooke made a valiant effort (in the right foreground) to de-weed them.  The peas are moving very slowly, but there are some buds on there, so perhaps we’ll get something.  We dug up all the radishes on Tuesday night…

Radishes!
Radishes!

…and ended up with a solid haul.  There are quite a few “heirloom”-type radishes in that mix that I haven’t tried yet, as they sure look awful “root-y” to me, but we’ll see.  It was a mixed back of radish seeds, so we knew we’d end up with some different varieties.  Still, we’ve got a few gallon-sized bags in the crispers to munch on for a bit.

Blackberries and raspberries.
Blackberries and raspberries.

The berry bushes have been doing remarkably well.  We’ve seen some flowers on the blackberries for a few weeks now, while the raspberries are taking it a bit slower.  There are some starts popping up, but compared to their nearby brethren, it may end up later in the season before we get anything from them.

Trees!
Trees!

All of our trees are doing well, too!  We had to water them quite a bit early on, but it’s been rainy these last few weeks, so it hasn’t been quite as essential.  All of the tree varieties have leaves on them, though the pear trees are moving slower than the others.  The almond tree is probably doing “the best,” but the apple trees are close behind.

Back of the house
Back of the house

Lastly, I wanted to mention the back of the house, which is a bit more manicured than it was at this time last year.  I’ve been using some herbicides on the left-hand mulch to prevent stuff from popping up, so that’s making it stay pretty clean.  We were initially going to try and remove all those hostas, but we changed our minds and we’ll just have to remove the weeds from around them by hand.  We’ve also got some concrete bricks lining that bed now, so it looks just a little bit nicer.

I don’t have much going on this summer, so I’m hoping to get a lot more gardening in.  More posts to come!

Knocking on wood…

It's February. Seriously.
It’s February. Seriously.

I know it’s been awhile since I posted anything, but this particular post has been bouncing around for a bit and I didn’t want to jinx anything.

So far this season, “sickness” has passed us by.  This isn’t to say we haven’t felt ill or anything, but the week-long, knock-out D.B.D. that we tend to experience each Winter has, thus far, eluded us.  Meg had a bout of strep throat two weeks ago that kept her out of school for 3 days, but the antibiotics took care of it, and really, by the third day, she was back to normal and just couldn’t go to school.

Calvin, somehow, hasn’t really come down with anything.  He’s had a lot of gunk in his eyes the last few days, but that’s begun to subside.  It was probably connected with the runny nose he’s had, but again, nothing to keep him from school.  Thus far, he hasn’t missed any days because he’s been sick, which is craziness compared to the last few Winters.

I can only assume that he’s been infected by literally all childhood diseases at this point and he’s now built up an immunity.

Regardless, we’ve been pretty good on the illness front.  Even Brooke and I have resisted sickness pretty well, with the exception of the odd runny nose and headache.

The weather is the other story of the season, where we had a high of 72 F yesterday.  On February 20th.  In Missouri.  It was nice enough late this week that I pulled out the bike trailer and hooked it up to take the kids to the park on Thursday and Friday (pictured above).  Yesterday, since the sun was out and the temperature broached the 70 F mark, we went out to the garden and started working the soil a bit.

There's Calvin..."helping"...
There’s Calvin…”helping”…

Brooke went ahead and started on the new garden plot, a third one to complement the other two we made last year.  She nearly completed it too, as the ground was soft enough to work efficiently and turn it over in a few hours that morning.  I turned over about half the old, large plot to prepare the way for some carrots, radishes and peas Brooke wants to get started with.  The weather should be in the 50 F range this week, so while it’s going to get colder again, I’m hopeful I’ll have at least one warmer day over Spring Break in a few weeks so I can get out there and turn over more of the garden.

It's mostly herbs. I promise.
It’s mostly herbs. I promise.

For now, Brooke started up her seed warmer and a lamp down in the cellar.  So far, she’s got mostly herbs planted, as well as peppers, tomatoes and some flowers.  This is a bit sooner than she started them last year, and we had them on the back porch last year, where the temperatures got a bit hotter earlier than we expected.  Hopefully, the cellar will maintain it’s temperature better and the seeds will be a bit happier.

