Friday, May 21, 2010

How Our Garden Grows

Lettuce rainforest

Radish flowers--this is what happens when you don't harvest radishes.

One of the green bean rows--this one is between potatoes.

The corn is coming up.

Winter squashes--I think this one is butternut.

Shallots in the strawberry bed.

Random indeterminite squash growing out of the compost bin. We're waiting to see what it is, so we haven't turned the compost in a while.

Ravenous, massive rabbits. Knock on wood, we haven't seen any signs of baby bunnies on the way yet. Maybe we lucked out with these two. We definitely have them to thank for our fertilized garden, as they have proven to be pro poopers.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

We've Been Busy

There are a LOT of peas out there to eat right now.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

I'd do anything for this kid.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pod People

Our first big harvest of snow peas. I've used a few in a stir fry and salad, but these were blanched and frozen for stir-frys of the future!

We're also starting to get a few shelling peas.

So far these pods are nice and long with lots of peas in each.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Quads are Burning

Yes, that is a play on words which include both my aching legs and the re-energized garden quads. So, it should be no big surprise that I didn't accomplish everything on my list from last week, though I did get some of it done. It turns out that last week was even busier than I thought it would be, because of extra work and no babysitter.

However, we did make progress. First of all, Quad 2 is finally planted out. This what it looks like on paper:

I updated the spreadsheet with the fact that there is a potato wasteland at the end of one of the rows because the trench got flooded out and the taters died. We have since filled it in and I'm debating what will fill the space. This is what the quad actually looks like now:

Right to Left: Row 1: Broccoli/Onions/Radish/Swiss Chard. Row 2: Cauliflower/Radish/Potatoes/Beans. Row 3: Potatoes/Beans. Row 4: Corn.

I'll have to replant cauliflower in the fall because several of my seedlings have been eaten. We planted corn this weekend, and I'm not getting my hopes up because Oklahoma is tough on corn. If we harvest enough for 1 late summer meal, I'll be happy, even though I planted 16 rows of 5-6 seeds each.

Bill did the hard work of filling dirt in the potato trenches, and I planted green beans in a single row down the middle:

I actually found one sprouting just 24 hours after planting. I take that as a positive omen. I'm also please that some of the taters are blooming, which means we're getting ever closer to eating potatoes:

We're already enjoying the Swiss Chard, which was an experiment this year as I'd never cooked with it before. So far we've eaten it in salads, roasted with pork chops, and sauteed with spinach and garlic.

Quad 3 is a little over halfway planted, but it needs some work.

As you can see, there are a few rows in the middle that need to be planted. From left to right are 2 rows of peppers, nothing, a row of garlic, and 2 rows of tomatoes. There are herbs growing throughout and 4 eggplants in with the peppers.

The peppers seem to be doing well, but I can't say the same for the tomatoes. I did a poor job of hardening off the seedlings, and some of them succumbed to weather/pests. I'm going to pick up some replacement plants this week to fill empty spots. In the middle of Quad 3 will go okra, zucchini, yellow squash, and if there is room, purple hull peas. All of these things are normally planted later, which is why I've been lazy about getting them in.

Quad 4 presented a design challenge that I have finally worked out. This is where my winter squashes and remaining legumes are supposed to go, but I wasn't sure how I could lay out the space with enough room for the vining squashes to spread out while keeping them somewhat separated from each other in case we have another squash bug attack this year. What I came up with was alternating squash hills with bean sections.

It's kind of hard to see the mounds in this picture, but the beans are in the darker blocks and the squash mounds are in between. Each row will alternate so that the mounds will be little islands in the beans, and hopefully the beans will act as a barrier for squashbugs. Time will tell. I haven't finished prepping this quad because I ran out of bagged compost, but the blocks above are planted with beans.

Quad 1 is doing really well, and its success is keeping me sustained as I work through the other quads. Look how lush:

Okay, admittedly this picture is a little misleading because a lot of the green is weeds and grass. But the lettuces and spinach are doing very well, and I may be able to start freezing some spinach for later in the summer soon.

Carrots are coming up all over the place, and we probably could start digging up some to see if they are ready. The peas and snow peas blossomed late last week, so there are pods shooting out here and there. Tomorrow we will eat our first harvest of snow peas for dinner.

So there you have it. There is still a lot of work and planting left to be done, and I hope that I'm not too late.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mutt Monday: Guest Species

We had quite an unusual event here at the WatRanch. Joe and I have joined a playgroup (hence the drop-off in blogging time) and we hosted a play date here on Friday. As the kiddos ran around in the backyard, we noticed an usually high number of bees loitering over the garden, but didn't think too much of it. Until we saw this:

Yes, that is my beloved peach tree, but see the weird-shaped mass in the center? You got it; it's bees.

Is your skin crawling yet? No? How about now?

I have no idea where these buggers came from or why they decided to set up shop in my peach tree. There aren't any blooms left on the tree and no fruit to speak of. The strange thing is that they were not there in the morning, but literally buzzed in around midday and took residence both in the peach tree and a shrub in the front yard. Why the split group? Who knows, but they only stayed through Sunday morning and were gone. I hope they got in plenty of pollinating while they were here.

The dogs are pretty boring these days, so you can have a bunny update instead.

There's my lovely Raleigh. She and her partner, Durham, decided to make life interesting for themselves this past week by taking some adventures outside of their cage. I'm not sure it if was wind or bunny ingenuity, but somehow their cage door was open 2 days in a row and they made a break for it. The first day was so beastly windy that they only got as far as under the shed before I noticed they were out. Fortunately, my babysitter saw them by the shed before the dogs did, otherwise it would have been curtains.

The second day our neighbors sent us a message to check the drainage tunnel under our driveway because they saw a bunny-like shape dart under it. Sure enough, both bunnies were hopping happily around in the mud. There is a LOT to be said for socializing pet rabbits, because I managed to retrieve them on both occasions, and for the most part they came hopping up to me when I called them. But then again, I am recognized by all of the creatures at the WatRanch as The Source of Food, so that's not a huge surprise.