Garden

Outdoor kitchen

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I saw an idea in a magazine, not sure which one but probably Urban Farmer.
We made it a reality.

The idea was having an outdoor sink near the garden and compost. Normally I would bring in vegetables to the kitchen, clean and cut them for preparation. This results in the compost bin filling up often the same night and dirt on the counter (especially root vegetables!)

Having the sink outside allows me to prep the food there. I toss the cuttings into the compost bin behind me and use the water to rinse and scrub the veggies right there. I was going to just use a hose to run over to the sink but Paul ran me a new irrigation line so I have running cold water from the sink itself. The sink I found for $10 at a thrift store.

Heaven for a gardener!

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Garden in August

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The first picture shows a care package I gave to a neighboor who gave me honey from his bees when we first moved in. I gave him food as a thank you for having these great bees who help pollinate my food.

I am drying tomatillos and tomatoes. The tomatoes are mostly San Marzano which are meant for sauce so they have low water content and dry quickly yet provide concentrated tomato flavor. They also make delicious sauce which I have in the freezer. The tomatillos when dried and sprinkled with a bit of salt take on a tasty mild apple flavor. Yum!

I bought a lot of seeds for next years garden. I am a bit over zealous I think but super excited to see what I can grow and how it might taste. I bought a four small metal cases with small circular containers that are intended to hold beads. I find it a delightful seed sorter so I can store them in my fridge without having to pull them out all the time to look at what I have or their package for info.

We have eating tomatoes frequently available. I love walking out to the garden and letting what is ripe dictate my dinner that night. Some interesting shapes arise too.

The pond has what I thought was duck weed on it then later learned it is a certain kind of water fern. I like it better now knowing that for some reason. Like a soft carpet floating over the water providing a cozy blanket for all.

I try to eat zucchini flowers but with travel I had one that got away from me. I cam beach to one that is bigger than my forearm.

Peppers are very happy with all this heat. Habanero peppers which I made into a ground powder to use like seasoning. Fresno which are delicious stuffed with goat chase and roasted.

The garden is in full swing, producing food and still some flowers are around. The wisteria has dropped it’s flowers but the full foliage remains above the deck area providing shade.

Jasmine that I put in pots is now in full growth, creating a green wall that I had hoped for.

We are sleeping outside in a screened in room that we call the zen room. Beautiful space to sleep in and the summer nights are cool and quiet to drift off to sleep.

I love our life here.

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Garden in July

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My first tomatoes, beautifully misshapen as garden varieties go yet superb flavor. Next year we will have better irrigation to run them a bit drier, my goal is dry farming, to create more intense flavor. A few hots days and direct sun caused some flower bud drop. Maybe I need to offer shade cloth on those days?

My surprise tomato patch is growing and filling the whole space behind the white trellis. I am so surprised that they grew here at all. These were all planting from seed.

Warmer weather bring loads of sunbathing for the dogs

More raspberries ripening!

Fresno and jalapeno peppers are steady along with squash blossoms

Baby lizards hatching all over garden and milling about

Paul put in new irrigation near my prep table. This will have its own blog all together, just know that having an outdoor sink near your compost is devine

Oak leaves continue to fall all year round. The leaves are lined with sharp spines, unlike any oak tree in the Midwest. This is a strange and mysterious place sometimes.

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Garden in May

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Birds of Paradise, raspberries in full growth, tomatoes starting to form the tiniest of fruit, eating squash flowers every 2-3 days (this actually continues all year well into Oct), and baby carrots ready to eat.

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Garden in April

Asparagus, seeds to plants to outdoors, new garden getting started, new garden fence up. I have a garden!

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Privacy side fence

New neighbors moved June and our quiet neighborhood has been overtaken by barking dogs and  a boy’s temper tantrums. I am not sure to be happy they are renters and not owners (and hopefully won’t stay long) or sad they are not home owners and might care more about their impact. It is out of my control I guess and I am glad that we put up this privacy fence.  The lower dark part of the fence was there when we bought the house and we just added the lighter top bamboo to make it a 6 foot fence.  In May we bought the humming-bird plants and honeysuckle and put them in the ground here.  The plan is for this to become a living wall to help buffer the visual aspect but maybe some of the sound too. I’ll post follow-up pictures below over time to show the growth. I am thinking it will take a year to fill out.  Hopefully it will be lush with yellow and red alternating flowers if we did it right!