Feels like Spring is just around the corner!

Garden Update: Early-November

Them's some sweet potatoes...
Them’s some sweet potatoes…

I’ve got a few posts rolling around in my head but, frankly, I just haven’t had much time recently.  Midterms were a few weeks ago and I gave 3 exams last Friday, so now that I have a window of downtime, here’s the last bit of updating for the garden.

Brooke gave up on the tomatoes weeks ago, after she crossed the at least 40 pint line for tomato sauce.  Seriously, that last batch of tomato sauce she made was a slog – I could tell she was totally done with tomatoes for the year.

But at the time, we still wanted to wait for the sweet potatoes.  Finally, just after Halloween, Brooke pulled out the potato crop to see what we ended up with.  Not too bad, but I don’t think we got as much as we did in Iowa.  Still, for our purposes, it was still a pretty good haul.

...the potatoes in our garden basket...
…the potatoes in our garden basket…

We haven’t tried eating any yet, but have no reason to think they won’t be solid.  Brooke’s busy processing pears from my aunt and uncle’s house, so these things aren’t exactly a priority.

Still, just wanted to post this for posterity’s sake.  We’ll probably plant some again next year, so we want to remember  how many we got this year!

Garden Update: Early October

Aftermath
Aftermath

This will be relatively short, but as I’ve been posting about this all summer (and now Fall), I figured I should present the aftermath of a relatively successful first year with the garden.

Clearly, the main garden is mostly dead.  There’s some broccoli struggling to survive, but that’s about it.  As you can see, though, the corn stalks have been pulled down (and re-ordered into decorations for our upcoming Oktoberfest party), and the pumpkins have all died off.  We ended up with something around 12 pumpkins, but only 4 of them survived to be useful.  The rest were chewed on by beetles, so we may need to do a bit more proactive spraying next year.

Slowly dying...still...
Slowly dying…still…

The tomatoes and peppers, on the other hand, are shockingly still producing!  They’re looking a bit saggy, but that’s more because they’re still growing and I’m not trimming them or tying them up.  There are absolutely some areas of death and destruction, however, as leaves continue to die off due to a lack of water.

 

Behold the death of the tomatoes.
Behold the death of the tomatoes.

The picture just above this one shows a little bit of the dying leaves in the middle of that dense forest, but still, there’s plenty of green still in there.  As of today, we haven’t had a frost yet, so the tomatoes are still coming on and there are still flowers on some of the plants.  Even some of the peppers we planted, that hadn’t made anything yet, have finally put on some full-size veggies for us to pluck.

Still harvesting!
Still harvesting!

I think Brooke’s generally tired of canning tomatoes already, so I haven’t bothered to pick the really tiny ones anymore.  I’m still grabbing the larger ones as they slowly develop, and as you can see above, there are some pretty big ones in there that are finally turning red.  I pick them when they’re starting to turn so we can keep them protected inside.

As of right now, Brooke’s canned about 24 pints of tomatoes, and there’s still quite a few bags left in the freezer to be canned (she thinks another 15 pints or so) after we’ve got more batches like these accumulated.

So ultimately, not too bad for our first year’s harvest!  We still haven’t dug up the sweet potatoes, so I’ll likely do a post on that yet.  Surely they’re done, but with the party coming up, we didn’t want to disturb that area of the yard with a ton of digging.  Soon, though!

Garden Update: Late-August

Slowly dying...
Slowly dying…

Yeah, I know, it’s technically September now. Whatever.

The main garden has looked like this for a few weeks now.  Brooke pulled out the green beans a few weeks ago and the corn has been done for awhile (we ended up with 24 pint jars, a few quart-size bags we gave to others, and a decent amount we could eat on at dinner – not bad for a first year).  We didn’t end up with much corn, sadly.  Some of the ears were actually pretty good, while others were under-developed or pre-chewed by insects.

Corn!
Corn!

In total, I’d say we had less than 15 ears out of our 3 rows of corn.  Some of the plants never quite finished up.  The ears we did get tasted sweet, yet the overall texture of the corn was a bit tougher than we’d prefer.  Still, Brooke turned it into a corn casserole and it was absolutely edible.  Not the greatest, but functional.

