Friday, July 25, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

I'm not a naturally patient person, so gardening is good for me. It's especially good for me to grow tomatoes, since it seems to take so long for them to ripen. But, I know it will be well worth the wait!

Cherokee Purples.

Giant Valentines.

And the Green Zebras. How are we supposed to know when they're ripe? :) They will be lightening in color and will get subtle yellow stripes.

The First Tomato!

Our little red Sweet Cluster tomato. This is from a plant that was started from seed for me by a friend (thanks, Dawne!). I think it's great that a little purple flower also decided to bloom by the tomato plant.

With Genovese Sweet Basil, Dark Purple Opal Basil, and Olive Oil.

Watching the Garden Grow

The squash and melon plants are just starting to creep across the patio.

Eggplant flower.

Golden beet.

The corn is reaching for the sky!

Kentucky wonder beans (pole beans).
Lemon cucumber.

Hanging mint to dry for tea.
Forest of tomatoes, basil and other herbs.
Dark purple opal basil.
Center broccoli crown is gone, but lots of babies along the side.
Cooking dinner (onions and eggplant aren't from the garden, but hopefully we'll have some ready soon!)
Cooking's always more fun when there's a live band.

Squash Show and Tell

Remember those three female squash flowers lined up in a row?
Squash are fun because the female flowers hide the identity of the plant at their base. This one will be a white scallop squash....
This one will be spaghetti squash...
And yet more yellow crookneck squash!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Early July Abundance

We are still enjoying mostly spring produce --- kale, peas, broccoli, new potatoes. But, the summer food is starting to arrive!

Surprise green beans arriving early - volunteer seeds from last year.

One of our volunteers stretching her legs.

Corn is a-tasslin'.

Our prolific crookneck yellow squash is showing off 3 stages of development --- big squash, flower, and baby squash. Then, a couple days later, 3 girl-flowers line up in a row.

Broccoli's still growing - it will get bigger!

The green zebra tomato plant is still the star of the tomato patch. Reaching for the sky!

A little volunteer (maybe a cucumber?) showing some promise.

The beginning of zucchini. Here we go!!!

Busy Bees

A few days ago I was talking with my sister about the garden, expressing my happiness with the number of bees we have. My sister (a mother of 4 little ones) said "Why would you be happy to have bees??"

So we talked a little about how, without bees, there isn't any food. There are other things that help pollinate veggie flowers (other insects, wind) but as far as I know bees are still our main garden helpers.

Onion blossoms provide endless entertainment!

Dive-bombing. :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Rainy Day

Ah... the joy of a rare rainy day in the garden. We haven't had any rain for quite a while. Part of the research I'm doing now (the beginning of what will surely be a loooong learning process) has to do with water conservation and techniques that allow you to grow food with little to no added water. We're lucky to be able to add supplemental irrigation for now, but it's certainly not a sustainable model.

Happy new tomatoes on the GIANT green zebra plant. They're supposed to have green and yellow stripes when they're ripe. I can't wait!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Beginning of Broccoli

Broccoli is one of my favorite plants to watch, because it looks so much like a flower as it grows. It's hard to imagine the origins of broccoli when you see it in the grocery store...

Very beginning. This may actually be a califlower plant, but this is also how broccoli looks when it starts.

Baby broccoli

I had always heard that broccoli was part of the cabbage family, but it never really made sense to me until I started growing it!

Boys and Girls

I love learning new things about my garden plants.... A few days ago I read that there are boy and girl squash plants. Bees spread the pollen from the boys to the girls, and - ta da - we have vegetables!

So, how do we tell girls from boys? Well, it turns out that it's not as hard as you might think.

If you look to the center of the flower, boys kinda look like boys....

and girls kinda look like girls!

A few days later, we can see the results of all those boy
and girl squash flowers.