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Artichoke

There was a sole artichoke strongly sprouting from the soil when we moved into the house in Dec. I love the flavor of them but don’t like all the work required to get to the goodness in the middle. Besides it is really just an excuse to eat butter.

I wanted to pull it. Paul wanted to grow it. So we let it grow very tall and it took up the whole raised bed. It went to seed and I hope the birds and bees enjoyed it. It was very pretty and dramatic. I think I sprouted love (and not for the plant)

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Lavender

Who knew there were so many kinds of Lavender? I now have at least 5 different kinds, including the culinary kinds. Simple yet complex.

They take little water, smells divine, and feeds all three pollinators in my yard: butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. A flower that is all of these things plus has a critical element for me- that I can use it too!

Perfection.

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Revealing the May Garden

So I’m sitting here in bed, in the dark… trying to not wake Paul while searching for something intriguing, empowering, or witty to say about the garden with only 18% battery left. Ah, I will just let it be what it is. I will just post the pictures so I can keep track of what is growing in each month.

All I know is that it taps something deep and lost inside of me, maybe lost inside of most of us. The sun on my skin, the warm soil between my toes, the green stained hand that smells of tomatoes. This is what really keep the world moving around and what keep me rooted.

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.” -Mary Sarton

Some of the carrots are big enough to eat. Some, not all.  That is a story for another day.

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I found a volunteer potato growing in the compost. Also the first pepper from the garden was picked the end of May ( one great for mole).

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Strawberries (and raspberries) started popping up all over the property towards the end of May and are small delicious bursts of tangy sugar.

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A husband is sprouting up next to the artichokes too!

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Harvested the first beet the last week of May. The asparagus is dwindling down to a few sticks every few days.

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Fuji tree with many baby fruits!

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Squash blossoms with a baby zucchini attached. Such a delicate flavor with just a bit of goat cheese slipped inside the petals and baked.

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My first pickle that looks like it can be used as a weapon.

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The first tomato appeared early May. By end of May all have flowers, and about half the plants have some fruits, even the many I grew from seeds.

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Baby pomegranate tree is fruiting!

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Tomatilloes exploded with the heat and flowers early May and husks that are filling by end of May

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The tomatillos are in pots and doing well here in full sun.

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Peach tree with only a few fruits.

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Hatching locusts leaving their creepy body shells all around.

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Too hot for kale- everything bolted. I was gong to let the kale go to see but the aphids took over. There were the only plants in my whole garden so far that became infected with any kind of insects so far.

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We discovered an apple tree along the side of the house. Turns out the squirrels already knew.

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Blueberries continue to slowly, ever so slowly, ripen.  I can eat one or two every now and then.

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Birds of Paradise were in full bloom all month. The one on the corner started a week or two in advance. By end of May they are shriveled up.

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What broccoli looks like in the heat…meaning over 80 degrees.  Bolted and flowered. I am going to see if I can snag some seeds and plant again in fall when cooler weather is here.

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Plantlets from seeds

I went a bit overboard this year on gardening.  I decided to save planning for next year and just grow stuff and see what happens.  I am prepared for a learning curve. I will just take whatever happens as information.

I planted seeds….lots of them. I figured maybe 50-70% would grow.

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A couple of weeks later things are looking really good.

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Another week later, I realize every seed is a very happy plant.

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I didn’t expect so many to grow.

To make matters worse I bought some little plantlets  from the local nursery.  Two boxes worth to be exact to make up for what I though what wouldn’t grow, but did. About 25-30 plants actually. I am in much deeper than I intended.

So I gave some plants to friends.

Still, I have too many.  I planted them all anyway. I had flowers developing in plants that are still in their little 6 packs!

So as of last weekend (April 21), all plants are either in the ground or in the pot they will stay in all summer.

On Sunday night, it was getting dark and I was running around plopping tomato plants and peppers in every remaining garden spot I could find. With only 20 minutes of light left and no more garden space, I still had 12 tomato plants in their starter packs to be planted. I found a spot that we use for a work area and the ground is probably too rich with old horse manure and they are planted too dense to grow well.  In the ground they went anyway. I can pull the ones that seem like they will fall behind.

This is my surprise garden area….mostly because it was “Surprise, there was not a garden here 20 minutes ago and now  there it is” .  Also it will be both a surprise if any of them grow and since I mixed up the tags for these plants it will be a surprise to what kind of tomatoes they are ( I have 3 kinds from seeds).

Such rogue gardening.

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