The pumpkins also finally did something.  Brooke planted pie pumpkins, so they’re smaller than regular, Halloween-style carving pumpkins.  So far, we’ve got 3, with at least a few more still green on the vine that we’re nursing along.

Pumpkins!
Pumpkins!

No word on how they taste, but we wanted to pick them because a). they looked done, and b). beetles have started showing up, so we were afraid they’d chew into the stem and ruin the pumpkins.  We’re thinking pumpkins are a safe bet for future planting, and had we planted them sooner (and watered, like, at all), perhaps we’d have even more.

The tomatoes kinda took over...
The tomatoes kinda took over…

We’ve had to keep trimming the tomatoes to limit their growth. I think our trellis system has worked pretty well, but putting the trellises close together has meant that it is kept pretty shady in between them. I’ve trimmed them since this picture was taken, so more tomatoes have started finally turning red.  Not a ton yet, sadly.

That's about it, so far...
That’s about it, so far…

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got a decent number, and we’ve had more than a few good slicing tomatoes.  We just haven’t had a huge number of them develop all at once to make it worth Brooke fire up the oven to process and can them.  We’ve got lots of little tiny ones still, too, which are great in salads and eating individually, but again, you don’t get much sauce from them.  We’ve been trying to water them a bit more judiciously in hopes of keeping them alive long enough to keep developing.

One thing worth mentioning, for posterity, is that we were able to turn our A/C off for the last two weeks.  You know, prime tomato-ripening weather?  In August?  Yeah, didn’t have much of it.  Lots of green tomatoes and no hot weather to turn ’em red.  Thankfully, it’s 90 F outside again, and it should remain that way at least through this week.  I was just out there watering and saw quite a few more red tomatoes, so perhaps we’re finally getting to the point where we’ll get something out of it.

Lastly, the sweet potatoes are still truckin’ along.  No actual sweet potatoes to show, but the plants have certainly gotten larger!

Vines that are hopefully attached to sweet potatoes...somewhere...
Vines that are hopefully attached to sweet potatoes…somewhere…

Hopefully the next post on this subject will be the last one until next year!  Still some work to do…

Garden Update: Mid-July

IMG_20150716_105553011We came back from our vacation and the garden was, shockingly, not destroyed.  Definitely quite a few weeds in there that we need to take care of, but I bet it’d be worse if I hadn’t been putting grass clippings in open areas.

As you can see above (shaded, so perhaps not that easy to see…), the corn is tasseling and we’ve got a few other small rows of corn popping up.  The stalks aren’t all that all, but we’ve got some ears showing up.  Also, the green beans have some pickable veggies ready to go.  We’ll probably pick those and eat some in the coming nights, though Brooke wants to wait on some until they get bigger before she cans some.

IMG_20150716_105605644We picked some of the broccoli before we left and had some.  Not bad!  Kinda “gamey,” perhaps?  Difficult to describe, but not quite what I would expect if I were picking up a head from the store.  You can see another head in the picture above, but it’s flowering, so probably won’t taste all that good.

Also, you’ll notice the pumpkins proliferating and vining.  We don’t see any buds on them yet, but they’re looking pretty good!

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Mom was wondering about the soup beans, so here’s a picture…  I don’t see many buds yet, but like the pumpkins, the vines are really taking off, so it shouldn’t be much longer!

IMG_20150716_105625192Now that the sun has finally returned to Missouri and the rain clouds have slowed down a bit, the tomatoes are starting to take off.  There are three plants in the foreground (that we thought were peppers…), and all the plants on the trellises.  The three remaining pepper plants are still pretty tiny, so I’m not getting my hopes up for them, unfortunately.

The tomatoes, however, have quite a few flowers on them…

IMG_20150716_105646811and we even have some actual, legit, tomatoes on there!  Totally green still, but they’re getting to a good size.  Not very many yet, but we’re hopeful that the July heat (that, literally, started last weekend…as in, we hadn’t seen 90+ F temps until last week…which is crazy for July…) will start to move the tomatoes further.

More later!